by Byron Pellecer, WDC Associate Conference Minister (Texas-Based)
Whether an area conference or an established congregation is planning to start new churches, or working on church revitalization or church growth, I believe that either approach requires us to be led by the Spirit; human effort alone is not enough. Every single congregation experiences conception, development, birth, growth and reproduction or multiplication. In all those stages, the presence and ministry of the Holy Spirit is key.
To be led by the Holy Spirit implies at least prayer, faith, and trust. After all, attempting to respond to key questions like how, when, and where to do church planting, church growth and revitalization is hard to answer sometimes.
Therefore, I argue that prayer is an important and key component in either approach. It is through prayer that one will find direction, will know when, and see where God is already at work and then join him. Our challenge is to trust God and acknowledge him in every way possible; then, he will show the way, the time, and the place. Our job is to be alert to God’s activity in our local communities.
In church planting especially, prayer is the one thing that sustains this ministry. Church planting is not only exhausting but an exciting ministry. It is through it that faith and trust can be anchored. As one reads Scripture, one finds out that nothing spiritually significant has emerged without faith (Hebrew 11). One is also encouraged to “trust in the Lord with all the heart and do not rely on your own insight” (Proverbs 3:5 NRSV).
Church planting is a new ministry that was not in existence in a specific location. As it builds rapport with the community, it proclaims the kingdom of God – a kingdom that brings peace and justice and transformation to both the individual and to the local society.
When reading the Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20 and when reading Acts 1:8; I am inspired to adopt a hands-on approach on promoting church reproduction and multiplication. But I am also challenged to consider evangelism and discipleship as a key component of the Great Commission.
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8 NRSV).
Friends, the promise of the Holy Spirit has been fulfilled… the next step is up to us!