international-church-planting-1Why should your church be involved in church planting and especially internationally?

The Resurgence says:

Planting Churches Fulfills the Great Commission

In Acts, God’s means of changing the world is through the planting of churches. It is no coincidence that right after God gave his apostles the Great Commission in Acts 1:8, the first thing he did was to plant a church (Acts 2:42-47). The church was to be the operational means of fulfilling the Great Commission.

When a local church was placed in a community, the gospel would be preached from house to house and in the streets, and the generosity, joy, and worship of a local body of believers caused “great fear and awe” to be on everyone, favor to be had with the community, and God to “add to the number daily those that were being saved.” Thus, everywhere the apostles went, they planted churches. They didn’t simply do preaching, miracle crusades, or community ministry. They planted churches that would do preaching, perform miracles, and serve the community. As Tim Keller said, the apostles’ strategy was very simple: go to the most strategic cities in the world and plant churches. The church is the one institution of the New Testament.

To the Ends of the Earth

What we sometimes overlook is that the scope of God’s commission, from the beginning, was to “the ends of the earth.” When God sent the Holy Spirit in Acts 2, the apostles spoke in tongues of every language, a clear sign that the gospel should go to every people of every nation on earth. This gospel was not to be centralized in one city or one culture. God would be glorified by his gospel taking root in every culture.

However in Acts 2-7, despite God’s clear command and signs to go to all the nations, the apostles do not budge from Jerusalem. So in Acts 8:1, God sent persecution on the church, and believers scattered throughout the region. The parallel language of Acts 1:8 and 8:1 is not coincidental. If the apostles weren’t going to obey God’s commission to go to the world, God would make them. In a truly bizarre move, God even beams one of the apostles, Star Trek style, into a place where he can engage a foreigner with the gospel.

On one hand it is refreshing to me that the apostles were not too dissimilar to us, preferring to stay in their own city and culture, and to build a megachurch there. On the other hand, it is a little alarming that God is so determined for his people to plant churches internationally that he will bust them up if he has to and beam a few of them overseas if they won’t obey. While the beaming sounds kind of cool, the busting up does not. So we have decided, from the beginning, to plant churches internationally.

(HT: TR)