Church planting is a divine activity

Last week I asked how we can create church planting movement. The answer, of course, is that we cannot. No. Movements cannot be planned, organised or controlled. They are works of God. Curtis Sergeant says:

There is nothing anyone can do to bring about a Church Planting Movement. A Church Planting Movement is entirely a sovereign act of God … [But] there are things we can do to pave the way for a Church Planting Movement, and there are things we can do to hinder it.[1]

There may be factors that are necessary for church planting movements to take off (we’ll explore what some fo those might be in future posts). But none of them are sufficient causes. You may need to have them in place for a movement to take shape. But they do not guarantee a movement. God must work.

A passion for prayer

What are the implications of this? Number one is the importance of a passion for prayer. David Garrison in his survey of church planting movements claims that all such movement start with prayer. If ultimately any movement is dependent on God, then a passion for prayer is the natural and inevitable response.

We need to see prayer as a primary missionary strategy. We often respond to problems or opportunities by thinking what we can do. We need to respond first and foremost by falling to our knees. Our instinctive response to opportunities or problem is often, ‘What can we do?’ But it should be, ‘Let’s pray.’ Prayer is doing mission and pastoral care.

Spiritual warfare

Another common characteristic of church planting movements is a strong sense of spiritual warfare. This leaves asking where is spiritual warfare taking place in our context. In one sense it seems to be absent. But perhaps this is because Satan achieves his purposes not through demonic and spirit activity. Consumerism and comfort have a numbing affect on so many in our culture. The question then is: What does it mean for us to contend with these things as spiritual warfare?

We need to pray for release from addictions, ual sin and so on. A ‘sauna’ that was really a and a local pub known for -dealing in our area both closed down after we prayed for their demise.


[1] Curtis Sergeant, ‘Insights from a CPM Practitioner’ (www.wsaresourcesite.org/topics/cpm.htm)