Now consider another question for a moment. How are we doing in this process of church planting? Read more

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Baptist Church Planting Ministry believes that new churches should be reproduced by a local church and not by a church planter. What we mean by this is that local churches should take an active role in the church planting process and not just a passive role. We believe that every decision should be finalized by the pastor of the reproducing church and not by the one pastoring the new church or by anyone else. This includes Baptist Church Planting Ministry. Whenever we get involved in helping a church reproduce a new church, one of the first things we discuss is who will make all final decisions. We believe that should be done by the pastor of the reproducing church and no one else. This does not mean that the one pastoring the new church or anyone else in the ministry does not have involvement. Everyone is involved; it simply means that since the church is reproducing the church, the pastor of that church should make all final decisions.


This philosophy is wonderful to believe, but how does it stand the test of the Word of God? It is important to examine this philosophy in light of the Scriptures.



Ephesians 5:28-32

First of all, we believe our initial premise that churches should reproduce churches is biblical because the church is a living organism, not an organization. Ephesians 5:28-32 makes it clear that the relationship between Christ and the church is compared to the relationship between a husband and wife. In 1 Corinthians 12, the church is mentioned as a body. Revelation 22: 17, the church is called the “bride.” These verses clearly indicate the church is a living organism.



Genesis 1

Secondly, we believe our initial premise that churches should reproduce churches is biblical because every living organism reproduces “after its kind.” Since the church is a living organism, churches should reproduce churches. In Genesis 1, we find verse after verse talking about living organisms reproducing after their kind. Should the church be exempt from reproducing “after their kind”? We do not think so. Some have tried to say that churches reproduce churches when they send out a missionary to plant a new church. How many organisms reproduce without the active involvement of the parent? Some will say that this eliminates “pioneer church planting,” but we do not believe it does. We believe there are times when a pioneer work needs to be done, but much of the church planting today does not need to be done independently of local churches in the area. The main reason it is done is because the church planter or some other organization wants the control and final authority rather than allowing the local church to fulfill her role in reproducing the new church.


When a new church is reproduced, it should be similar to the reproducing church. It does not mean that it will be exactly like the reproducing church. No child is exactly like his parents. He is similar or “after their kind,” but is distinctively different from the parents in many ways. New churches take on the personality of the pastor and the people that attend the new church. Some may give the new church the same name as the reproducing church. This happens in homes as well. We all know children that are named after the father, but it does not mean that it must be so.



Matthew 28:16-20

We believe our initial premise that churches should reproduce churches is biblical because the Great Commission is given to the local church to fulfill. In Matthew 28:16-20, it is true that Jesus was talking with His disciples when He gave the commandment to reach this world with the gospel. If He were just giving this to the disciples, then we would not be responsible for the fulfilling of the Great Commission. The disciples are long gone, but we still have the responsibility of reaching this world with the gospel. Some will conclude it is given to individuals to fulfill. We do not believe that individuals have the right to baptize outside the local church. It is an ordinance of the local church and therefore baptism should take place within the confines of the local church. The Great Commission was given to the local church and therefore it is the responsibility of the local church to fulfill it. The Great Commission is not given to church planters, to mission boards, or to any other organization. It is given to the local church.



Matthew 28:18- 20

We believe our initial premise that churches should reproduce churches is biblical because the Great Commission is church planting. We have said many times that the Great Commission is not soul-winning and it is not. Soul-winning is only one third of the Great Commission. According to Matthew 28: 19-20, the Great Commission is evangelize, “teach all nations,” baptize, “baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost,” and mobilize, “teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.” This is church planting and nothing short of it. The Great Commission is given to the local church to carry out and implement in reaching this world for Christ.


Many churches believe that they can effectively minister a great distance from their local church. They run bus routes as much as thirty miles and more from the local church to bring people to the services. It is wonderful to evangelize these people and win them to Christ. Many of these are also baptized in the local church. This too is commendable, but is still short of fulfilling the Great Commission. We are to “teach them to observer all things” and this can only be done as people are faithful to the local church every time the door is open. When someone lives too far from the local church, they cannot be as faithful as they should be. Therefore, the third part of the Great Commission cannot be fulfilled. The only way to fulfill the Great Commission is to plant a church in the community where these people live so they can attend every service and grow.



Acts 1:8

We believe our initial premise that churches should reproduce churches is biblical because Christ gave the local church the area to reach with the Great Commission when we are told in Acts 1:8 that we are to go into Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, and the uttermost parts of the earth. The Jerusalem church fulfilled this, even though God had to bring about persecution to the church in Jerusalem to carry it out. In Acts 1:8, God scattered the believers in the Jerusalem church into Judea and Samaria by persecution that was brought upon the church. Please notice that only the believers were scattered, not the apostles. In Acts 8:4, they went everywhere preaching the Word. The result of this preaching and dispersion was the reproducing of churches throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria as we see in Acts 9:31. You will also note that the churches were multiplied. This clearly indicates that many churches were reproduced by laymen from the Jerusalem church.


