19 Feb Church Planting vs Starting a Church? Which one are people really doing?
The question was asked of me, “What do you see as the difference between Church Planting and Starting a Church?” Which one are people really doing?
I see the difference as this. Starting a church , which to me is mostly about creating an alternative to a church people already go to. In other words all you have is church transplants, people who are already Christians and are just leaving one church to go to your new one. And getting Christians who stop going to church for one reason or another (most unhappy with last church), to come to your new improved version.
To where “Church Planting” I see as like what happened in Acts chapter 2, where the disciples where gospel planting and that was resulting in salvations, which resulting in a church, a new community of followers of Christ, i.e. church planting. In Church Planting the church is birthed out of new salvations just like in Acts with the 3000 (Acts 2:38-48).
Almost all of church growth in the US is church transfer, that is Christian going to a new church or leaving a church to go to the latest version of church, mixed with unchurched Christians trying church out once agan. Take mega churches, they are like Wal-Marts, where ever they spring up, a dozen small churches close.
In China and the rest of the World we have “Church Planting”, people going out and planting the gospel, resulting in people coming to Christ, resulting in new churches – community of faiths.
A “church planter” I know went door to door to over 3000 homes introducing himself saying he was starting a bible study, shared the gospel and invited people to come. The result, many came to Christ, he planted a church. (read more on this planter here.)
The key is “Gospel Planting” results in “Church Planting “, gospel planting must preced, happen first to have church planting. Jesus did not tell us to go plant churches, He said go and plant the gospel and make disciples and He would build the church, and that’s what happen in Acts.
There is nothing wrong with starting a church, we can use that too, I would like to see church planting come back to America, i.e. Gospel planting become the focus, churches coming from new salvation not transplants. See Acts chapter 2 happening in every neighborhood. Just my vision anyway.
You can read more about church planting in my Blog How to plant a church for Free.