Church Planting in the Book of Acts
To effectively impact the world with the Gospel, we need healthy churches and church planters. The early church saw Spirit-filled, miraculous, and vibrant growth; by emulating the pattern for church planting found in Scripture, the modern church can see similar results. This work takes us on an exploration of the New Testament pattern, not for the purpose of formulaic church planting, but to remind us that before we build a house, we need to evaluate and understand what is involved and to do so in a biblical manner. Through Paul’s life and an examination of four journeys he undertook, we see healthy church planting lived out in extreme, harsh circumstances. Across cultures and facing opposition, Paul demonstrated effective ministry, a healthy dependency on God, and a healthy view of the relationship between the church planter and the church. Dr. Webber clearly defines the essential attributes of a successful church plant – that it should be indigenous, taking responsibility for its own life and ministry, dependent upon God, and more than a mere copy of another church. The healthy worker is also defined by Dr. Webber as one who should be dead to his natural race and religious pride and have a strong faith in God. In addition, a church planter cannot impose his own convictions on a new church – he should be teaching, counseling and guiding, not compelling. Ultimately, the goal of the church planter is to develop a relationship with that church based upon accountability. With practical examples, in areas such as leader development, finances, discipline, and partnering with other local churches, Dr. Webber guides the reader to the foundations necessary for all roles held in a healthy church plant. In serving God and planting churches, the church planter needs to allow new believers and new churches to experience the positive benefits of the struggle, as they are guided to spiritual maturity and a healthy dependency on God. Ultimately, a new church is successful and kept from potential corruption when it depends upon God and is independent of foreign aid.
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