Recently, I attended a class seminar during the NAD Ministerial Council in Austin TX. I listened to church planting stories and testimonies, and wondered what we can do in Minnesota? Is church planting a viable option? If the stories that I heard were true, showing rapid and exponential growth of churches in some of the regions, then are these methods of church planting something that can be reproduced? Will these methods achieve similar results in Minnesota? What about funding?
As I listened to the speaker Tom Evans, and other members of the class who had the experience or are doing church planting I learned there is an understanding that growth in new churches is faster than in traditional churches. I figured this is true, for natural growth by definition is through cell division. I personally think that there is a danger (I may be wrong) when we as a remnant church begin to adopt mega church mentality. Please don’t misunderstand me. Nothing is wrong with mega churches. What I am saying is that I think the church of God must grow by multiplying itself into witnessing centers in different location either large or small, as opposed to adding to itself in one location. Does this make sense?
If I understand this correctly, this means we must start a church in every culture or population segment where we have no church presence. This may also mean that pastors will begin to have multiple church districts. This also would mean that we, the pastors and the conference, need to allow ordinary church members to do the work of soul winning. Elder Ted Wilson, in his Sabbath sermon at the 2015 General Conference said, “We need a total empowerment of lay people in carrying out the church’s burden of evangelistic outreach”. I think that means that men and women who feel the call of God must accept the responsibility of mission work and wherever possible, organize worshiping groups in localities where we have no churches now. I believe that we must allow men and women from every walk of life to be used by God to start new churches as tent makers. This also may mean we have to return to the house church model (simple church); that we may need to allow our members to meet anywhere with or without trained pastors or paid workers. I believe that the church needs to facilitate relationship building and discipleship making.
Our church members must take ownership of church programs. “The hand of God will be recognized in the raising up of new churches” EGW Lift Him Up, 123. Gary Krause, director of Adventist Mission says, “Countless studies show that church planting is the most effective form of sustained church growth” — confirming the testimony of the Book of Acts, the counsel of Ellen White, and the Adventist Church’s own history.” [i]
Brian K. Mungandi, Vice President for Administration
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