“Let each of you look not only to his own interests but also to the interests of others.” Philippians 2:4
This year Uptown Church will plant its next daughter church and the fifth church in the Charlotte area. As so many know at Uptown, planting a daughter church is a labor of love as Uptown gives away people, money, leadership talent and so many other intangible things that are required to plant a healthy church. While that labor of love is exciting, it is also, at times, hard to swallow. Friends and co-laborers in the church often leave with one of the plants. The mother church can feel the holes left by those who are sent. Change in relationship and church community is one of the hardest things in our life together.
For those who are new to Uptown in the last few years, or for those who have been around to see churches birthed, it is useful to consider why we do this thing called daughter church planting – why we give some of our best assets away to a start a new church. I would point your attention to Paul in Philippians 2. In that text, the apostle talks about what it means to do ministry and life together in church – and in mission. He speaks of the importance of unity “being in full accord and of one mind.” He speaks of having the mind of Christ in servanthood. But tucked in those verses, he also talks about looking “not only to [your] own interests but also to the interests of others.” The very heart of church planting is loving our lost and Christian neighbors by looking out for their interests above our own – where they live. Planting churches is a corporate form of Christ-like love that is generous and even sacrificial for the good of others. Growing and changing communities like Ballantyne are often unchurched or under-churched with gospel preaching churches. Love for a city means giving sacrificially for their spiritual interests in the form of a church plant.
There are even greater reasons to engage in the business of sending daughter churches. Giving results in great gain. Church planting reproduces at least five benefits for Christ’s kingdom – and even for Uptown. Indeed, so much kingdom fruit comes out of church planting that you just may find it is the best long term kingdom investment God has given us. Here are the typical fruits of loving through church planting:
- More glory for Christ among the peoples – Plain and simple, church planting multiplies worship in communities and neighborhoods through God’s people gathering to proclaim the name of Christ. God is glorified with a new worshipping presence in communities that need the gospel and who need to learn their chief end. (see Westminster Shorter Catechism 1)
- More new Christians – As one missiologist has said, church planting is the most effective long-term means of evangelizing the lost that we know of. Generally speaking, church plants tend to be more open, evangelistic and motivated to do outreach than more established churches. Want to evangelize a community that desperately needs the gospel? Plant an outward-facing church.
- More leaders for the Kingdom – Church plants tend to reproduce new leaders such as elders, deacons, and staff who may not have risen to such positions in the mother church. In an age where spiritual leadership is at a dearth, church planting provides new opportunities for men and women to step up and lead God’s people.
- More mercy and mission – Church planting also reproduces more mission and mercy initiatives locally and around the world. If you love to see the gospel go out around the world – give to international missions and plant a local church which will do more missions with your church!
- More kingdom resources – The great challenge of our time is that our vision for expanding the kingdom often exceeds our pocketbook. If you want to grow the number of financial resources to build the kingdom locally, nationally and internationally, plant churches. Over the long haul, three churches of 500 will likely give far more resources to kingdom work than one church of 1500. If daughter churches plant daughter churches, those resources begin to grow exponentially.
In short, church planting is a great way to love our regional neighbors and is a great long-term investment for the kingdom of God. In the coming months, the Ballantyne church plant will be starting to love and invest in our neighbors with social gatherings, prayer gatherings, a Sunday School vision and equipping time from March to June and various outreach initiatives. If you are interested in hearing more about God’s new work and the vision of the plant, I would be honored to meet with you and your family and pray about the future. If God has called you to stay put at Uptown, please pray for Elizabeth and me, as well as the many challenges that lie ahead for us and for Uptown. The Lord is stirring up interest in this new work. The opportunity for a Christ-centered, gospel-oriented church is great. Thanks be to God Uptown has loved well and invested well so that Charlotte is hearing and will hear the name of Christ for generations to come.
Author: Rev. Dean Faulkner