Wednesday, March 26, 2008

I Want to Hear from You

For the last several weeks I have been praying much about church planting.  I have attended Christ Baptist Church in Wilson which is a church plant.  I have talked with several church planters.  I have talked with several pastors and heard many different thoughts about church planting.  For the most part, almost everyone agrees that local churches are the primary way to plant churches.  In other words, being sent and supported by a local church is the way it appears God works to multiply churches.  I agree with this all.  I believe heavily in the local church.  I also believe in healthy churches.  It would be arrogant to assume that we do not have healthy churches, but I do fear that the majority of our churches are not healthy.  I fear that many have neglected the expositional teaching/preaching of Scripture and have strayed away from a commitment to Biblical truth and Biblical living.  You can go here to see what I think of when I say "healthy churches."
So here is/are my question(s).  Does the Rocky Mount area need more churches planted in order to have more healthy churches?  What are some things you would consider when thinking through church planting?
I recognize that some read this and never respond, but I would really like to hear from you all on this subject.

9 comments:

Les Puryear said...

Randy,

To answer your question about the need for more churches, the answer is "Yes." New churches reach more people for Christ than existing churches.

Also, consider planting a house church. It doesn't cost anything to plant a house church and that is the type of church that our missionaries planted more than 25,000 of last year.

Regards,

Les

Rae S. said...

Randy,

Lately I have been thinking about seminary, but I find nothing in the Bible about anyone attending a school (per say) to become a pastor, or church planter, etc.
In the Bible the disciples taugt others in the doctrine and ordained them and sent them out to continue growing others and ordaining others.

Why does society now rely on seminary schools to give a diploma to say someone qualifies to preach the gospel. Why don't churches and the pastors disciple others within the church and send them out to plant churches and preach the gospel like in the Bible?

Maybe I am way off base about this but I would like to know your comments about this.

Thanks.

Randy said...

Rae,

My initial response would be that you are correct that the church needs to equip the people within their church. However, seminaries are meant to train pastors with a higher education to be able to in turn train others as well. I am very careful not to say that you HAVE to go to seminary, but often times people are not disciplined enough to learn and grow without a former education.

With that being said, I want to say that I do believe we've lost something in our Western churches about the need of the local church. There is something to being involved in a local church (committing to it) and learning and preparing in that church. There is also a Biblical mandate that the church verifies the call of a pastor. In other words, in our culture today we seem to think that if someone believes they are called to pastor or be a deacon that we should just let them do it and even ordain them. However, the Bible indicates that some may aspire to the office, but not be qualified. Therefore, a church needs to be able to recognize that person's calling and send them out with their blessing upon them.

One more thought about the Seminaries (at least in SBC life). The Seminaries are supported by the local churches through the convention. Therefore, they are extensions of the local church ministries. So we shouldn't try to place churches against seminaries, but rather we should see them as beneficial places where those called by God to lead the churches can be better equipped to do that.

I am sure this doesn't cover everything, but it was my initial thoughts.

Rae S. said...

Randy,

I agree with you about the churches equiping the ones who are called for service. I also think that it should go further, that is, that all members of the church should be trained and equiped as if they were called for service.

Alot of the people that I know that had never thought they would be called into service, felt the call after they had been exposed to a deeper level of training and preparation. Some have told me that after discipleship programs and training, they never realized how much they craved even deeper training. They had only had the surface scratched for them beforehand.

Even young people of the congregation seem to get more involved and are called because of having a more intense discipleship training course. They talk about it among themselves and others and they show a genuine excitement about what they are learning.

Other laypersons in the congregation that are not qualified for deacon or pastor also are called to get more involved with such things as personal witnessing as a result of being excited from what they learn in a deeper, more intense discipleship class. Some have started ministries such as understanding the importance of reaching out to others, finding out what others have need of and helping to supply those needs to others. These types of ministries are vital because often at times, these laypersons can reach so many that the church itself, or even the pastor can't reach, due to a personal bond their ministry creates. That is why I think the deeper training of the scriptures is necessary for all members of the church. They have to be equiped because they are the ones who are "His hands reaching" to others.

I think it is imperative that all members of the church feel they are blessed by God for any gift God has given them to do His work. Not one member should feel as though whatever it is that God is calling them to do is too small, too insignifigant, or that they are un-educated enough to use that gift that they have been given by God.

God does not use only the ones that we as people look at as being the ones worthy to serve God. More often than not, God wants to and does use the members of the church that doesn't speak as eloquently as others or doesn't dress as great as others. I think God would want to use the ones that have a deeper knowlege of the scripture and a deeper understanding of it, that crave constantly that deeper understanding of God and His Word.

The church also needs a deeper understanding of the scripture so the members are ready and willing to provide each others needs as well as others.

When someone moves into an area or visits our area it would be so wonderful if they could hear, without asking, about the service the local church down the street is doing. But more importantly, that they hear that the church down the street really preaches the gospel correctly and that their members are all called into some type of service for God.

Randy said...

Rae,

Amen! My point is simply that those who are called to preach/teach for the church will be held accountable for that. Therefore, I think it's absolutely important that they are trained and educated on a higher lever (formally or informally). James talks about being involved in mercy ministry as evidence of your faith. I agree that the preaching/teaching ministries of the church need to challenge our people, equip our people, expose them to truth, and encourage them to tell others about Christ and God's Word. I love the idea of everyone serving and ministering (it's Biblical), so I don't disagree with that at all. The church often times needs to be formed back to the Scriptures. We are in great need of healthy (Biblical) churches.

Randy said...

Rae, I don't think I know who you are. Are you in the Rocky Mount area?

Randy said...

Les,

Thanks for the comment. Gives me things to ponder.

Rae S. said...

Randy,

My other question I had about former training in the form of seminary stems from this passage.

Amplified KJV - Acts 4:13

Now when they saw the boldness and unfettered eloquence of Peter and John and perceived that they were unlearned and untrained in the schools [commen men with no educational advantages], they marveled; and recognized that they had been with Jesus.

God is magnified when this type of understanding of the scripture is displayed from the high school graduate or from even less education, worldly or man made.

I have always understood the scripture to pertain EVERYTHING we need to know and that God will supply us with ALL the skills we need when He calls us into service. The problem is that most of us need this drilled into us over and over and over again, then we have to dedicate ourselves to constantly go to the scriptures and place all faith in God to supply all we need to do the service he calls us to.

Rae S. said...

Randy,

To answer your question, yes my family and I are in the Rocky Mount area.