In my first blog “Reproducing Grace: A Church Planting Movement” I posed a question: “Why is church planting so important to the free grace movement?” I gave this brief answer: “When a group of believers gets together because the Spirit is leading them to share the free grace message with others and gather them together, more people experience the freedom of God’s grace and they can be discipled to reproduce grace. In this way, though not the only way, the free grace message is spread.”
While the spread and multiplication of Free Grace into a new region is the main reason a Free Grace church should plant or sponsor church plants, it is not the only reason. There are many benefits of a Free Grace church planting other churches.
New churches grow faster than existing ones. Why? Because new churches focus on outreach and evangelism. Statistically, new churches lead far more people to Christ than existing churches. Existing churches usually have a variety of activities going on, and evangelism becomes a lower priority. With a church plant, evangelism is the main thing being done, so people come to Christ and the church grows. Another reason church plants grow faster is they are more noticeable then existing churches. A new church in a town attracts more attention then an existing church. New believers feel like they fit in better in a new church (rather than being the “new guy” and trying to figure out what everyone else in the church already seems to know) and new believers have many new contacts that can be evangelized and brought in to the new church. Most people come to Christ and in to church because a friend invited them. Each new believer is an open door to more unbelievers that can be reached for Christ. Through faithful contact and follow up a new church can grow very rapidly.
Another benefit of Free Grace churches sponsoring church plants is that it can bring excitement and vitality to the sponsoring church. People love being a part of a church that is on mission. A sponsoring church can grow in number as the community sees the vison the sponsoring church has for carrying out the Great Commission and want to be part of it. The relationship between members of the sponsoring church can grow as they serve together helping with the church plant. Their focus is on their daughter church and the fellowship they are having helping the daughter church reach the lost. Sponsoring a daughter church helps develop leaders in the sponsoring church.
Church plants that are planted by an existing church have a better survival rate. The sponsoring church can give manpower to the church plant. If the church plant starts out on a non-Sunday meeting schedule, the sponsoring church can help out with people filling roles including worship leader, nursery and children’s teachers, youth teachers, outreach event volunteers, evangelism, setting up chairs and whatever else is needed. The sponsoring church can help by supplying equipment and supplies such as sound system, microphones they don’t use any more, folding chairs, bibles, projectors, screens, VBS and Sunday school material, etc. The sponsoring church also helps bring accountability to the church plant regarding its operation and use of resources. The sponsoring church can also help the church plant with policies, and offer advice and assistance in incorporation to become a self-sustaining church. Church plants that are planted from a sponsoring church are much better off in the long run.
Last, but definitely not least, is it is more affordable for an existing church to plant other churches than for a fulltime church planter to do it alone from the ground up. Why? Because a church that uses its own members to start a church needs very little money to start. Then, once there is a member base built up, a pastor/elder can be hired.
This is why Free Grace churches should sponsor church plants.