Thursday, November 19, 2009

In 2005 Bobby Welch called Southern Baptists to a renewed commitment to personal evangelism. This resulted in an increased passion within many to share their faith on a personal level. It is imperative that Southern Baptists and all Christians be involved in evangelism. However, for us to stop there would ignore the call of God to plant churches.

In Acts 13, we see that Paul and Barnabus were sent out by the church to take the gospel to the nations. The book of Acts documents their story of starting churches throughout the Roman Empire. Specifically in Acts 19:8-10 Luke notes that Paul’s preaching in Ephesus apparently resulted in the formation of churches throughout the area. The result, all the residents of Asia heard the gospel.

In order for the Northwest to be impacted with the gospel our convention must develop a renewed sense of commitment to church planting similar to our commitment 4 years ago to personal evangelism and like the one in the book of Acts. There are simply too many people in need of the gospel and too few churches to share it to adequately impact this culture for the glory of Jesus Christ. Furthermore, by committing to church planting we also solve the need for increased personal evangelism since newer churches tend to do better in the area of evangelism.[1]

Therefore, let us become passionate about church planting. This can take several forms. Some churches are large enough to directly sponsor and plant a church. Other churches may choose to partner with additional churches to support a new church plant. Every church can at least find an existing church plant and commit to pray and financially support that plant.

Southern Baptists have a rich history of planting churches and impacting the culture for the glory of Jesus Christ. I believe we can see a church planting movement take shape here in the Pacific Northwest. For example, one church develops a passion for church planting and seeks to plant 10 churches over the next 20 years. Each church planted by the original church possesses this same passion for church planting. As a result these new churches seek to plant multiple churches and the cycle continues. This results in dozens of new churches formed from the passion of one original church. Now imagine if every church in the Northwest Baptist Convention displayed this enthusiasm for reaching the culture through church planting.

Let us pray that God will begin a church planting movement here in the Pacific Northwest that will sweep across the nation and world. And then let us commit to action by starting new churches and partnering with church plants.

[1] Planting Missional Churches. Stetzer, Ed. pp.7-8.