“We encourage partner churches to sow at least 10% of their monthly income toward church planting and ministry to the poor.”
Church planting Churches… The first time I heard this phrase was about a decade ago. I was a member of a small Baptist church with limited resources, and I had a difficult time understanding how our tiny congregation could be involved in planting other churches. We were making monthly contributions (albeit small) to the Southern Baptist Convention’s Cooperative Program. Maybe this qualified us to be a church planting church, but I suspected there was more to it than that.
It was around this time that Dee and I began to research trends in Christendom. We soon learned about a pastor named Mark Driscoll and a church-planting organization called Acts 29 (co-founded by Driscoll). In order to be associated with it, a church in the Southeastern United States, for example, agrees to the following… (see screen shot below)
As I understand it, these financial commitments are in addition to any denominational commitments.
The Acts 29 Network has been around for twenty years now, and we aren’t the least bit surprised that copycat organizations are starting to spring up. One such copycat is the Advance Movement, which was started by P.J. Smyth just four years ago. (see his bio)
Take a look at what is expected of churches that partner with Advance (see screen shot below):
Advance has a global team which is comprised of pastors including PJ Smyth (see screen shot below). How in the world does Smyth and other members of the team have time to shepherd their own congregations? Are church members at Covenant Life Church going to be O.K. with their lead pastor devoting so much attention to the church planting network he established?
I remember reading testimonies of Covenant Life Church members who made great financial sacrifices to contribute to the building campaigns. Remember how C.J. Mahaney asked the congregants to dig deeper into their pockets to fund the multi-million dollar gymnasium (after forking over their $$$ for the huge CLC facility)? Some families made tremendous financial sacrifices to appease their pastors.
After current CLC members re-commit to their church by March 11, Smyth will soon be demanding the congregation support his church planting network, as detailed above. Is this really what the Book of Acts has in mind?
In case you’re wondering how Advance does church planting, here are some FAQ’s. (see screen shot below)
We have so many questions regarding the Advance Movement and the congregations that will be making contributions to this church planting organization. Here are some of them.
What are your thoughts on all this talk of church planting?
Are congregations being harmed by this over-emphasis on church planting?
Is it possible for a pastor to shepherd his flock while promoting church-planting?
Who pays for the trips to global and regional Advance gatherings (the pastor or the church)?
Does promoting this global church-planting network take away from the local missions efforts of churches?
No doubt you have your own questions and concerns, so feel free to share them here.