Church plant question

Discussion in 'Ecclesiology' started by CIT, Mar 28, 2011.

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  1. CIT

    CIT Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Which of the following scenarios would you prefer and why?

    A minister starts a church plant/bible study and when 15 people are attending submit to become a mission work of the presbytery.


    A minister goes to the presbytery requesting permission to start a church plant and go from there.
  2. Romans922

    Romans922 Puritan Board Professor

    Second option.
  3. CIT

    CIT Puritan Board Post-Graduate

  4. Tim

    Tim Puritan Board Graduate

    The Biblical pattern is for a minister to be sent. Your signature indicates that you are under care of the EPC, which is a good start.
  5. CIT

    CIT Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Oh I am not talking about myself. It was just a curiosity question. I am not fit to start a church at this time. It was just a question I woke up with this morning.
  6. Romans922

    Romans922 Puritan Board Professor

    They must be sent...presbytery (if you did it the first way) 1) might think you are going behind their back and 2) can't guide/help you if they don't send you.
  7. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    I have seen and heard of a few casual get-togethers for prayer merge into something more long-term and intentional and then the host realizing, "Wow, now I've got a bible study on my hands..what do I do now?" and this is almost always the better scenario since it was unexpected and seems to show that God is working..and now we had better follow Him, rather than expecting Him to follow us and to sign-off on our plans and programs first.

    If your laymen are energetic and regularly fellowshipping with one another and inviting their neighbors over, and even praying for them and with them, a church will experience some 'un-sanctioned evangelism" happening, and this is not always a bad thing. Although, I will grant that some folks do need reigning in and some early oversight.

    Scenario A could include the scenario that I just explained and, if it does, I would prefer the first option, though elders should be leading the evangelistic charge by example, active guidance from afar or at least sanction normally for most large efforts.

    I once briefly attended a church that desired that every 'evangelistic effort' be screened through the elders and even the tracts or literature used be sanctioned by the elders for quality control. This meant that members obviously were not living day-by-day evangelistically or seizing opportunities as these came and went or could not decide to take too much initiative without first alerting their elders for approval. It felt a bit rigid. I see no reason why a Christian family cannot invite neighbors over to talk about the bible and, if they desire to return, plan another dinner and prayer time casually. Many neighbors would flee if something more formal occurred quickly, and there is nothing amiss in private christians taking their own initiative to tell others about Jesus. If this morphs into the man beginning to call himself a preacher, etc, then we would expect that this man not merely become self-appointed but would check with his church leadership about any new sense of calling. But reporting one's initial activities is not always needed, especially at an early stage.

    ---------- Post added at 02:48 PM ---------- Previous post was at 02:42 PM ----------

    Some questions to clarify: (1) the initiator is a minister? (2) He is not a baptist minister? (an independent man), (3) Was his intention to plant a church? Or are these activities merely a natural result of his evangelistic personality? Was it merely a bible study which grew or did the attenders know that they were being groomed to become a new church? You typed "church plant/bible study" but distinguishing which one it is may be essential to our question. I know many folks who have bible studies on the side with no intention of creating a new church plant from every bible study.
  8. CIT

    CIT Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    For clarification:

    1) Yes, he is a minister ordained by God and recognized by the church.

    2) I was thinking a presbyterian minister, but would be open to hearing from my baptist brothers as well

    3) His intention was to plant a church. I have heard church planters talk about starting with a Bible study vs. a formal worship service when the numbers are less than 10 and evolve into a formal worship service when the numbers reach 10-15. The scenario is based off this view.

    ---------- Post added at 10:17 AM ---------- Previous post was at 09:53 AM ----------

    Does this change anything for the first scenario?

    The presby minister has informed his church of his intentions and they have given their blessing, but he has not gone before the presbytery and had a formal blessing from them.
  9. Scottish Lass

    Scottish Lass Puritan Board Doctor

    But this is often done even when the planter/minister is sent.
  10. CIT

    CIT Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    I apologize for my previous post it was very unclear.

    Scenario A:

    An ordained minister who is currently a member of XYZ church (but not a minister at that church or anywhere else at this time) has the desire to plant a church in the neighboring city. He approaches the Session, states his intentions, and receives their blessing to plant this church. Once this church plant grows to a steady 15 attendees, this minister approaches the Presbytery to be accepted as a formal mission work with the intention of becoming a full church (God willing).

    Scenario B:

    The same minister approaches his Session, gets approval, approaches the Presbytery, gets their approval, then proceeds to begin planting the church.

    I hope this clears up any confusion.

    Thanks for the input so far.
  11. Jack K

    Jack K Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    If a guy is intending to plant a church it seems strange not to let the presbytery in on it. Wouldn't you want those men praying for the effort, at the very least.

    That said, I don't know that every test-the-waters Bible study needs to become an official presbytery-level mission work before it may start meeting. That seems to take things to an unnecessary level before they even get started. Don't we expect ordained ministers to be meeting with people and holding Bible studies, constantly poking around to see what new avenues God may open up for them?

    It's good for the minister to keep both the session at his church and his presbytery informed about what he's doing, and to be open to their direction. But at the same time it's good for a presbytery to allow men the latitude to start small, without the pressure of having a formal "mission work," just to investigate where God might be leading.
  12. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    A concept we use is "broad-based sowing" - meaning that we engage in a variety of efforts and not put all our eggs or efforts into one basket when first trying to penetrate a new area, and then we sit back and try to be receptive to where it seems God is working and where we should prioritize our efforts. In such a scenario, if a misssionary where to enter City X, he would try to make his presence known through a variety of media and contacts and may be involved in 4 or 5 weekly bible studies in different parts of town. As something blooms, we tend it. It is assumed that we will be engaging people and initiating things. If every single effort needed a report and gain a permission before even an investigatory start happened, this would hinder the work. It is assumed that if we are sent-out that we will be engaged in just this sort of activities.
  13. Kevin

    Kevin Puritan Board Doctor


    Both are correct. In option one he is functioning as a mission of a properly constituted church. When hte mission reaches a certain size it properly moves to the oversight of presbytery.

    In option 2 he is asking presbytery to "assess" his call.

    There is a third option. When a mission send a planter to an area.

    All the are biblical & all 3 are ok in the PCA BCO.
  14. sdesocio

    sdesocio Puritan Board Freshman

    I think it depends on if the guy is a local or not, and if it's on his initiating or not. Someone who drives 2 hours to start a bible study with no one from that area inviting him probably needs to at least talk to the church planting committee to let them know he is hoping to see something start. But to start a bible study that winds up becoming a core group is a different story. Not all groups who meet as a bible study want to become a core group, and to assume as such is a dangerous thing to do. Our presbytery has experienced such issues. If you're ordained in that presbytery I'd argue you have every right to do ministry in any area in that presbytery (as long as you are respectful to other ministries around you).
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