The speaker for this afternoon’s general session is Dr. David Doran, president of Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary and pastor of Inter-City Baptist Church.
In the morning session, Dave Doran shared one of the reasons why we are holding this year’s conference. Too often, we are simply know for what we are against rather than what we are for. Church planting is certainly something that we should be for. He said he wanted to share more about that in the afternoon’s general session.
Text: Phil 1:5
- “The only God appointed Christian society is the church.”
- The primacy of the local assembly causes me to be concerned about the pervasive influence of parachurch ministries (where the marching orders come from outside of the church) and the focus on unity and fellowship outside of the local church. For example, many assume that Jn 17 is fulfilled by having some conference with a bunch of Christians there instead of the unity being fleshed out in local assemblies. Conferences are great, but they aren’t what Jesus was praying for. The church is the primary context in which the one another’s are lived out.
- It’s easy to get along with people for a couple of days at a conference or to sign a statement together. True fellowship and unity is lived out over time within genuine relationships within the local church.
- The best kind of cooperative effort is the kind that enables us to plant churches together. Sometimes, there is a call for something “bigger” than Jesus’s call in the Great Commission. Instead, we need to think through how we can partner in fulfilling the Great Commission.
- The opposite danger is the idea that says “we have to agree on everything to work together.” This idea also hinders the effort to partner in fulfilling the Great Commission.
- If the church has no obligation outside of itself, than its standards for cooperation can be high. But too often we allow things very low on the priority structure to keep us from gospel ministry partnerships.
Gospel Ministry Partnerships
- The Philippians became partners with Paul in his ministry at Thessalonica and, thereby, participated in a cooperative effort in church planting.
- This involved at least two churches working together: The church in Antioch who sent Paul and the church in Philippi were working together in Paul’s work in Thessalonica.
- The fulfillment of the Great Commission is going to require some level of partnership among churches.
- The gospel must control our approach to these partnerships, since it is a partnership in the gospel (Phil 1:5)
- Everyone who accepts the gospel must become a servant of the Gospel (1 Thess 1:4, 6)
- You can’t believe the gospel and not participate in the announcement of it.
- Every assembly of believers that comes into existence because of Christ’s mission should become an active participant in the fulfillment of that mission.
- A church who fails in this is an unhealthy church.
What does participation in church planting look like?
- Intercession (Phil 1:19-20; 2 Cor 1:11)
- We must intercede for those who are involved in church planting. It is a divinely appointed means by which God accomplishes His purposes.
- God saves people through the preaching of the Gospel (since it is the appointed means). He also accomplishes the things we pray for, in His will, through our prayers (since they are the appointed means). The asking is connected to the receiving.
- Involvement (Phil 2:25; 4:3)
- Not merely praying, but lending a hand in the work.
- “Sharing in the struggle” (4:3) points to working side-by-side in the gospel.
- If we want to see churches planted then we must be willing to help lift the load. We need to be willing to send people to minister with and to them.
- Investment (Phil 4:15)
- Their giving and receiving is intricately tied to the work of the gospel. It provides for needs (4:15). It produces fruit (4:17). It pleases God (4:18)
- We are called to invest in frontline work, and frontline work is wherever a church is being planted.
How is our participation connected to God’s glory?
- Multiplied prayer results in multiplied praise (2 Cor 1:11)
- This is why it is important to have multiple people praying.
- Spreading grace produces spreading gratitude (2 Cor 4:15)
- Why do we want to see the gospel advance and are willing to put our hand to the plow? Because we want to see more people giving God glory.
- Generous provision produces generous praise and prayer (2 Cor 9:14)
- As believers take of the resources that God has provided and send them to support gospel efforts, those who come to Christ through those efforts praise God and pray for those who sent the resources.
- I have always had a desire to see healthy churches started, and by God’s grace the Lord has allowed our church to be involved in several churches being started.
- My particular burden is for southeast Michigan and Detroit, since this is my home. (Though I recognize it is God’s job to burden men to plant churches in the areas they choose).
- In the remaining time of my ministry, I would really love to see churches network to produce a church-planting effort in our area of over 5 million people. There are enormous opportunities for the advance of the gospel. In particular, the city of Detroit has been abandoned by gospel preaching churches.
- Here’s the idea I want to toss out (I’m not trying to control or run anything, but simply to propose an idea). Grace Baptist Fellowship: a fellowship of Baptist pastor who share a desire to see God’s glorified through church planting efforts in southeast Michigan. This would be composed of those who share:
o A confidence in the sovereign grace of God which saves and sanctifies
o A commitment to spreading grace through the proclamation of the gospel and the establishment of churches.
o A willingness to show grace that allows room with some differences in regard to convictions in the application of these truths to the Christian life and local church ministry. Each individual sending church would show leadership in these areas.
- What would need to happen
o An expedited support process for church planting methods. This could be accomplished by an organized network of churches with a credible training process.
o A willingness to work together and not simply seek our own interests.
- · What should you do
o Pray for church planters, wisdom, and the gospel to go forth.
o Talk—talk through dynamics involved in this kind of partnership.
o Act—decide what the best course of action forward.