According to an article published by Barna Group a little over a year ago, “Even amidst the pandemic, church planting remains a priority for many churches. Half of pastors (53%) agree strongly that their church is committed to starting new churches and planting new campuses.”
This article (which includes a conversation between church planters) discussed the need for relationships and discipleship to move the gospel forward. Church plants are one way to focus on relational discipleship.
In an article by Dr. Tom Gibbs (president of Covenant Theological Seminary), he says, “For a church to grow and make an impact, a living community of kingdom-minded believers must form. For that to occur, there must be clear, relevant, and Christ-centered proclamation, and gracious, gospel-health must emerge and grow among the members of the church plant.”
The Tennessee Valley Presbytery’s church planting initiative keeps the gospel central through communities of “kingdom-minded believers.” Each planting pastor and core group share a vision to reach their communities with biblical proclamation of the gospel.
Ultimately, Gibbs continues, these church plants are the Lord’s. They do not belong to one pastor or one core group. They do not belong to the Tennessee Valley Presbytery or the Presbyterian Church in America.
In Gibbs’ words, “The truth is that our Lord God is the chief church planter and architect for ministry. As the apostle Paul reminds us,
What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor. For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building. (1 Cor. 3:5–9 ESV)”
So it is in the Tennessee Valley as each planting pastor looks not to himself, but to the Lord who leads these church plants forward.