The first century church exemplifies the model in this aspect of pastoral calling – administering through church planting. Administering through church planting involves the fulfilling of that aspect of the purpose of the church, which has a ripple-effect social dimension. In this, the pastor and the body of Christ in his local congregation do not rest content to stay in just one locality and just keep adding new believers to the congregation. In fact, in a situation where such a local church grows fast, there will always be the problem of lack of space. In administering through church planting, the pastor launches a constructive plan for the establishing of other ecclesiast in strategic as well as needy localities.
Church planting becomes a means through which a local church expands its growth. For instance, rather than having one local church covering a wide geographical area, other assemblies can be established within that wide geographical area. The proximity of the local church to the people’s locality can become an essential factor for the growth of the church. Further more, the parent church can be saved from growing beyond it limits.
Church planting, therefore, becomes a key function in the fulfilling of the purpose of the church. The local church in Sierra Leone in its various denominational forms had been administering through church planting. The evidence exists in the presence of the various ecclesias at different localities across the country. The Evangelical fellowship of Sierra Leone (EFSL) conducted an intensive survey in the Northern Province on the ministry of the Church. The survey statistics, which were published in 1933, reveal that a town called Tambakha had no church. The organization has motivated the Wesleyan church of Sierra Leone and the Baptist Convention of Sierra Leone to consider church planting at Tambahkha. In fulfilling the purpose of the church, these churches which are already working effectively in the north can expand their growth and see new assemblies at Tambakha.
The Necessity to Church Planting
The key to church planting is the Holy Spirit. It is he who convicts people of sin, of righteousness and of judgment (1 Jn. 16:8). It was the Holy Spirit who commissioned Paul and Barnabas to church planting. (Acts. 13:2-3). It was He who directed their focus to the area of need (Acts 16:6-10). It was He who created open doors and empowered the proclamation (Col. 4:3-4; 1 Thess. 1:4-5). Church planting requires the presence, power and direction of the Holy Spirit if the Church is to begin, grow and flourish.
A second necessity to church planting is the word of God. The word of God caused Peter’s audience on the Day of Pentecost to be “cut to the heart” (Acts 2:37). The outcome was repentance, conversion and the church at Jerusalem was born. Paul fought for the preservation of the truth of the Word and the continual proclamation of it. Thus, he wrote to the Galatians contending for the truth of the Word which had caused their local church to come into being. (c. Gal. 1:6-9). He also contended for the truth against heresies in Colosse (c. Col. 2:16-23). We see, then that the word of God in its absolute truth, not man-made distortions, is that which should be central in the administering of the local church through church planting.
A third necessity to church planting is people. Paul developed a work force around him so he could have ‘extended arms.’ He conscripted Sopater of Berea, Aristachus and Secundus from Thessalonica, Gaius and Trophimus from Asia (c. Acts 20:4). Additionally, he conscripted Epaphroditus (Phil. 2:25), Justus, Epaphras, Luke (col.4:10-14) and Aquila and Priscilia (Acts 18:1-3, 18-19). The pastor needs the ‘extended arms’ of the local church to engage in church planting.
Considerations for Founding a Church
For a church to be planted the following considerations should be taken into account:
1. The Place – Town or Village
You must bear in mind the village or town to which the spirit directs you for this great task.
You should find out how many people or inhabitants live there. Try to put them in categories such as children, youth and adults. Find out how many Muslims, Christians et cetera and also their occupation.
Find out the common means of communication. Train and send workers who can communicate to these people in a language they could understand easily and respond.
Do a careful analysis of cost and prepare a budget. This will include transportation, feeding and the materials to be used.
5. Social Facilities
Find out how many schools both primary and secondary; hospital(s); cinema halls; bars and restaurants if any. Find out how motorable the roads are.
6. Persons Involved
You must bear in mind that it is not just one man’s work, you need helpers. Train helpers for the tasks,
7. Methods to reach the area
Consider how to reach the people. Three effective ways are evangelistic campaign, personal evangelism or witnessing and Bible Studies.