In the previous entry I talked about how our discipleship calls us to make disciples. And as daunting as this sounds, when we set out to make disciples we are partnering with God. So what does this have to do with church planting? Everything! We are planting a church not because there is something wrong with each of the hundreds of churches in Sioux Falls. We are planting a church because new churches have proven to be highly effective at reaching un-churched people for the sake of Christ. Sioux Falls doesn’t need one new church; it needs dozens of new churches. One local ministry estimated that there are at least 100,000 un-churched people in the city of Sioux Falls. These are our neighbors, our co-workers, our cashiers, our servers, our baristas, and our friends. And God is calling us to reach them with the good news of new life in Christ.
In my next post I will begin to talk about refining our process of reaching out to others with the gospel. While I think even the newest convert is capable (and called) to reach others with the gospel, I do think there are ways we can each grow as disciple-makers. But for today I want to focus more on the task of church planting. Not all pastors are called to church planting. It is a particular call, and churches examine potential planters closely because they want them to succeed. I don’t want to challenge you to go plant a church. What I do want to ask you today is whether you feel called to assist in the task of church planting. I’m not asking for the sake of the church I am planting but for the sake of church planting in general. As I said we need dozens of new churches in Sioux Falls and beyond, and just as much as these churches need good leadership, they need people like you to lend your assistance to them.
A while back I read the book Sticky Faith. Most Christian parents want their children to stick with the faith they are raised with. But how? How do we nurture a faith that sticks? One researcher estimated that something like 80 percent of Christians leave the faith in college. Whatever the number, the attrition rate is appalling. Two of the elements the authors of Sticky Faith pointed to (that led to children sticking with their faith) were 1) it is clear to the children that a parent’s faith matters to them in their day-to-day life and 2) children are given opportunities to play a role in church.
The reason I raise these two elements is that by joining a church plant, you are not only blessing a missionary endeavor that makes new disciples, you are actively showing your children how much your faith means to you. You are showing that your faith is so important you are leaving your comfort zone to help take the gospel to the least, the last, and the lost. And in church plants children have an opportunity to put their faith into action and participate in the work of the church.
For the sake of brevity I’ll sum up by saying this: the work of church planting is work, but it is important, impactful, and satisfying work. I pray that you will prayerfully consider how you are called to support the work of church planting in your life.