Church Planting Foundations

A note from European Leadership Forum Director, Greg Pritchard: 

To see Europe won back for Christ, many leaders of denominations, missions, and churches are convinced that church planting is key.  But the question is how?

The Acts 29 movement, which currently includes over 700 churches all over the world, believes the local church is God’s primary mission strategy.  As they explain: 

“As a family of church-planting churches we are about one thing: church planting.  We exist to encourage, resource, facilitate, support and equip churches to plant churches that will plant church-planting churches.”

They are known for their commitment to firmly ground their teaching and practice of church planting in the Bible. In the ELF Church Planting Foundations Network, we are excited that Philip Moore, European Director of Acts 29, and his team will teach and train leaders in the church planting model of the Apostle Paul.

2019 European Church Planting Foundations Network

Church planting has made a welcome reappearance at the top of the agenda for many denominations, missionary organisations, and networks. We are seeing the fruit of this throughout Europe in the early decades of the 21st century. If we want to see Europe won back for Christ, we need to make sure that our theory and practice of church planting are firmly grounded in the Bible. Church planting is first and foremost a theological enterprise, before it is a process. In the Church Planting Foundations Network we will be sitting at the feet of Paul, whose theology and practice of church planting are exemplary for us today.

To attend this Network, participants should have more than a theoretical interest in church planting. Practically this means being in the process of planting, having the desire to plant in the future, being part of a church-planting team currently or in the future, being part of the leadership of an existing church that wishes to plant out in the future, or being part of a denomination or a group that wishes to implement a plan to integrate church planting fully into their strategic plan. Prior preparation will be set for all applicants.
 

NETWORK LEADER

Philip Moore has been pastoring and planting churches in the east of Paris for the past 12 years. He is currently European director for Acts 29, working to build relationships between local church-planting churches and church planters all over Europe. With over 50 countries and a population of over 700 million people the European continent, once the most Christianized in the world, is now a mission field. It is Philip’s privilege, as European director of A29, to see what God is doing in our continent, and to encourage church–planting initiatives from Ireland to Turkey, from Denmark to Italy through assessment, coaching, training, and supporting of church planters and church–planting churches. Philip is married to Rachel, and they have 5 children.
 

NETWORK SPEAKER

J. D. Gilmore was born in Italy, where his parents were missionaries. God’s grace opened his eyes to the good news of the gospel as a teenager. J. D. and his wife are passionate about the spread of the gospel in Italy, where they have been involved in church planting for many years. He now coordinates Impatto (Acts 29 in Italy) as well as being involved in setting up gospel-centred movements in Italy and the Balkans.

 

 

NETWORK PROGRAM

 

Day 1

Know the God of the Gospel

Paul’s dramatic encounter with the risen Christ on the road to Damascus is the bedrock for his understanding of the gospel. We can understand Paul’s great letters as being meditations on this world-changing event. His mission and ministry flow out of this. Understanding the scope and the depth of the gospel gives us the motivation, the mandate, the methodology, the message and the model for church planting.  This will prevent us working out of our projects, plans, strategies and skills, and drifting towards idolatry of ministry and idolatry which is the antithesis of why we plant churches. Through the gospel, Paul kept a vision of a big God with whom he had a vital relationship, and this impacted directly on how he planted.

 

Know the Bible

Paul’s preparation for being a church planter was being steeped in Scripture ‘from birth.’ His modus-operandi was to open the Scriptures and point to Christ. When we plant churches, we are not primarily in the world of process and start-up culture (even if we can learn from them - and we will!), but we are doing spiritual work with spiritual tools. The apostles devoted themselves to prayer and to the word. We need to remember that what people are converted by is what they are converted to...
 


Day 2

Know Yourself

Assessment is an incredibly important part of any endeavour. Jesus’ parables show us this, as does Paul’s interactions with John Mark. Paul was also someone who knew himself, and who encourages others to know themselves. According to Calvin self-knowledge is only second to knowledge of God in importance, and is only possible in the light of our knowledge of our Creator and Redeemer. Before you embark on the dangerous, thrilling task of church planting - know yourself.

 
 

Know People

If the Christian life is the art of loving God and loving others, then we can only love others if we know them. Paul’s letters overflow with his deep love for and knowledge of others, and this was key to his success as a church planter. 1 Corinthians 9 is key - but so are many other passages. Church planting brings us into contact with other people in a dramatic, intense way.
 


Day 3

Know Ecclesiology

Paul had a highly sophisticated, adaptable and flexible ecclesiology with some nonnegotiable fixed points and much freedom. But he knew what he was trying to do as he preached the gospel and formed the new converts into local outposts of the kingdom of God. What we are aiming for as we plant churches will define and determine what we end up with!
 

Know Your Context

The beautiful and supernatural truth is that Christianity, unlike any other religion, is infinitely adaptable to all cultures, as Paul demonstrates throughout his journeys. We have no priests, no temples, no clothes, no food laws, an extremely simple and reduced set of rituals which are open to all. This means that we can go to all cultures and contexts and the gospel will flourish. It will confront and comment different  aspects of different cultures in a thoroughly unique way as it builds on common grace in creation and special grace in redemption and future grace in the consummation.

 

Day 4

Know How to Plan

A budget is a costed vision. A plan is a sequenced vision. Paul new how to budget and sequence in ambitious and daring ways, and he knew also how to let the Spirit open and close doors. Church planting requires us to plan well and yet to be humble enough to let God change our plans.
 

Know How to Suffer

Just as our Lord and Saviour suffered, so Paul suffered - and so we will suffer if we follow in their footsteps. Church planting, like all gospel work, and perhaps particularly so, will involve us in suffering. Are we prepared for that? Do we have a robust theology of suffering that will see us through hard times and help us understand and accept whatever God allows?
 


 

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