Around this time of year my family are gearing up on the farm to sow the winter crop of wheat, it is sowing season. Now that I’m a townie I don’t sow wheat but have kicked off this season with a team of people in planting a church in Bendigo. We pray that its growing season will see a great harvest on the last day when Jesus returns. In the meantime though, as we seek to sow the seed of the gospel in our city and region, as we plant our little church, our neighbours over the fence often ask a question I am very happy to answer: why plant another one?
Why another church in Bendigo?
Aside from the answer of “why not?” there are a whole bunch of reasons. Christ’s passion for people drove him to his death on the cross for our sin; we celebrate this at Easter, yet he is not dead. He rose to new life for our hope and it is this good news that drives us to dust off the planting gear and to start another work in our city to see people meet Jesus in the Scriptures. Our passion is for Bendigo and our region. Since the love of Christ compels us we have a passion driven purpose to plant a disciple-making and church-planting church in south-east Bendigo for the expansion of the proclamation of Christ to all people in Bendigo and beyond. This is our aim so that we keep on task with the mission of the church, Jesus mission, to make disciples of Him.
Aside from the gospel call, there are also a number of reasons that relate to just numbers. Big numbers. Our city hit 100,000 the year I moved here, 2008. The Premier at the time came to Bendigo and cut a cake and everything. We live in a big Australian regional city, that serves as a hub for our part of provincial Victoria. I know you could have told me that, but let’s just do a little number crunch. If we were to use the 10% vision that other church networks have used, with the aim of seeing 10% of Bendigonians in Christ’s church, that would be 10,000 people. So how are we going at that? This is not a jab but just a good reason to say let’s pray, plan and proclaim to see this happen and part of that plan will involve church planting.
For if we were to reach such a goal of 10,000 people in such vibrant and bible-believing churches, that would mean we would need 100 churches of 100 people each or 50 of 200 each.
For if we were to reach such a goal of 10,000 people in such vibrant and bible-believing churches, that would mean we would need 100 churches of 100 people each or 50 of 200 each. The point is, we need to plant, at least one more. It wont hurt, we pray it will help like one extra mission team in a city the size of Nineveh. Church planting is driven by prayer fueled evangelism because there are many lost and Christ came to seek and save them. We are his fellow workers in this, as Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 3:9, so now we get to work in this season of planting. As we do though, as you may ask and we reflect daily on the question (I assure you) of ‘why plant another church?’ We again and again go back to hear God’s Word on the matter in how he involves us in such seasons for his glory. ‘I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor. For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building.’ [1 Corinthians 3:6-9]