Monday, May 18, 2009

The Benefits of Direct Church Planting

by Dan Iverson

For the record, I am for facilitation. In a sense, Scripture is calling us to facilitate when it says “equip the saints” to minister (Ephesians 4:11). Jethro, in effect, told Moses to facilitate (Exodus 18:17). D.L. Moody wisely said, “Don’t do the work of a thousand men. Put a thousand men to work!” We must be equipping increasing numbers of workers to multiply churches and reach the world.


On the other hand I have some concerns about the growing facilitation emphasis in missions circles. As a longtime missionary toJapan, I daily experience the strengths and weaknesses of both direct and facilitative church planting. I facilitate some indigenous Japanese workers by serving, supporting, and coaching from a distance while concurrently doing direct church planting as a missionary pastor working toward a church-planting movement (CPM) together with three younger Japanese co-pastors.


Praise God that facilitation in missions is increasingly possible. God promised to raise up indigenous “Gentile Levite” church planters (Isaiah 66:21), and is doing so worldwide. Christ is building His Church. There are increasing numbers of healthy churches with whom we can partner, serve, and facilitate as we pursue biblical, indigenous CPMs.


And in large part, facilitation is possible today from Brazil to Bangladesh because of foundations laid by missionaries through more direct evangelism in previous generations. In many places, however, those foundations are lacking. The national church is weak or nearly non-existent. There are not scores of indigenous church planters waiting to be facilitated. Evangelism and church planting by cross-cultural missionaries are still needed so that some day, by God’s grace, there will be indigenous movements with whom we can partner. (Click here to continue reading).

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