Why Plant a Church?
As I walked down from the platform, I walked over to a corner in the front of Encounter Church and fell on my face. As I walked down those steps, I heard God say “this was your last message here.”
The question is why even plant a church? Why does God still call men and women to plant churches when there are so many already? Drive down any neighborhood and there will be multiple churches on one street? I drove out of that parking lot and rode by 5 Churches within a half mile of each other. The local church searches for relevance in a time when Mega Churches can throw almost limitless finances and people at any given area. Yet still our community suffers because to have a church in a community does not equal relevance. To throw around money and/or people does not equal relevance. Door hangers do not equal relevance. Amazing marketing strategies do not represent relevance.
What does this have to do with us starting a church? Well, I knew God was calling us out but I didn’t want to leave a place that I felt accepted. We had a position of influence, a platform and a ministry that was really taking off, so when God said leave I was shocked and resisted it. How could I leave? I had a paycheck, a ministry and didn’t have to worry about none of the finances or the other million things that Senior Pastors worry about. I was praying that it was in my head, that I would be happy where I was and God said you did a good work, now leave. Then the dreams started. I didn’t have peace but also could not bring myself to leave. So, God did it for me and as much as that hurt, it was necessary.
The Great Commission is one of the most significant passages in the Bible. First of all, it’s the last recorded instruction given by Jesus to His disciples. Second, it’s a special calling from Jesus Christ, to all of His followers, to take specific action while on this earth. The Great Commission is found in Matthew 28:18-20:
“Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age’” (Matthew 28:18-20).
So, what is the reason that God still calls us to plant churches? He doesn’t, He calls us to make disciples. It has to do with one word, “go”.
32% of U.S. adults under the age of 30 have no religious affiliation at all and that number is growing despite the number of churches present. We must go to the lost, not hope they come to us. Then we are to teach them to obey all that Jesus commanded. But it all starts when we go and make disciples. So many are lost to addictions, violence, false religion and church hurt. New churches have the best chance of reaching lost communities because of the evangelism that takes place.
We are beginning to see the fruits already. Over the last weekend 3 people at a treatment facility we held an outreach at accepted Christ and 3 more recommitments were made at our prelaunch service. In the community, we had the opportunity to pray with those that were recovering from addictions, from cancer as well as a young boy who had been given a death prognosis by his doctors. The church they were attending stopped calling years ago and one knock on a door opened them back up to the possibility that God cared about them.
When we got home I got the first call on the churches new phone line and it was one of the men that the team prayed for, His exact words to me were “We needed a church in this community, thank you for being obedient.” We found out that the area had multiple witches, gay and lesbian couples, sick and shut in, atheist, as well as those in recovery from addictions. He went on to say how thankful he was for the prayers and that he could not wait to attend church Sunday. These were people waiting for us. That would have never walked back into a church without being engaged by love.
This is what our Vision Statement is built on. (Healed by Love, Freed Through Grace, Equipped for the Kingdom). We will be a church that teaches the healing power of love, the freedom found through Grace while Equipping the community for generations to come. That is the mandate that we have. We thank God for His calling and the grace needed to do something that none of us has ever done before.
Pastor Robert Maxie
Liberty Church BR
Pastor Maxie is the former Director and founder of Crossroads Recovery Ministry and served on pastoral staff as a Christian Counselor at Heartsease Family Life Church, currently Encounter Church.
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