Jesus’ Simple Strategy for Planting The Church

I’m a curious person. Constantly synthesizing everything I learn to try to make sense of the big picture so we can find ways to reach the nations. My family and church staff have accused me of having too many great ideas for everyone, including myself. 

Underneath the driven curiosity is this burning desire that we have got to tell more people about Jesus.I’m often tempted to search for new insights, programs, training secrets, methods, books or ideas so I can be a better coach to church planters. 

So Jesus shocks me in his simplicity. In the quest to see God start a movement of church planting and disciple-making in the US and other parts of the world, Jesus’ strategy is so simple. 

As a follower of Jesus, planter, gospel coach of coaches and trainer of church planters, I need to remember to focus on Jesus’ simple strategy more than curricula and program. I’ve studied Jesus strategy off and on since 1992. I know this. But I get distracted. Many of Jesus’ principles of His Master Plan (Robert Coleman’s classic) we find extremely challenging to church planters.

Jesus didn’t have a ‘Plan B’ for planting The church. His plan was this:

  • Select average men who are loyal, teachable with big hearts.
  • Take the long view of the process.
  • Be with them in their lives. A lot.
  • Patiently hand off people ministry responsibility.
  • Quickly give tasks to disciples.
  • Expect and challenge followers to bring others along.

Church planters should ask potential disciples to follow Jesus the person, not me or you or the program. Over time, (12-18 months after starting) Jesus challenged his followers to his high-cost terms for disciple-making. We can’t change them or substitute our own. Evangelism and suffering can’t be left out. There’s no ‘Plan B’ for disciple-making.

  • Depend on the Holy Spirit as we do the work of evangelism.
  • “Show-how is better than know-how” especially while disciples watch.
  • Send out disciples in pairs to practice stating the gospel simply.
  • Always celebrate sharing the gospel and debrief for teachable moments (review and apply).
  • Expect hardship and learn to fight the spiritual battle together.

Here’s one I really don’t like. Jesus’ goal wasn’t popularity, masses of numbers (or even converts). By today’s standards of starting a new church, but the time of his death, Jesus was a failure. But it was all part of his Plan A.

Jesus said to our Father that he had ‘accomplished the work You gave me to do’ (John 17:4). His work goal to that point was preparing multiplying disciple-makers. Oh, too often I thought we needed better methods. We need better men. And more of Jesus.

If you’re interested in multiplying disciple-makers and want to join us in the learning, I’d love to chat more about what we do in Church Multiplication Ministries. 

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6 thoughts on “Jesus’ Simple Strategy for Planting The Church

    • Martin,
      Sorry I did not reply sooner. I’ve been on a blog break so I could concentrate on my new role with Church Multiplication Ministries.

      First, I love your question. What a great aspiration! I wish more people wanted to learn to evangelize and preach the gospel of Jesus and make disciples.

      Second, my answer is another question. Are you in a local church? Have you asked your pastor this question? Let me know what response you get and we can go from there.

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      • Hi Jim, yes I am in a local church, I have been in many local churches, and I’ve not seen the pastors evangelizing in any of them other than preaching from the pulpit to the already converted. In a sense I guess I’ve been waiting for a leader to show me, but I’m beginning to realize that perhaps the leader I have been waiting for is me. I was recently made redundant and it is on my heart to write a book, hopefully to break down barriers to make it easier for others to share the gospel. Delivering the gospel Nesta’s should be no different than giving a gift to someone you love on their birthday. It’s an unconditional gift given in love.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Martin, thanks for writing back. Let me encourage you to sit down with your pastor and ask, ‘Would you teach me to share the gospel?’ and see what happens. If your pastor is like me, it will be a joy to hear the question!
    If for whatever reason you need other resources, CMM is connected informally with churches all around the English-speaking world. I will do whatever I can to help you.

    May I be so bold as to make a suggestion? Don’t write a book – yet. Books can be a barrier between you and real people. You apparently have more time (than you want? Sorry about the job loss!) so meet with and listen to 30-40 unchurched people before writing a word. Ask them questions and hear what they think and believe first. You may find people are willing to be listened to and they may ask you what you believe! Then you have a willing recipient for the gift of God’s grace and mercy.

    What is a Nesta?

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  2. Hi Jim, sorry, Nesta was an autocorrect fail, it was supposed to say message, I’m writing from my mobile phone. I am already actively evangelizing through social media, it’s the face to face stuff I feel I’m lacking in, with complete strangers. Whenever I get the chance I share with friends and family face to face, but I’ve run out of people I know to share with, so it’s time to share with people I don’t know. I was recruited by ICOC when I was 22 in 1989 and learned their evangelism techniques, and was actively inviting strangers to church and bible studies regularly, so I have heard many variants of many personal beliefs from people. Now I have developed beliefs and convictions of my own, and I feel it would be better to communicate them to strangers in a book. It has been a long time since my original post here and your first response, I have done a lot of growing since then, and have become a leader in the church I attend, and have been invited to preach. I’m looking to hook up with kindred spirits who are actively preaching the gospel to strangers, so we can feed of each others stories and encourage each other. I want to see the lights go on in someones eyes when they believe for the first time and are delivered, as I was delivered. As for discussing with my pastor, the Lord is my shepherd, and I have learned that if I do what seems good to me to do, things that are on my heart, even when they are challenging, I grow. I feel I need to write the book as they are too many ideas for me to get across in a conversation, and my convictions based on my own personal study and revelation would probably have seen me burnt at the stake in the dark ages. In a nutshell, I believe our universe is the lake of fire, and Jesus came in here to get us out. I have a very different perspective on things, to the extent that I might have to go it alone for a while. I preached on this topic in church and it was very well received, I was expecting to be kicked out but instead I was applauded, I have much more to communicate, hence the need to write a book.

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