By Garry Knighton
Church of Christ/North  - Shreveport, La.

THE PAIN OF CHURCH PLANTING

 
   INTRODUCTION:

       A.  The mission of the church is to reproduce itself.  This demands that we
             plant new churches.

       B.  When there is growth, there is often growing pains.

            1.  When the church grows, even outside the walls of its present building,
                 there are often pains.

       C.  We often seem to have an over-simplified view of what church planting is
             all about, thus creating some very basic problems for ourselves.

       D.  During this time period we will seek to discuss some of the problems
             involved in church planting that will perhaps help us determine the basis
             on which to establish this profound work and aid us in the planting of more
             churches.

   I.  SOME BASIC MISCONCEPTIONS.

       A.  If we could just start from, "scratch" we could have a congregation of the
             "real New Testament Church."

            1.  How do you define "The real N.T. church" anyway?

       B.  Bypassing all of the "tradition" and the "traditional" ways of doing things
             would insure the proper growth environment.

            1.  Traditions are only "Bad" when we allow them to become "Law."

       C.  If I could just get the "working" brethren out of this "old line of thinking" and
             into a new environment, they would soar to new and greater heights.

            1.  When you change environments you change everything, or at least
                 everything is affected.

                 a.  EXAMPLE:  When a crew of astronauts get into space, a new
                      environment, things change for them.  Zero gravity, zero oxygen, etc.
                      They have to take their environment with them to some extent.

       D.  If we could just begin a new, working, growing and healthy congregation,
             all of the brethren around us would really get behind us and help.

       E.  If we could just get a group together with "Brother X" as our preacher, the
            church would really grow and develop.

  II.  PAIN IS CAUSED IN CHURCH PLANTING BECAUSE OF SEVERAL
       REASONS.


       A.  Because of jealousy.

            1.  Jealousy is wrong --- it is sin.  But, it is also a reality.

            2.  Some brethren around you are jealous because:

                 a.  They didn't think of it.

                 b.  If you develop into a growing church and they don't, you will make
                      them look bad.

                 c.  They are not in control.

                 d.  You are accomplishing something in their territory.

                       1)  Illustration:  A child will often fight another child over a toy that he
                            or she owns when the other child tries to play with it.  It doesn't
                            matter whether the child owning it was playing with it or not.  If it
                            belongs to them, they try to possess it in every degree.

                           So it is with some church localities.

       B.  Because of suspicion.

            1.  Some brethren are suspicious of everything.

                 a.  They are afraid that you are perverting the truth.

            2.  There is a "Paranoia" among many brethren.

                 a.  They see a ghost behind every action.

            3.  Many brethren are so protective of the truth that they violate its very
                 principles to "protect" it.

            4.  Some brethren have developed a "policing" mentality.

                 a.  They feel personally responsible for keeping every "jot and tittle" in
                      its proper place.

       C.  Because of a lack of faith.

            1.  The person or persons planting the church must have a strong faith.

                 a.  Not in their ability, but in God's ability.

            2.  It is often hard for other brethren (supporters or those living in the
                 general area) to believe in what you want to accomplish.

            3.  Because they have known of that area or even lived in that area, they
                 often conclude that "it just can't be done."

       D.  Because of a lack of funds.

       E.  Because of your associations with other congregations.

       F.  Because of personal stupidity.

       G.  Because we try to challenge the wisdom and salvation of the very brethren
             from which we seek help.

       H.  Because of the inability to provide immediate, strong, wise leadership.

SOME GUIDELINES IN MAKING A DECISION TO PLANT A CHURCH.

   I.  Never make the decision to plant a church on your own.  Seek God's counsel
       and leading as a matter of first priority to the decision.

  II.  Make your intentions clear to all those involved.  Supporters should know as
      much as possible about your desires, your goals, your methods, your intentions
      and your needs.

 III.  Make sure that there is a NEED for a new congregation in the area in which
      you are going.


  IV.  Do not begin a congregation out of a "split" from another congregation.
        Hostility is almost always prevalent in this type of situation.  We are seeking
        unity.  You do not "divide" or "split" to achieve unity.

   V.  Be careful to seek the advice of the elders in the locations around you if there
        happens to be other congregations within a reasonable distance.  Let them
        know that you are no threat to them.

  VI.  Remember:  If your purpose is to strike a blow against tradition, remember
        that you may be removing one tradition only to replace it with some new ones
        of your own.  What's the difference?

 VII.  In planting a church you are dealing very directly with the lives and the
        salvation of other people.  You may be strong enough to weather any storm,
        but what about the others?  Always, always take them into consideration
        first!!!

VIII.  Do not try to plant a church to make a name for yourself.  It is a very high
        possibility that for the first few years you will -- a bad one.

  IX.  Learn to think and plan in "reality" and not just in the ideal.  Understanding
        how other brethren think and act is very crucial to your work.  Do not try to live
        in a dream world.


If you are using these outlines, please e-mail us and let us know how you are doing with them.   It is our desire to assist you in your teaching and preaching as much as we can.  Let us know if there are areas with which we can help you.
                         E-mail us at:  garry@heartofgod.org