How do you go about planting a church? We need more churches worldwide—especially grace-based churches—but who will start them?
Here’s a quick overview of Paul’s church planting method. No one chapter in the Bible describes it, but you get the general idea from the Book of Acts and the comments made in Paul’s epistles. Here’s his method in seven steps:
- Paul and a companion would go to a new city and reason with the Jews in the synagogue or do open-air preaching in the marketplace (e.g., Acts 13:14; 17:2, 17).
- During his visit, Paul would accept hospitality from an individual or family, though he could also rent a house for himself (e.g., Acts 18:7; 28:30).
- When a householder or a household believed, it would become the nucleus of a house church (e.g., Rom 16:5; Col 4:15; Philem 1:2).
- Based out of that home, Paul spent an average of four months evangelizing and training the new believers before leaving for another city (e.g., Acts 14:1, 5-6, 19-21, 24-26).
- The baby churches were left on their own without elders.
- If a church outgrew the home (an average home at the time could hold between 12-50 people), a new householder would be chosen, and a new church planted.
- Later, Paul would visit the churches he planted or send an apostolic worker to appoint elders (Acts 14:21-23; 16:1-3; Titus 1:5).
And that’s it!
Paul’s church planting method was flexible, affordable, and very fast-paced.
Most ministers would be proud of how long they’ve stayed in one place, but Paul’s boast might have been in how quickly he was able to leave. That’s the difference between being a 1st-century church planter and an elder.
Prayer for the day: Heavenly Father, are you sending me to plant churches? And if not, are you calling me to give hospitality to a church planter? Either way, Lord, use me to glorify the name of Jesus in my city.