Biblical Church Planting / by David Campbell

There are 4 types or models of biblical church planting [although I could argue there is likely only 2 types] (adapting a LOT from Roland Allen's "Missionary Methods: St. Paul's or Ours?). The Jerusalem Model - This takes it's name from the fact that it was started in Jerusalem (Acts 2:14-8:3). Peter preached his sermon in Acts 2 and the church took on an expression there in Jerusalem. When persecution arose and people began to spread out, they took the 'church' with them. They had already a concept of the church and they just took it to another place. Those engaging in this model experienced 'church life' before they started the new local assembly. When I read the book of Acts I see the first church as spontaneous and the others seemed to be the Lord forcing the spreading. The purpose in relocating was NOT to start a church but was rather for other issues. I call this passive church planting. The churches sprang up spontaneously and rapidly by default.

The Antioch Model - This is the principle way that churches were planted in the first century (Acts 13:1-20:38). Missionary workers were sent from a local body and they went to a town and the preached Christ. They did not preach adherence to a set of doctrines or experiences, but rather they preached Jesus Christ as Lord and them as their servants. That is a pretty interesting message, no? "Excuse me but you have a new master and He has sent me to be your servant. You have been adopted by a King, He has absolute rights over you. He commands immediate child like obedience from you, but do not worry because He has given me to you to be a servant." The churches were planted rapidly and Paul left them in their infancy.

The Ephesian Model - We call this the Ephesian model because it was spoken of by the Lord in Acts 19 when Paul rented the Hall of Tyrannus. In Ephesus, Paul taught a select group of guys who planted regionally from 11am - 4pm daily for two years. The issue I have with calling this a 'model' is that it seems that Paul taught them, in essence the "Antioch Model." It would almost be as though this was an effective manner of teaching rapid church planting. Yet even though Paul was in Ephesus for 2 years, the church sprang up rapidly as did many the churches of those sent out from his CPM school.

The Roman Model - This one is a bit tricky in that chapter 16 of the book of Romans indicates that Paul was familiar with the people in Rome but had not been there yet. So this look like a more purposeful version of the Jerusalem model in which people were sent to Rome with the purpose of planting a church. Again, if a church relocates then it is obvious that springs up spontaneously.

In all biblical examples:

Jesus was the functional and practical leader of the local expression of the church. The local expression was either founded in another city and therefore already existed or sprang up spontaneously. Church planters were not the pastor/shepherds, they were appointed by recognizing who was already serving that function. Church planters appeared to play a role in rooting out weeds, settling disputes, and delivering warnings. Much like a farmer fosters the environment is conducive to natural growth.