The following are excerpts from this book
Aubrey Malphurs, The Nuts and Bolts of Church Planting: A Guide for Starting Any Kind of Church (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2011), 17–22.
I define church planting as an exhausting but exciting venture of faith, the planned process of starting and growing local churches based on Jesus’s promise to build his church and in obedience to his Great Commission.
I suspect that few who have been involved in any kind of church ministry would be surprised to hear me say that church planting is exhausting…
Church planting involves long hours, perhaps longer than those put in by pastors of established churches. There’s so much to do when starting from scratch and never enough time to do it all. There will always be one more visit that needs to be made or a phone call to be returned. Church planters need forty-eight-hour days, not twenty-four-hour days.
One emotion that counteracts the exhaustion of starting a church is the excitement it engenders. I make a point of telling the church planters I train that, if there’s no excitement, then something is wrong.
Church planting is exciting for a number of reasons.
First, church planters are pioneers. That’s another way of saying most of them are entrepreneurs. They’re wired from the beginning to start new works, and this helps them realize who God has made them to be. There’s an excitement about being who God wants you to be and doing what you know God wants you to do.
There is also the excitement of anticipating what God could accomplish through you and the new ministry. … Regardless, God will use you to accomplish his will and build his church. Church planters are excited because they expect God to do something special through their ministry. Not only do they know that God can use them wonderfully but they believe he will use them. They can feel it in the depth of their soul. Now is their time in history to be used of him to do something special. They expect to serve God’s purpose in this generation—their generation (see Acts 13:36).
A Venture of Faith
Church planting is both an exhausting and an exciting faith venture. Hebrews 11:6 tells us that nothing of spiritual significance is accomplished without faith. Indeed, “without faith it is impossible to please God”.
A Planned Process
Starting a church is a dynamic, planned process. It has a beginning but ideally no ending. Starting a church is just that: beginning a ministry that was not already in existence, with the goal that it continue for as long as God is pleased to work through it.
Starting and Growing the Church
The goal of church planting is not only to start a church but to see it grow. Churches grow in several ways.
Churches grow biologically—people having babies. This is good because it signals that the church has young couples that are having babies who are the future of the church. It means the church has a future.
Churches grow through people transferring from another church. This can be good or bad. Some people leave one church and attend another because their expectations are too high or they’ve been disciplined and asked to leave. On the other hand, some people leave a church because it is toxic and is doing harm to their faith.
Evangelism growth results when a church is reaching unbelievers with the gospel of Christ. They are saved and join the church. Evangelism is an imperative and key to fulfilling the Great Commission. Unfortunately, few churches are evangelistic, which is one of the major reasons the American church is in crisis.
We can also view church growth from the spiritual perspective. According to Christ’s Great Commission, his church is to grow both numerically and spiritually. It is Christ’s desire that his church grow numerically as people come to faith in Christ. But the ultimate objective of the Great Commission is that the church grow spiritually as believers mature over time.