Do We Really Need to Reproduce Churches in America?

Do We Really Need to Reproduce Churches in America?

Dr. Earl Jessup

[dropcap]W[/dropcap]e recently held a Church Planting School in North Carolina and I was surprised to find that many of the pastors in the area didn’t see the need to attend the meeting.  I am sure some had conflicts in their schedules and couldn’t attend.  However, it was very disconcerting to me to find that one pastor when invited to the conference said something to the effect, “Oh, we wouldn’t be interested in that sort of meeting.”

How sad to see pastors who don’t have a clear understanding of their responsibility to plant churches out of their local church.  They have rejected the clear biblical teaching of the Scriptures which mandates that local churches actively reproduce churches and multiply their ministries.  I was recently in a meeting with Dr. Clarence Sexton and he pointed out something I had never seen before.  In Acts 19 as Paul was planting the church at Ephesus, he preached in the synagogue for three months, v. 8, gathered and separated a group of disciples, v. 9, and over a two year period multiplied churches so that “all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks.” Acts 19:10.  He went on to say that churches should multiply churches which in turn multiply churches.  I am sure some will say that they simply evangelized Asia and didn’t plant churches.  How unbiblical to make such a statement.  If the Apostle Paul held the same philosophy of the Great Commission that many American pastors held, there would be no gospel in the United States.  Pastors need to remember that someone planted the church they are pastoring.

Others will contend that Paul was a church planter and therefore he was responsible for the planting of churches.  It is true that Paul was a church planter but in this instance he served the role as a pastor.  In Acts 20 Paul clearly indicates his role in this local church.  From verse 17 to verse 32, he gives the responsibilities he fulfilled while at the church in Ephesus over a two year period.  We often hear pastors use this passage to instruct new pastors and rightfully so.  Paul was a Pastor/Church Planter.  Shouldn’t every pastor be a Pastor/Church Planter since the only way to multiply churches is for the organism of the local church to reproduce herself “after their kind?”

Still others will use another line of thinking.  They will try to justify their failure to carry out the mandate of church planting by indicating how busy they are in their local church ministry.  One pastor said to me, “I don’t have time to be involved in church planting.”  Pastors become so inward focused that they think only about how to build their ministry rather than how can we win an area to Christ.  Many of these pastors are leading churches that are preaching the right message, holding the right standards, and building solid fundamental Baptist churches.  They fail to see that others would love to have a church like their church but do not live in an area where there is a good solid Bible preaching church.  If they could attend they would but distance keeps them from doing so.

Another excuse for not being involved in church planting is that there isn’t a need for new churches.  First of all, anyone who would use this line of thinking simply hasn’t done much investigative work.  Nearly every church in which I preach has people driving for a distance of 20 to 30 miles to attend that church.  When asked the reason, they will say that they do not have a good church to attend in their area.  The excuse of “too many churches” is normally used in the “Bible Belt” of the United States.  Some will say, “There’s a Baptist church on every corner in our town.”  However if you take a good look at what those Baptist churches are preaching you will find that they are not what we are.  Many no longer use the King James Bible.  Others have gone to the contemporary music and methodology.  Still others who seem to be fundamental do not have soul-winning and have settled for a routine service where they have a “form of godliness but deny the power thereof.”  There is no creation of life, no one saved, no churches planted, and absolutely nothing happening but the transfer of members from one church to another.  In these churches the only thing that goes down the aisle is the vacuum cleaner.  These are Independent Baptist churches that have KJV on the sign.  People in those communities need a church that will meet the needs of their souls.  Also there are 3,142 counties in the United States and 450 of those counties do not have a fundamental Bible believing Baptist church.  That means 14% of the counties in the United States do not have a church where they can hear the truth.  If our pastors would develop a philosophy of ministry that includes the multiplication of churches out of their local church, we can make a difference.  Without it, the United States will follow the course of Great Britain and Scotland where there used to be great churches preaching the gospel.

Do we need churches that will reproduce churches?  I am sure that most pastors and laymen reading this will acknowledge that we indeed do need more churches reproduced.  The only way for these churches to be reproduced is for pastors to stop talking about it and do something about it.