Do you want to see your community, your city, or even your entire geographic region transformed by the power of God’s Word? What would it be like if every man, woman, and child in Central Florida had the opportunity hear the gospel message of Jesus Christ? How many of them would believe and become disciples of Christ? What impact would all of these new disciples have on morality, crime rate, poverty and the overall health of our communities? Imagine what Central Florida could be like. Consider for a moment, that last year, over 55 million people visited Central Florida from all over the world. What impact could we have on the rest of the world if we were to reach every people group here at home with the gospel?
It would take a lot more churches to make a lot more disciples.The Orlando metro area alone is home to over 2.1 million people. There is approximately one SBC church for every 12,000 people in Central Florida and one SBC chruch for every 6,000 people in the entire state of Florida. If everyone in Central Florida were to hear the gospel, we would expect hundreds of thousands or even millions of new believers needing to be discipled. How many more churches would we need?
Church planting is the result of good mission work. When Paul and Barnabas left Antioch to go on their first missionary journey, they focused on preaching the gospel to the Jews first and then the gentiles. They preached so effectively that many people in cities like Antioch of Pisidia, Iconium, Lystra, and Derbe believed the message and were saved. Acts 14:21-23 tells us that they evangelized and made disciples in these cities and then went back to complete the work of starting churches with these new believers.
We know today that the work of a missionary is not complete until it results in the planting of multiplying churches. The commands of the Great Commission include making disciples, baptizing believers, and teaching them to obey the commands of Christ. The Great Commission is the mission of every local church and in every place where the gospel is preached; new churches should be planted in order to fulfill the commands of Christ.
Church planting is the work of God through the local church
. Churches planting churches
seems to be the New Testament model. Just as the Antioch church planted churches by sending out Paul, Barnabas, Silas and others; these new churches started other churches as well. In Ephesus, Paul established a missionary school that sent out gospel preachers all over Asia Minor, who evangelized the lost, made disciples and planted churches. In the letter to the Colossians, we see Paul writing to a church that he did not start. He heard about their faith from Epaphras, who was likely trained in Paul’s missionary school in Ephesus. It is likely that the Colossian church also started the churches of Laodocia and Hierapolis (Col. 4:12-13).
Church planting results in changed lives and transformed cities. Ephesus was most known for the temple to Artemis. The people who gave their lives to Christ were permanently changed and they stopped worshipping false gods. So many people had become disciples of Jesus that the worshippers of Artemis felt threatened and they were concerned that Ephesus was being transformed from a pagan city to a Christian city (Acts 19:27).
Church planting results in the transformation of entire geographic regions. Every person who lived in the Roman province of Asia (Asia Minor) heard the gospel message of Jesus Christ (Acts 19:10). How did they hear? It was the result of missionary church planters being trained by the church at Ephesus and men like Epaphras being sent out to preach the gospel, make disciples and plant churches all over the region.
The New Testament is our strategy guide for changing the world.
By sharing the gospel with lost people, discipling new believers, and training missionary church planters, we can see the whole world changed from Central Florida. We don’t have to wait for the right time. Jesus said that the harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few (Matthew 9:37).
To learn more about partnering with other churches to plant churches, contact Mark Weible, Director of Church Planting for GOBA at 407-293-0450 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted on Thu, February 7, 2013
by Mark Weible filed under