Every church a parent
or a partner
Drost, director of church planting for the Assemblies of God,
recently spoke with Associate Editor Kirk Noonan about an innovative
campaign that could change the course of the Assemblies of God.
This campaign was authorized by General Superintendent Thomas
E. Trask and the Executive Presbytery during their last session
You’re calling every church to get involved with church
planting. Tell us about that.
The “Every Church a Parent or a Partner” campaign
aims to have every Assemblies of God church plant a church, partner
with other churches to plant, or help an existing church that
needs assistance to get back on its feet. We want churches to
help other churches so that we can reach many more people with
the gospel. This strategy is a paradigm shift for us.
PE: How so?
The Assemblies of God has always been marked by growth and evangelism,
but with that has come a mentality of being rugged individualists.
Our new focus will ask local church leaders and their congregations
to expand their ministry horizons and help a budding congregation.
Historically what has
happened is that a church would be planted and then it would be
grown as large as possible. But the DNA that was lacking was a
philosophy of multiplication, which would have empowered thriving
church plants to plant new churches themselves.
That makes sense because a church that was planted is filled with
people who know all about church planting.
Exactly. I believe it’s God’s will for our churches
to be multiplying. The Fellowship’s preamble talks about
the reasons the Assemblies of God came into existence. Part of
that document says we exist to do missionary work at home and
abroad. The ‘at home’ part means planting new churches.
In effect, we are going back to our roots with this campaign.
PE: How can laypeople
They can pray, give finances, volunteer at a church plant or encourage
their pastor to support a new church plant in their district.
PE: Can any size
church plant a church?
Smaller churches might not be able to plant another church on
their own, but they could partner with a church plant and provide
prayer and finances. The point is, no matter how big or small
a church is, it can have a part in planting another church.
PE: What are the
ingredients for a strong and healthy church plant?
The healthiest church plants have been mothered by a good strong
church. It’s similar to a person being born into a loving,
nurturing family versus a family where the person’s basic
needs are provided but there is no love or nurturing.
Might every church that is planted wind up being an exact replica
of the church that planted it?
A replica isn’t necessarily a bad thing if the church that
did the planting is a healthy church. But church plants naturally
take on a personality of their own and find their own niche, worship
style and way of doing things. This opens the door for much diversity
in our Fellowship. Recently, we had a traditional church help
plant a contemporary church and now both churches are thriving.
PE: What are some
other benefits of churches planting other churches?
The harvest is greater. A friend of mine who has a church of 8,000
worshipers and has planted several churches told me that it’s
very simple: “We plant more so we can reap more.”
The more points of preaching and receptors you have, the more
likely people are going to accept Christ as Savior. And that is
the best reason to plant churches.
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