Is Planting a Church Really Worth It?

is planting a church really worth it.jpg

Editor’s note: This is the last in a series of congregational letters to a church in the midst of church planting. The first was written by the pastor of the mother church; this letter and a letter published earlier this week were written by the pastor at the new plant.


Although our church is still not completely separated from the mother church, we have already started small group meetings at the site where we will eventually be planted. In obedience to the Bible, and seeing God’s call for us as an evangelistic mission, the church planting process has mostly gone smoothly. Still, as a church planting pastor, I face this major temptation: to succumb to fear that we have started the church plant before we were fully prepared and ready to make detailed adjustments. Are we really going to start like this? My perfectionism drives me to make things look more mature, but one can always find a reasonable excuse to put off a project.

So, let’s go on and get started. After all, the Bible does not give a detailed preparation list for planting a church, either. During our gatherings over the past few weeks, we could immediately feel the discomfort that church planting produces for both our mother church, as well as the new church. The elders’ meeting went from a roundtable of six, to a small meeting of three. The pastoral responsibilities of each elder have increased exponentially, especially at the mother church. The church plant has created many vacancies in church service positions, and our new church is short-staffed in almost every position. This makes Sunday gatherings a bit of a mess at times.

>
“There are many more discomforts of this ilk; and perhaps the future holds even more challenges. Is planting a church really worth it?

The answer is: yes, it is worthwhile for us to do so.

With no change in the number of members, one church has become two churches. Budgeting pressures have doubled, and the financial pressure will become still more obvious once the churches are completely separated. There are still ongoing discipleship relationships among the members, as well as biblically-rooted spiritual relationships and friendships. 


Would You Pray With Us Today?

Sign up to receive our weekly prayer emails with requests for the house church in China

This separation of course brings reluctance and sadness. Some members of the new church have come to me in tears, disheartened because they suddenly realized that, due to prolonged separation during the epidemic, it has become almost impossible for them to come back and visit their mother church.

There are many more discomforts of this ilk; and perhaps the future holds even more challenges. Is planting a church really worth it?

The answer is: yes, it is worthwhile for us to do so.

1.    Planting a church is worth it for the sake of God’s glory.

Pastor John Piper said, “Mission exists because worship doesn’t. Mission is temporary, but worship endures forever.” New churches are planted on the other side of town in order that unreached people in that area may be reached by the gospel. It is exactly because people do not worship God and honor his glory that we need to preach the gospel and plant churches. We do this so that people will come to worship God and give him the glory he deserves. “Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you! Let the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you judge the peoples with equity and guide the nations upon earth.”

2.    Planting a church is worth it to build the faith of God’s people.

It is true that there are many risks when planting a new church: we will face gaps in volunteer positions, and we may even face financial shortages. Yet this is exactly the time members should exercise their faith and look to God together. As we have mentioned in previous sermons: a Christian’s spiritual life is not an unrelenting slide into heaven, pulled forward by the force of inertia. Instead, the Christian’s life is a constant exercise of sanctifying faith in a sinful world.

>
“Those who follow Jesus Christ are always to be ready to be sent by Christ. Worship services on Sunday do not exist for the end of the service in itself. Instead, weekly services are themselves a commissioning, an evangelical sending of all called disciples into the world to ‘make disciples of all nations.’

God is raising up many members to serve in the volunteer position gaps. We are also seeing many brothers and sisters being chosen by God to take on difficult ministry responsibilities. Although we are still short of the elders we need, and just a few elders are now caring for more members, this only reinforces our zeal to pray to God to raise up elders among his people.

3.    It is worthwhile for the future harvest. 

Our church planting group has been studying Galations, which says: “Let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” Paul uses the analogy of a farmer to describe the fruitfulness of our spiritual lives. We will encounter hardships in these early stages of church planting. The barriers of our likes and dislikes will be broken down as we go out of our comfort zones and encounter many other obstacles. It is even possible that we may not see any changes for some time; this is the case when sowing seeds. But the Bible promises that if we do what is good, abiding by the Scriptures and what is pleasing to God, that in the appointed time what we sow will bear fruit. The day of reaping will indeed be a time of joy for us.

This week, thirty-five members will be sent out from our mother church to go to a new place and establish a gospel community. Yet such sending is not the ultimate goal, for either our mother church or for our own newly planted church. Those who follow Jesus Christ are always to be ready to be sent by Christ. Worship services on Sunday do not exist for the end of the service in itself. Instead, weekly services are themselves a commissioning, an evangelical sending of all called disciples into the world to “make disciples of all nations.”


Sun Lei is a pseudonym for a church planting pastor in a large Eastern Chinese city.

 

FOR PRAYER AND REFLECTION

Pray for the many practical challenges—such as finding volunteers, budget shortfalls, and a need for wise elders—faced during church planting.

Share This Story

Further Reading

hangjia-xu-3ZdSvOSlm4c-unsplash
The External Cross: A Pastoral Letter
Read More
billow926-ND4-6joi3t8-unsplash
Qingdao: How to Pray
Read More
cajeo-zhang--Qkr9oCfcZo-unsplash
Qingdao: Locals and Outsiders
Read More

LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT IN CHINA

With rising pressure and persecution in China, there are two challenges imperative for church leaders. The first challenge is for current leaders to love Christ above all else, and not to stray into legalism or love of the world. The second challenge is to raise up the next generation of leaders, who will humbly model Jesus even if current leaders are arrested.

