By: Teresa De cuesta García
The planting of churches drives the expansion of the kingdom of God. When we plant churches, we are a part of the fulfillment of God’s mission: the redemption of humanity.
Church planting is similar to the cycle of sowing and reaping: the sower looks for an empty field, prepares the soil, fertilizes the land, begins with the plow and then sows. Once he has sown, he begins to water the seed and seeks its growth so that it can be harvested. When the time comes, the farmer goes to his field, collects the fruit of the harvest and takes it to his barn. There he gathers the new seeds for the next planting season.
The process of church planting involves evangelism, discipleship of new believers, and training of church leaders. Another way to introduce you to church planting is through the following four fields.
- The Empty Field
This field refers to those people who have not accepted Jesus as their Savior. Just as a sower looks for an empty field where to plant his seeds, we also look for people or families without God in their hearts.
The first step to finding an empty field is observation: walking through neighborhoods and communities, looking around and talking with people, asking for God’s direction to look with spiritual eyes, and dreaming of the harvest of souls that is possible in that place. In this step we also have to pray to ask the Lord of the work to help us understand the vision he has for that place.
How do you enter an empty field? (Luke 10:1-11)
Prayer is the main answer to this question. We need to seek the direction of the Holy Spirit to identify the condition of the field, but also to identify the “persons of peace.” These are the people who will lead us to others, who will be the 21st century Samaritan woman.
2.- The Sown Field
After having consulted and received guidance from the Lord of the work (Mark 4:26-29), we can then spread seed.
We can sow seeds by sharing our personal testimonies, as many would guess. However, it will be important to prepare your testimony using the following components:
1. What my life was like before I met Jesus (we don’t have to emphasize this part much).
2. How I met Christ.
3. How my life is now after meeting Jesus.
4. Biblical verse to support the testimony.
5. End with: Has something like this ever happened to you? Would you like to experience the same thing that I have experienced?
After you have told your testimony, it is time to tell the story of Jesus, the story of the cross that brings salvation to humanity. For this point, different methods can be used: the Roman Road based on 7 biblical quotes, the story of John, or others, for example.
3.-The Growing Field
The most critical time for a plant is just after the seed breaks the soil. Its root system is immature, and too much sun and too little water can cause it to dry out and die. On the other hand, too much rain can wash away or completely clean the soil and uproot the seed. During this stage, young plants need close observation and intensive care.
In Matthew 13, Jesus warns that new converts need special care and attention; they need to be sown in good soil. This means that we have to invest all the time that is necessary so that their faith can be based on the Word of God. Our responsibility in this process is to observe and nurture new believers and invest our time and energy, cultivating their hearts and preparing them to produce the most abundant harvest possible.
Acts 2:38-42 gives us some basic components of a healthy, growing body:
The Lord’s Supper
The love of our neighbors
The act of giving
4.-The Harvest Field
When the time comes, the farmer goes to the field, gathers the fruits of his harvest and takes them to his barn. There, he selects new seeds for the new sowing season – more seeds than at the beginning, so that his harvest will be greater each year.
New believers grow in Christ through discipleship, and they will grow into workers, leaders, pastors, missionaries, etc. That is why this step begins with a deeper study of the Scriptures, or solid food. It also begins with leadership development. It is necessary to identify people with potential and with the call of God to serve in different ministries. Consider three vital dimensions as you choose leaders: personality, ability and maturity.
Through mentoring we can help believers discover their gifts and abilities, and we can encourage them to discover what God’s calling is on their lives.
Multiplication of the harvest
This is the last step, or the end result of the cycle of the four fields.The very resources for church multiplication are in the harvest. Every believer must be a disciple. “Every home of a disciple can be a church. And every church should be a training center.”
Churches planted effectively will reproduce, but it is important that from the beginning each member unwaveringly remembers the objective. In other words, it is essential to sow in them the DNA of the Great Commission.