Church planting is not the goal of the great commission or of missions. Unfortunately many evangelical missionaries think that church planting as what the Apostle Paul´s missionary objective was. To leave an indigenous church is the apostolic goal they would say! That´s what I always used to say! But now I would say yes and no.
Paul doesn´t even mention it as a final goal. He says in his epistle to the Romans chapter 1 verse 5 : “By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name.” The goal was obedience to the faith among all nations (panta ta ethne). So we are are talking about 1) total discipleship (individual and familial obedience) and 2) a renewed and more biblical and kingdom oriented understanding of the great commission. 3) Apostolic spirituality is necessary if we want apostolic results. Apostolic praying and living will be necessary. Church planting is always going to be a vital part of the great commission process but it comes tragically far from completing the great commission. A minimum missionological breakthrough a good preliminary objective in the process of discipling a nation but like winning souls it comes tragically far from completing the Great Commission. Both church planting and winning souls are vital aspects but we need to go well beyond that if we are truly to disciple the nations.
Download the Mission Magazine This is the March – April edition of 2011 of Mission Frontiers on Church Planting