Great Article On Planting

Do we not recognize a problem exists whenever we label a church planter as being innovative, creative, or unusual for following a Pauline model?
— J.D. Payne

I found myself saying "preach it" quite a few times in this article. With so many articles, books, sermons, etc. being written on "mission," I'm surprised that church planting so often excluded or, at best, pushed to periphery. Admittedly, it wasn't until I started really exploring Acts and the Pauline Epistles with a more heightened awareness of the calling to make disciples that I realized just how normative (prescriptive) the planting of new churches is. 

Simply put, we are to make disciples that make disciples and that in turn leads to new churches being planted. The author's point here, if I can summarize, is if that seem's weird or if we have a tendency to wrestle with that, our ecclesiology is skewed. I couldn't agree more, though I say this with the understanding that I did not come to this conviction overnight. We must seek more understanding together - with love, patience, and persistence. Perhaps the fruit of such pursuit will be revival!

The only thing I struggled with in this article was the author creating too great a contrast between Planter and Pastor. Biblically, it's easy to make the point they're the same thing. Paul, though an Apostle, absolutely served in a shepherding/elder/bishop role in the new churches that he helped establish/plant (Acts 14:21-23, 1 Thess. 3:1-13, etc.). Even at that, we can certainly make the case that his role was certainly special to this time period of the early church (i.e. we don't have any Apostles like Paul today that carry the weight, authority, healing ministry, etc.). I'd definitely agree that most Planter's certainly have a high apostolic gifting, but that doesn't exclude them from the call to shepherd the sheep. After all, they are called to plant a church! This is a brief article and I'd love to read more about what Payne has to say about this, but if it's more to the idea that Church Planters are missionaries, not pastors, then I simply can't support that biblically. 

The bottom line, church planting was a normative part of Acts and the Pauline Epistles. Meaning, it is wrong to merely point to their accounts of the kingdom growing to the ends of the earth (Great Commission) through the planting of new churches as merely descriptive. We ought to be talking about church planting in our current context as if it was as normative as it was in Paul's day, not some obscure, "only for the called" peripheral hobby of the church! I hope many will be able to find some time to read this article and wrestle through the implications with me!