Planting is not only key to fulfilling the Great Commission, but here are seven ways that planting also benefits the sending church.
I have become more convinced each year that the Great Commission is a call to plant churches. The origin of this conviction was observing firsthand the blessing it had on Clint Clifton, the man who taught me to see it this way.
What has perpetuated this conviction however, is observing firsthand the blessings it has had in the life of the church I planted five years ago.
Let me list seven ways church planting will bless your congregation:
1. You’ll actually see churches planted.
Five years into my church plant, I consider myself a pastor, not a church planter. One thing I have learned about pastors is that we typically have a lot of things that we could be doing every day. On our best days, we do those things that are good works that God has prepared for us to walk in (Eph. 2:10).
If we are not convinced that the time and effort required to plant churches is a command from our Lord Jesus, we simply will not do it. Everything else on our plate will consume it. If however, we are convinced that Jesus commands us to plant churches, we will work and strive to this end. And we will actually see churches planted.
2. You’ll constantly be looking for pastors / church planters.
This conviction really only requires one thing: a ready leader to send out. You will therefore look at every man in your church as a potential pastor / church planter. You will seek to maintain a very deep leadership bench.
3. You’ll constantly be equipping pastors / church planters.
If you look over your member list right now, you likely will believe there currently are no ready leaders to send out. That means you must get busy in the work of equipping future pastors and church planters for the work. Disciple men. Teach men to teach small groups. Teach men to preach. Teach men to shepherd their families well. This type of equipping the saints for the work of the ministry should occupy much of the pastor’s time.
4. You’ll see the beauty of “high-end discipleship.”
In God’s design, pastoring is like being a father to an entire church. In the biblical qualifications for eldership, the family is likened to a small household within the household of God. Men who can shepherd their families well are to be considered for shepherding the church.
We father our children to send them out as adults. Doesn’t it stand to reason that we should shepherd church members to a point of maturity where we send them out? Maybe even to start new families? And even produce grandkids? (Yes, I’m still talking about churches! My 5-year-old church is a grandmother church! Praise God!)
5. You’ll build a church that can weather storms.
All this training people up and sending them out creates more churn in a church than is typical. This churn is healthy. It creates an atmosphere of figuring things out on the fly and adopting the “next man up” mentality of the military and successful sports teams. It also forces us to reject the lie that we’ll get church life perfect this side of eternity.
So when a member of the church leaves for any other reason (not to plant a church) or you don’t quite make budget for a quarter or two, it’s not quite as shocking to the system. We’re accustomed to people coming and going for seasons of life. Some people leave for good reasons. Some bad. Some we’re not sure. It’s all good, as long as God is on his throne.
6. You’ll build a church that will outlast itself.
One of my sister churches closed its doors and folded into another church a few weeks ago. The church was alive for approximately six years. But in those six years, they mothered two churches as a sending church and supported several others as a supporting church. That church lives on in the churches she planted and helped to plant. Sadly, there are 200-year-old churches that leave a far less lasting legacy.
7. You’ll actually see the Great Commission being fulfilled.
Make disciples, baptize and teach. This is the work of local churches. What are we to teach? We teach people to make disciples, baptize and teach. The sense of the Great Commission is that this is a perpetuating cycle that is always moving forward, pushing out to the nations.
If you become convinced that the Great Commission is a call to plant churches, you will actually get to see it happening before your eyes! Churches making disciples, baptizing, and teaching people to go and make disciples, baptize and teach.
Brian O’Day is a former marine who served for nearly 10 years as an active duty Marine and deployed to 15 countries, including Iraq and Afghanistan. He planted Pillar Church Jacksonville in Jacksonville, North Carolina, with his wife Kelli in 2013. This article originally appeared on NAMB.net.