In Acts 11: 19, we find these same believers traveling to Phenice, Cyprus, and Antioch where they were now able to preach to the Gentiles. This indicates that the church in Jerusalem developed a philosophy of ministry that included the reproducing of local churches. These laymen were now going out on purpose to reproduce churches. You will also note that the first pastor of this church was Barnabas and he was sent to pastor this church from Jerusalem and by the leadership of the Jerusalem church (Acts 11:22). Thus, the Jerusalem church was responsible for the pastor of the church. He then found Paul and the two of them pastored this church for more than a year prior to their first missionary journey (Acts 11:26). From this church, we have the great mission outreach of the Apostle Paul bringing the gospel to the regions beyond. This clearly indicates that the church at Jerusalem took an active role in reproducing churches.



Some have suggested that we place too much emphasis on the local church when we get involved in reproducing a new church. We will allow you to draw your own conclusion on this matter. However, we believe just the opposite. We do not think one can give enough emphasis to the

local church in this matter of reproducing churches. It is not the responsibility of the church planter to plant a church. It is not the responsibility of mission boards to plant churches. It is the responsibility of local churches to reproduce churches, and BCPM will do all we can to help the local church fulfill her responsibility in reproducing churches. We believe the Bible backs up our philosophy of churches reproducing churches.

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Since we believe that churches reproduce churches and that the responsibility of reproducing a new church rests on local churches and not the church planter or mission agencies, we need to define the role of the pastor of the reproducing church. The reason for this is because God has placed the pastor as the under shepherd of the church and is accountable to God for the direction of the local church.

The local church, as a living organism, is to reproduce just like every other living organism. This reproduction process needs to be controlled by the pastor of the church. When Baptist Church Planting Ministry gets involved in a project, the ultimate control of the project belongs to the pastor of the church that is reproducing the new church. In order for pastors to fulfill the role of being a reproducing pastor, they need to understand what responsibilities are involved.


First of all, the pastor of the reproducing church is responsible for approving the pastor of the new church. Since the reproduced church is going to be similar to the reproducing church, the pastor needs to make sure the new pastor is compatible with the philosophy of the reproducing church. He needs to spend a great deal of time with the new pastor to check out his doctrine, his philosophy of ministry, and his attitude as a follower.

The best way for this to be done is an internship program where the new pastor comes into the existing church and spends at least six months to a year working with the reproducing church. This gives not only the pastor but also the congregation the opportunity to get to know this new pastor, his family, and his philosophy of ministry. They will be much more willing to help this man if they have spent time with him and learned to love him and his family. They will do a great deal more for someone they have learned to love and trust rather than someone they have just met.

The pastor of the reproducing church must develop a deep relationship with this new pastor. He needs to determine if he can be trusted and what kind of job he will do as a new pastor. He should be willing to face problems head on rather than hoping they will go away or that they are not serious enough to cause problems in the new church. If there are warning signs during this period there will be problems when he is pastoring the new church. The new pastor should show he is willing to trust the leadership of the reproducing pastor and demonstrate he is to follow his leadership. When the week of meetings is finished and the new church is completely independent of the reproducing church, the new pastor will still need the advice, wisdom, and experience of the reproducing pastor. The best way for this to be developed is for these men to have a close working relationship before the new church is reproduced.

In the end, the pastor determines if this new man can pastor the church that their church will reproduce. He will be held responsible to God for placing this man in a leadership position.


The pastor also should be the one who is ultimately responsible for determining where the new church should be located. He has a better understanding of his “Judea and Samaria” than anyone else. He knows of towns where there are no good fundamental churches and where one could be located that would meet the spiritual needs of a nearby community. Most pastors that I know have a real burden to reach beyond their “Jerusalem” and want to see new churches established that could help them reach their entire area. Sadly, some pastors do not want a church too close to them because they are afraid some of their members will go to the new church. These pastors fail to see that God will bless their ministries greatly if they will get involved in reaching beyond where they can effectively minister.

In one situation in which I was involved, the church planter had determined where he wanted to plant a church but the pastor of the reproducing church had a burden for another area. When he realized the final decision rested upon him, they went to the new area to plant the church rather than the one the church planter had decided upon. The church planter believed in the philosophy that churches reproduce churches and was willing to allow the pastor to make this decision. It proved to be the right decision.


Since we believe churches reproduce churches, the pastor must fulfill the role of an overseer. He is responsible for the direction of the church and the church is responsible for the birth of the new church.

