Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Planting but Not Pastoring

In preparation to move to South Asia as a church planter, I have been reading a lot of different books. One that I highly recommend to anyone preparing to plant whether that be in North America or in an International setting is Discovering Church Planting by J.D. Payne. Because many people are confused when I tell them that I am going to be a church planter in South Asia, but that I do not plan on pastoring a church, Payne has helped me differentiate that for them by delineating types of church planters.

First you have the Apostolic Missionary, who plants and raises up a pastor, then plants again, which is very similar to what we see modeled by Paul in the New Testament. Second you have the Missional Pastor, who plants and pastors, and then raises up others to plant from within the church.

There are examples of both and one is not better than the other, but due to the nature of International Church Planting, in most cases the apostolic missionary type is the better suited type.

The apostolic missionary is also sometimes referred to as a Pioneer Church Planter when they are going into areas where the gospel has never been proclaimed and there is no gospel witness. Where my family and I will be going in 2012 will be a mix of both as we will have our home city, but also do much traveling to other areas. Therefore, my prayer and ambition for our part of the world is this:

...and thus I make it my ambition to preach the gospel, not where Christ has already been named, lest I build on someone else's foundation, but as it is written, "Those who have never been told of him will see, and those who have never heard will understand."
-Romans 15:20-21


  1. I appreciate the reference, Matthew. This is something I have pondered and prayed about in my own work, especially in regards to my Greenville mission parish; I have wondered questions such as: will the Lord raise up a local priest there to take over from me? Will I continue there for some time, and others from surrounding areas will come, receive training, and plant in far-flung places like Williamston or Tarboro? If the Lord did raise up other clergy in the area, would I still provide some oversight (we Orthodox refer to such as the "dean" or an area, there being several deans under a bishop usually) or would they be autonomous in their dealings with the bishop? Many questions, but I know Christ has the answers.

  2. Our contact in southern India seems to do both although I'm not entirely clear on his method. He plants a church and pastors it himself for several years all the while planting other churches in surrounding areas and raising up men to pastor them.