When I am asked to preach for someone, I often find myself spending as much time trying to figure out what to preach as I do in preparing the message to preach. Similarly, determining where to plant a church can often be just as daunting as actually planting the church.
The abundance of needy places can be overwhelming. On the one hand, we could just start anywhere. Though there is nothing necessarily wrong with that, we are commanded to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. On the other hand, since our commission is to reach the world with the gospel (not just one area), then maybe we should give “the where” a bit more thought.
In this post, I would like to share the first of five factors that might help us as we determine where to plant a church. (To limit the length of the article, I am going to assume that we are daily reading God’s Word, praying, and surrendering our will to God, so that we are in a place where we are sensitive to His guidance.)
Factor #1: Plant a church where you can train men.
As church-planters, our number one priority is to train men. Jesus focused his efforts not on building a crowd, preaching great sermons, building large buildings, or even planting a church. He focused on training twelve men.
Without trained shepherds the sheep will scatter, and without trained men the churches will never become indigenous and the work will never grow past what we personally can do.
To reach an entire country, to reach the world, we must multiply ourselves through discipling and training men to be leaders who can reach and train others.
This means finding a place where there are young men (preferably between the ages of 15-25) who are in the “aspiring class,” the “common people” of Mark 12:37. They are looking for something more. They are looking for a way out. They are more like the fishermen who will forsake all and follow Jesus when he calls, less like the rich young ruler who will go away sorrowful.