Why Plant Churches?

From the very beginning of Riverside Community Church, we wanted to not merely plant a church, but to establish a church-planting church in Columbia.  Why?

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Let me ask you this question: what should Christians be doing in the world?  Helping the homeless?  Feeding the hungry?  Caring for the orphan and widow…or the shut-in, or the young man dying of AIDS, or the child caught in sex trafficking? Disaster relief? Mentoring at-risk children? Engaging the social and economic machinery of our city and nation for the common good?  Or should we be evangelizing the unchurched of our city?  Engaging in thoughtful apologetics on college campuses? Making disciples among high school students?  Developing new leaders for the next generation?  Sending missionaries into the 10/40 window?

The answer, of course, is yes!  We are called to make disciples who obey Jesus in everything – and so have an incalculable impact on the world around them.

And who does this?  Churches do.  That is to say, the people of God, as they are profoundly shaped in their life together by the gospel of Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit. As Tim Keller has elsewhere conveniently summarized, planting new churches is the primary way God’s mission is fulfilled in the world.  There’s a reason church-planting is, as missions expert C. Peter Wagner famously observed, “the single most effective evangelistic methodology under heaven.” It’s God’s methodology.  For this reason, we proudly embrace both the Acts 29 mission to “plant new churches and replant dead and dying churches around the world,” and our denomination’s mission to “glorify God by multiplying transformational churches among all peoples.”  Through the gospel-shaped and gospel-driven church, God is changing the world.

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This is why we at Riverside Community Church have a church-planting residency.   This is why we are so excited about the Willsons, aiming to plant in Manchester, England, and the Greers, gearing up to plant in northeast Columbia in 2015.   This is why we’re excited about Chad and Kari Escue starting another residency next year at Immanuel, a sister Acts 29 church in Nashville, TN, with the goal of planting in that city.  This is why we are so involved in our regional network, Acts 29 Carolinas.  This is why we formed Carolina Greenhouse, and why we’re hosting such events as the Grassroots Gospel Conference.

This is why were so excited about you, Riverside family, because YOU are the church that changes the world.  We can’t plant or renew effective churches without all of us being on mission together.  By God’s grace, then, let’s be the church in honor of Christ who sends us!  By God’s Spirit, let’s thrive as the church for Columbia’s good!  And by God’s power, let’s plant new churches everywhere for the glory of God!

If you’re interested in learning more about church-planting, or about gospel ministry in the South, join us for the Acts 29 Grassroots Gospel Conference in Charleston on Oct.25th.

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Saturday, October 25 in Charleston, SC.
9:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Price: $29 ($19 for students)

This is an Acts 29 Carolinas Network Regional Event focused on training and networking for planters and pastors in the Carolinas. All are welcome to come.

The great southern author Flannery O’Connor famously observed, “while the South is hardly Christ-centered, it is most certainly Christ-haunted.”  But what would happen to our “over-churched, under-gospeled” landscape if a new generation of men planted gospel-centered churches that thrive in our context?

 

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