Why Plant Churches?
BY PASTOR DEV MENON
It’s about mission.
We all know the Great Commission – to make disciples of all nations. More than evangelism, Jesus’ commission requires us to plant local churches amongst different people groups (we see this practiced in the book of Acts).
Whenever there is an unreached geographical area (e.g., another city or even a new housing estate), we should be thinking about who can be sent to plant a local church there. More than that, whenever the population increases, there is the need for more churches.
People groups are not just defined by location – it could refer to a specific demographic within an existing area. People with different language, ethnicity, background or culture (e.g., native Telugu speakers, domestic helpers, youth from broken families, ex-convicts, etc.).
It could even refer to the next generation, who have become so culturally different, that different methods and leaders are needed to reach them (e.g., GenZ or the digital generation).
It’s about discipleship.
Why does God want us to go? He could easily do it Himself. He clearly wants us involved because it’s more than just reaching the world – it’s about transforming His children. Making us into people who love the last, the least and the lost. People who want to be sent!
In our discipleship strategy, we set out 3 goals. Every member must #getdeep in God’s Word. Every member must #getreal with God and each other. Every member must #getlost for the kingdom. Each is non-negotiable.
Every Christian must cultivate a heart for the gospel – a burden for the lost. So, it is not really about ‘who should go’ – all should go! The only valid questions are when and where.
The longer we remain in one place, the more comfortable we get. But God wants us to go, to fill the whole earth with His goodness. It is not about sending a few individuals, but discipling every individual, family and AG, ready to be sent.
According to research done by the ‘City to City’ movement (see references below), new plants bring more unbelievers to Christ than established churches – which grow primarily by transfers.
Perhaps it is because those in a church plant tend to have a more missional or ‘startup’ mindset. Frankly put, there is more ‘hunger’. We see this in the current 4 English congregations. Ever since we multiplied, more stepped up to serve, newer members have volunteered. More are doing 1-1s, hosting guests and bringing friends.
New church plants also bring in new leadership, new ideas, and often lead to the revitalization of older churches within a city, as we all learn from one another. We’ve seen this happen across our denomination too.
Pastorally, smaller congregations allow better care. It gets significantly harder once the number rises. Leader-burnout increases as the complexity of issues escalates. The percentage of people serving drops. Plus, we lose the sense of family.
Yet… It is hard work.
No one is naive about how much work it takes to start a new congregation, let alone plant a new church. How much will it cost us? In terms of organizational resources and personal sacrifice?
But an equally valid question to ask is – how much will it cost us not to do this? In terms of our personal and corporate spiritual growth? How comfortable do we want to get?
I believe God wishes all His churches to become sending churches; church-planting churches. This is His means to continue His mission to every unreached demographic, and His means to mature our discipleship to a point where we are fruitful and multiplying.
Thus, our goal in the end, is not to expand Zion Bishan, but to expand the kingdom of God.
Pastor Dev Menon