The pastor is fully involved in the ministry of the Word, the discipling his people, and taking care of his flock. This is his first and foremost responsibility. He does not need to do the legwork for the new church but he should be sure that those who do the work report to him on how the project is developing.

The pastor has the experience to determine what needs to be done in the new area. He has the experience that the new pastor or others involved in the project do not have. He has lived in the area, knows the people, and knows the differences in culture that new comers do not know. He should approve the buildings used for the project. He should make the final decisions regarding advertising, the distribution of the John and Romans booklets, and when the week of meetings should be held.

These decisions are not made independently of others involved in the project but in conjunction with them. He takes into consideration all the factors involved and makes the final decision. Someone must be the final decision-maker for the project and since we believe the church reproduces the new church that responsibility falls to the pastor of the reproducing church. BCPM and the pastor of the new church can give advice but the pastor ultimately makes the decision and everyone else involved in the project accepts the decisions he makes.


Like the birth of a baby into a family, the birth of a church takes a good deal of money. A budget should be set up to cover the costs for the new church. This would include the rental of a building for the week of meetings, the meeting place for the new church, the newspaper advertising, the cost of the John and Romans, any shipping costs involved with the John and Romans, costs for distributing the John and Romans, and any other costs involved in the reproducing of the new church. The expenses are different in every area and for every project.

Once the budget is developed, the pastor should make any changes to the budget either adding or reducing costs, as he considers prudent. One consideration that must be made is not to cut the budget short to save money. If the project is worth doing, it is worth doing right. It is not necessary to over spend either. The budget should be discussed between all the parties involved in order to determine the best budget for reaching the new community.

After the pastor approves the budget, it should be adhered to by all involved in the project. No one should go over the budget unless the pastor specifically approves it. The reproducing church should feel responsible for meeting this budget and develop a system of paying for the project. Not all churches can handle this alone and many times churches helping with the project take love offerings and present it to the new church during the week of meetings. Some reproducing churches include the project in their mission’s budget and cover the expenses entirely. When this happens, the offering during the week of meetings can go for something for the new church. Some offerings have been taken for chairs, for a down payment for land, and for a piano. It is impressive to those visiting when it can be announced that the expenses for the starting of the new church have been covered and that an offering is being used for something special for the new church.

The expenses for a new church should not be left to the church planter or for the new church to pay. No parents would expect their newborn babies to pay the hospital expenses for their birth and neither should local churches expect a “newborn” church to cover the expenses for her birth. The pastor of the reproducing church should consider this the responsibility of the reproducing church and make whatever arrangements need to be made to cover the costs for the planting of the church.


The new church is going to be similar to the reproducing church. Because of this, the pastor should determine which churches will be “showcased” during the week of meetings. During the meetings, churches are used to show what the new church is going to be like. They demonstrate music, appropriate dress standards, the spirit and tone for the new church, and credibility for the new pastor. This means that the churches should be similar in practice and doctrine to the reproducing church. The pastor will know which churches in the area are best suited to meet this need. For example, if there are churches that are weaker than the reproducing church in the area of music, the pastor would not use them to bring musical groups. If the new church is in an area where people do not shout during the service, a pastor would not want to invite a church that would give that image.

Only the pastor of the reproducing church will know which churches fit the style and personality that he is trying to portray and therefore, he has the responsibility of determining which churches he would like to attend. This is not to reproduce the idiosyncrasies of any church but to reproduce a church that will fit the culture of the area while honoring Christ in every aspect of the church service. Only the pastor of the reproducing church can fully understand and know which churches will enhance the effectiveness of the week of meetings.


The pastor of the reproducing church should be sure that there are no conflicts with other activities on the church schedule. When children are born into our personal families, we make sure nothing is going to conflict with the birth of the newborn child. Why should this be any different? This is certainly as important as the birth of children into our families.

The calendar of the church should reflect the priority given to this project of the local church. There should be no special church meetings during or even two weeks prior to the week of meetings for the new church. The church family should be encouraged to keep their schedules clear as well. Time is needed for the distribution of the John and Romans prior to week of meetings and the reproducing church should allow members of their church the opportunity to be at the week of meetings every night they can. This is especially true when there is ample seating room in the building for the week of meetings.

The reproducing church should take the Sunday and Wednesday evening services during the week of meetings. The other churches helping during the week will be less likely to have folks away from their churches on those nights. The pastor of the reproducing church should do his best to be at the services every night of the week of meetings. This is especially important for the visitors that attend during the week. His presence tells them that this meeting is very special and that the new pastor is special too. He should make it a point to visit with every visitor from the area telling them how much he appreciates and supports the new pastor. This could make a difference in whether they will attend the new church and support the new pastor.