WILL YOU JOIN US IN PRAYING FOR LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT IN CHINA? PRAY FOR:

  1. Current leaders to grow in their daily walks with Christ
  2. Current leaders to shepherd and raise up new leaders
  3. New leaders who love Christ and will model him to the world
  4. New leaders to love and care for the church

Videos

ABOUT LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT

About Shenyang

Shenyang is a city located in northeastern China and is the capital of Liaoning Province. It is known for its rich history and cultural heritage, including the Shenyang Imperial Palace, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Shenyang is also a hub for China’s heavy industry, with companies such as the China First Automobile Group and the Shenyang Aircraft Corporation having their headquarters in the city.

Videos

Stories from Shenyang

About Qingdao

Qingdao is a city located in eastern China and is famous for its beaches, beer, and seafood. The city is home to several landmarks, including the Zhanqiao Pier and the Badaguan Scenic Area. Qingdao is also a major port and has a thriving economy, with industries such as electronics, petrochemicals, and machinery.

Videos

Stories from Qingdao

About Xiamen

Xiamen is a city located in southeastern China and is a popular tourist destination known for its beautiful coastal scenery, including Gulangyu Island, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The city is also a hub for China’s high-tech industry, with companies such as Huawei and ZTE having research and development centers in Xiamen.

Videos

Stories from Xiamen

About Chongqing

Chongqing is a city located in southwestern China and is a major economic center in the region. The city is known for its spicy cuisine, especially its hot pot dishes, and is also famous for the Three Gorges Dam, the world’s largest hydroelectric dam. Chongqing is also home to several historic sites, including the Dazu Rock Carvings, which are UNESCO World Heritage sites.

Videos

Stories from Chongqing

About Nanjing

Nanjing is a city located in eastern China and is the capital of Jiangsu Province. It is one of China’s ancient capitals and has a rich cultural history, including the Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum, the Nanjing City Wall, and the Confucius Temple. Nanjing is also a modern city with a thriving economy and is home to several universities, including Nanjing University and Southeast University.

Videos

Stories from Nanjing

About Changchun

Changchun is a city located in northeastern China and is the capital of Jilin Province. It is known for its rich cultural heritage and is home to several historical landmarks such as the Puppet Emperor’s Palace and the Jingyuetan National Forest Park. Changchun is also a hub for China’s automotive industry, with several major automobile manufacturers having their headquarters in the city.

Videos

Stories from Changchun

About Guangzhou

Guangzhou, also known as Canton, is a city located in southern China and is the capital of Guangdong Province. It is one of the country’s largest and most prosperous cities, serving as a major transportation and trading hub for the region. Guangzhou is renowned for its modern architecture, including the Canton Tower and the Guangzhou Opera House, as well as its Cantonese cuisine, which is famous for its variety and bold flavors. The city also has a rich history, with landmarks such as the Chen Clan Ancestral Hall, the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall, and the Temple of the Six Banyan Trees. Additionally, Guangzhou hosts the annual Canton Fair, the largest trade fair in China.

Videos

Stories from Guangzhou

About Kunming

Kunming is a city located in southwest China and is the capital of Yunnan Province. Known as the “City of Eternal Spring” for its mild climate, Kunming is a popular tourist destination due to its natural beauty and cultural diversity. The city is home to several scenic spots, including the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Stone Forest, Dian Lake, and the Western Hills. Kunming is also famous for its unique cuisine, which features a mix of Han, Yi, and Bai ethnic flavors. The city has a rich cultural history, with ancient temples and shrines like the Yuantong Temple and the Golden Temple, and it’s also a hub for Yunnan’s ethnic minority cultures, such as the Yi and Bai peoples.

Videos

Stories from Kunming

About Shenzhen

Shenzhen is a city located in southeastern China and is one of the country’s fastest-growing metropolises. The city is renowned for its thriving tech industry, with companies such as Huawei, Tencent, and DJI having their headquarters in Shenzhen. The city also has a vibrant cultural scene, with numerous museums, art galleries, and parks. Shenzhen is also known for its modern architecture, such as the Ping An Finance Center and the Shenzhen Bay Sports Center. Despite its modernization, Shenzhen also has a rich history and cultural heritage, with landmarks such as the Dapeng Fortress and the Chiwan Tin Hau Temple.

Videos

Stories from Shenzhen

About Chengdu

Chengdu is a city located in the southwestern region of China, and the capital of Sichuan province. It has a population of over 18 million people, and it is famous for its spicy Sichuan cuisine, laid-back lifestyle, and its cute and cuddly residents – the giant pandas. Chengdu is home to the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, where visitors can observe these adorable creatures in their natural habitat. The city also boasts a rich cultural heritage, with numerous temples, museums, and historical sites scattered throughout its boundaries. Chengdu is a city of contrasts, with ancient traditions coexisting alongside modern developments, making it an intriguing and fascinating destination for visitors to China. 

Videos

Stories from Chengdu

About Beijing

Beijing is the capital city of China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of over 21 million people. The city has a rich history that spans over 3,000 years, and it has served as the capital of various dynasties throughout China’s history. Beijing is home to some of the most iconic landmarks in China, including the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, and the Temple of Heaven. The city is also a hub for political, cultural, and educational activities, with numerous universities and research institutions located within its boundaries. Beijing is renowned for its traditional architecture, rich cuisine, and vibrant cultural scene, making it a must-visit destination for travelers to China.

Videos

Stories from Beijing

About Shanghai

Shanghai is a vibrant and dynamic city located on the eastern coast of China. It is the largest city in China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of over 24 million people. Shanghai is a global financial hub and a major center for international trade, with a rich history and culture that spans over 1,000 years. The city is famous for its iconic skyline, which features towering skyscrapers such as the Oriental Pearl Tower and the Shanghai Tower. Shanghai is also home to a diverse culinary scene, world-class museums and art galleries, and numerous shopping districts. It is a city that is constantly evolving and reinventing itself, making it a fascinating destination for visitors from around the world.

Videos

Stories from Shanghai

give

A short message about partnering with us.