The Way Of The Disciple In Church Planting -- By: Jack Allen, Jr.

Journal: Journal for Baptist Theology & Ministry
Volume: JBTM 05:1 (Spring 2008)
Article: The Way Of The Disciple In Church Planting
Author: Jack Allen, Jr.

The Way Of The Disciple In Church Planting

Jack Allen, Jr.

Assistant Professor of Church Planting
New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary


We have a number of arguments flaring in Southern Baptist life today. It’s nothing new, and it’s not necessarily bad. We are people of strong convictions that we zealously defend for the sake of reaching people for Christ more effectively.

An important argument—to me anyway—concerns the starting of new SBC churches. The argument long since passed the point of whether or not to start churches; new churches are the bones of the Southern Baptist Convention. Church planting represents one of the hottest topics in Southern Baptist life today. Many of our leaders know that the future of our denomination depends on starting healthy, multiplying churches. Perhaps the question of when to start something gets hung up on what kind of church to start or how to get new churches to multiply.1

If so, the SBC is hung up on the wrong question. A better question concerns how to develop the type of men and women who make disciples rapidly enough to make a new church thrive.

It is my position that well-formed Christian disciples make other disciples faster than their spiritually immature peers even if the latter excel at entrepreneurial skill or raise more money. I hope to advance the argument beyond the mechanics of church planting—the doing end of things—and onto the spiritual development of the church planter—the being end.

The equipping and support of church planters is a Southern Baptist initiative that keeps its promise. Nevertheless, our program is not perfect—efforts to do better reward us. I feel ill over stories of failed church plants and disingenuous church planters. Every Baptist Association Director can recount his experience with a church plant that failed even though he picked a skillful young man to lead it and gave him plenty of money.

I want to help my partners in the field find godly men to plant healthy, multiplying churches. This paper sets out some objective criteria by which one might evaluate disciples and disciple making in local churches.

Can one find objective measurements for what it means to be a spiritually formed disciple of Jesus Christ? Does a system exist to measure disciples for church planting fitness? One hopes so. Such a system offers a gold coin of promise. One side pays the potential planter by increasing his readiness for the field. The flip side pays equippers of church planters by adding to our knowledge of what tr...

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