He should especially be in the services on the final night when the new pastor is preaching. On this evening, he can introduce the new pastor and formally turn the new work over to the pastor. This is the actual birth of the new church and the new work becomes an independent Baptist church at that point. The final service can be a very special time for the reproducing church and the new church. It is a memory that everyone will remember for a long time. It establishes a special relationship between the two churches that nothing else can.


In essence, the pastor of the reproducing church is fully responsible for the final decisions in the church planting process. Since we believe that the church is responsible for the reproducing of the new church, then the pastor must make all the final decisions for the project. The wise church planter will be willing to let the pastor fulfill this role. The wise pastor will be willing to assume this role. No pastor who accepts this responsibility does so without understanding the implications of it. He is determining the direction of the new church and the success and failure of the ministry. He should give careful consideration to the advice of others involved in the project. This would include the church planter, BCPM, and other pastors from the area. After gleaning all the information from various sources, the pastor must make the final decision. Others involved in the project would also be wise to submit to his leadership understanding that he will answer to God for the decisions he makes. If they cannot live with his decisions, then they should quietly withdraw themselves from the project.

Following the week of meetings, the new church is a fully independent church with no ties to the reproducing church. The reproducing pastor and other pastors in the area that have helped with the week of meetings only serve in an advisory capacity. The wise church planter will see he needs their experience and wisdom. He should avail himself to their help as he pastors the new church. The reproducing pastor will not force his advice or will on the new pastor but is very willing to help when asked. His authority over the new church ended when the week of meetings ended and the “cord was cut” creating a breathing, living organism This organism is a new local church that has a pastor to lead them and guide them.


The role of the reproducing pastor is a very important role. For the new church to succeed and get off to the best start possible, the pastor must take this responsibility seriously. He is a key to the success and growth of this infant church. May God give us pastors who will seriously consider how important they are to the reproducing of new churches.

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In Our Best Interest Or Theirs

Recently, I was talking with a pastor who was telling me about a family who had moved near their church from a community forty-five minutes away. The family attended a good church in their community but after moving, found themselves not being as faithful to their church as they should because of the distance. They visited the nearby church and found it to be very similar to the church they were currently attending. They talked with the pastor of their church, and he told them that they should continue to drive the forty-five minutes to their church rather than attend the near-by church. The family decided to continue the drive because the pastor didn’t want them to move to the new church.

We just helped start a new church in a community which at one time had a gospel-preaching church. On the first Sunday, four families attended the new church who had attended the previous church in the community. Now, they were driving over thirty minutes to attend a church of like faith and practice. The new pastor called the pastor of the church thirty minutes away to let him know these families had visited, and his response was very striking. He berated the pastor for planting a church in the community indicating that they were reaching the community. He also stated that these were tithing families and helping in the church. He said they might have to cut staff or ministries if they came to the new church in the community in which they were living.

I wonder if perhaps the following question should be asked of these pastors: “Are you responding in the best interest of these families or are you responding in your best interest?” Shouldn’t pastors be interested in what is best for the families in the church? If we are really interested in our people, wouldn’t it be in their best interest to attend a church where they can be faithful every service, go soul-winning in their community and invite people to a local church they can easily attend?

When preaching on church planting and encouraging churches to reproduce churches around their church, I make the statement, “When you live too far away from the church, you cannot be as faithful and involved as you should be.” I often have someone come to me and say, “Brother Jessup, I live forty minutes from the church, and I never miss a service. I am involved in the ministries of the church.” I always ask this question, “How many of your neighbors have you won to Christ and have had them come to church with you?” No one has ever given me one example of someone they have won to Christ and had them go with them to church, so they can be discipled.

Most churches have members who live quite a distance from their church. Many of them are in communities where there isn’t a church of like faith, so they must drive to other communities to attend a good church. Pastors are sometimes reluctant to plant a church in those communities because some of their good members may attend the new church. Again, the question must be asked, “In whose best interest is this decision; in the best interest of the church or the best interest of the members and the community without a good church?”

We all know the answer to this question, don’t we?! As pastors, we often make decisions in our best interest and not the well-being of our members. We want our people to live by faith, but sometimes it is difficult for us to live by faith. We find it difficult to trust our members to the Lord, to believe that He will lead them to make decisions that are correct. We may berate them or make them feel sorry for us if they leave. It gives them the feeling that we are trying to dictate the decisions they are to make.

Since we believe in the priesthood of the believer, we should allow them to seek what God wants them to do and believe they will make the right choice. Only when we are certain they are making a decision which is not in their best interest should we intervene.

Thankfully, there are some wonderful pastors who do have the best interests of their members at heart. May we all follow their example in helping our families follow the leading of the Lord in their lives.

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