Church Planting Part 3: The Man
There is something I see as a very unhealthy trend in church planting circles: the idea of “The Man.” Church planting is a lonely venture, but the idea of sending one man is both unbiblical and unwise. I love the work of organizations like Acts 29 and read the programmatic work for their planters, Darrin Patrick’s Church Planter. But Paul never planted alone.
Together is Better
Monty Waldron, who was my pastor at Fellowship Bible Church in Murfreesboro, TN has been known to say “together is better.” The guy is like a broken record. In fact, he preached at my church in Louisville recently and said it again! The guy just won’t let it go! But he’s right.
When Paul set out on his first missionary journey, he did so with Barnabas, the man who had taken Paul under his wing and shown him around when he first became a believer. Barnabas was the one guy that gave Paul a chance. We don’t know much about Barnabas, but we do know he had been a believer for longer than Paul. The two men set out on their journey together, and took along a young John Mark.
Later, when Paul and Barnabas went in different directions, Paul was joined by Silas. Throughout his letters, we see that Paul took various people along with him to help in his efforts – Timothy, Titus, Epaphroditus, etc. We don’t have a single example of Paul going alone. It is likely that Paul learned this from Jesus, who sent out his disciples in pairs, probably to fulfill the requirement in the Law for multiple witnesses. We also see Peter and John consistently together in Acts.
It is the exception to the rule when we see a Christian ministering alone in the New Testament. Why would we do it any differently? Let’s join together in the great work of making disciples and gathering them into churches. It’s a challenging road, but
Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken. (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, ESV)