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"Churches Plant Churches"
The Principles of the Cell Churches - Thoughts and Ideas

This is the slogan which I hear in various Christian circles quite frequently. It's true that it sounds quite reasonable but somehow I can't find it in the Bible. And from practical observation over the past 20 years or more in the Czech Republic I think that waiting for churches to plant other churches has formed a hindrance to more active development of the Kingdom of God in our country. You see, practical experience shows that contemporary Christian churches in this country aren't prepared to do something like that. Some don't have a vision for it and don't even think about anything like that. Some churches speak about it but aren't prepared for it as regards people: they don't have anyone they'd like to send out. In fact most of them aren't even prepared for it methodically: they don't know how to do it.
The church in Antioch is sometimes used as a Biblical example: It sent Barnabas and Paul out as instructed by the Holy Spirit. (Acts 13). Paul and Barnabas set out and shared the good news about the Lord Jesus as they went. New small fellowships sprung up in various places as a natural effect of their activities and of the Holy Spirit's work. But of course the church in Antioch did not plant these new fellowships. Paul and Barnabas did. This was the mission to which Jesus called this little team and even other teams. We can guess that the believers in Antioch prayed for Paul and Barnabas continually, maybe they even supported them financially and were very glad to hear the stories of what the Lord did through them when they returned (Acts 14:26-28). But it certainly cannot be said that the church in Antioch planted new churches.
One can't even say that the church in Jerusalem planted, for example, the church in Antioch. The latter was a result of an individual and to some extent unrestrained ministry of believers who fled from persecution in Jerusalem (Acts 11,19-23). Individuals who were obedient to the Jesus' Great Commission simple did what they were meant to do and so more people came to faith, naturally leading to the birth of new fellowships. The witnesses didn't have any qualification other than that of their own conversion. It happened quite uncontrollably. Barnabas was sent to Antioch later, when the believers in Jerusalem heard about what had already happened: that many people had come to faith... So in the Bible we don't see anything about institutionalised churches creating new fellowships.
I don't mean that churches should not plant new churches. Quite the opposite! We bless those who think and talk about it and much more those who actually do it! But, Biblically speaking, there is no condition that a new local church has to be planted by another local church (or denomination). It's either planted by people with the apostolic call who are working strategically to win new people for the Lord, with new fellowships as a natural result (as Barnabas and Paul and later, other teams) or it is spontaneously founded by believers whose experience of friendship with the living Lord is attractive even to the surrounding non-believers (as was maybe the case in Antioch)...
So where do you belong? To a church which sends people out? To a team which is sent? Or among the Lord Jesus' normal healthy followers who are infectious and around whom new fellowships spontaneously come into being?
Pavel V. (Translation Andy G.)