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The Importance of Planting Churches
T THE 2008 General Assembly, I felt impressed of the Lord The very missional nature that caused our forefathers to
to lead the Church of God using the theme Forward Togeth- “send” is once again asking our generation to send. Dr. Ed Stetzer
er in Changing Times, emphasizing three key initiatives: said, “Throughout history, God has always been a sender. After all,
Prayer, the Great Commission, and a Quest for Trust. We He sent us His son, who in turns sends us. Now, God is calling us
are currently involved in a churchwide emphasis on prayer that is to a new kind of missional living, one that engages the culture,
producing remarkable results. Alvin Reid, in his book The Radical- enables Christians to live in the world while not being of the
ly Unchurched, said, “Prayer-intimacy with God should lead to the world, and motivates the purposeful sharing of the story of
fulfillment of His purposes.” I believe that prayer is a crucial foun- Christ.” The world is in great need of missional churches, and
dation for our second initiative: the intentional and strategic America is no different. In 1998, 154,000 Protestant churches
planting of culturally relevant, Spirit-filled churches. Dr. David T. reported no conversions! There is an enormous amount of
Olson said, “The church needs to be forever building.” Building is research to prove that the single most effective way to reach the
the Church’s response to God’s missional promptings. I believe we lost is through the planting of new churches. Our mission
are being prompted by God to become a missional church. involves understanding.
We Began as a Missional A Missional Church
Church Requires Us to Understand
We started as a missional church
Every domain of our culture
Our Times
plant. And when the Lord returns, He
must find us as a missional church-
is undergoing a major
Every domain of our culture is under-
going a major metamorphosis. A sea of
planting movement. Missional church
metamorphosis. Even
transitions and transformations is
planting is intentional church planting. birthing a whole new universe. Even
Tim Conder wrote, “Mission in the
evangelism is more difficult
evangelism is more difficult and com-
emerging culture needs to address the plex than ever before. Lon Allison, from
immediate reign of God in our world
and complex than ever before.
the Billy Graham Center for Evange-
and culture as much as the promised lism, said, “The distance between pre-
eternal kingdom of God. . . . As our mis-
We are reaching out to a world
Christians and faith in Christ is a much
sion begins, we will naturally draw near longer distance than it was in a previous
to the greatest pains, needs, and injus-
that no longer understands
generation.” We are reaching out to a
tices of this world.” The pain of this world that no longer understands our
world is calling us to a new missional
our language, dress, music,
language, dress, music, or communica-
wineskin. We must cultivate our mis- tive styles. But as Leonard Sweet said,
sional nature once again. or communicative styles. “The church is a counterflow to such
6 EVANGEL • APR 2009
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