By Samuel Oyejola
Although the first mention of ‘Church’ in the New Testament was when Jesus Christ acknowledged Peter’s recognition of His divinity, “And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it.” Matthew 16:18. Apart from that, He didn’t make reference to church or church establishment all through His earthly sojourn.
Church as a community would come to be relevant and a part of the Christian life after the Apostles were endowed on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2. Before then, Jesus had commissioned them to ensure that they take the gospel to every nook and cranny of the world for all to be beneficiaries of the kingdom to come.
Apostle Paul, a one-time persecutor of Christians, became Christ’s Ambassador, taking the gospel to every part of the world, especially Europe. He was the originator of church planting right from the Bible times. Therefore, the secret of church planting can be learnt from his operations while on earth.
Establishing or planting a church is not a walk in the park. It entails serious spiritual exercise and serious communication with the Holy Spirit. In other words, you have to engage in serious prayers to get the leading of the Holy Spirit so as not to take a wrong step in church establishment.
What should your prayer points focus on?
The location, who your target souls are, and operations, prayer about finances, wisdom in teaching and directing the congregants on the right path. All these are important factors that must be tabled for God’s guidance before setting out for church establishment and planting.
Another thing that is needed in successfully planting a church is to communicate to the people. You need to make your intention clear to all. This is where a lot of persons fail. In this part of the world, setting out to plant a church, especially when you are coming out of a rather established church, most people would see you as rebellious or a breakaway. It is therefore important to communicate your intension to the people in clear terms to avoid the avoidable.
You need to let them know why you are setting out to establish the church; this will reduce confusion and controversies. You must also let the people you open up to know your plans as this would be your guide and compass as you work through the challenges that may come along the way in establishing a new church.
Another thing is in Luke 14:28, “Suppose one of you wants you build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it?” You need to be aware of the financial implication of setting up a new church and your means of financing it must be explicit. Are you financing from your purse? Is it from voluntary donation? Or any means you may have set in motion. It must be made clear.
More also, when setting up a new church, you must have this in mind, “Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things.” (Phil 4:8). What is your mission statement? Your mission statement must be in consonant with the above scripture.
Finally, you must have it at the back of your mind that the church is supposed to produce light, therefore you must ensure that your teaching creates light. Also, you must not be afraid to share the truth at all times. For your church to grow, it must minister to the socioeconomic life of the community. Your church must be part of the community and feel what they feel, connect when the need arises, rejoice with them and share in their grief. The church must not be isolated and expect exponential growth.