If you follow any of my social media handles, you probably know my wife and I have recently become members of a church plant in my hometown, San Clemente, California.
Our journey to church planting hasn’t been quick, but the result of countless hours of Bible study, conversation, and prayer. At some point I will write out what that journey looked like, but now, I’d like to spend a few moments answering the question: why plant a church in San Clemente?
Our Reasons for Joining a Church Plant
In no particular order, here are some of our reasons.
We Want to Work Hard in Obeying the Great Commission
The Great Commission of Jesus does not merely command believers to share the gospel so people become Christians. Instead, it calls us to share the gospel so new Christians are baptized into (Matthew 28:18; 1 Corinthians 12:13) and taught within (Matthew 28:19) a church. Evangelism is designed to lead new believers into the heart of the local church where they’ll be loved, grown, and equipped to join the church to make more disciples within the church. As I will reaffirm below, the city of San Clemente has more citizens than it has churches to evangelize and disciple them. So, wanting to work hard to obey the Great Commission, we want to plant another church among the others to help fulfill the mission Jesus gave us.
San Clemente Needs More Churches
Some may think, “But San Clemente already has a bunch of churches, why add another?” I praise God that San Clemente has not been without gospel witness. There have been numerous churches in San Clemente working hard to reach the Beach Cities with the gospel for decades. However, the population of San Clemente, let alone the Beach Cities area, has far more citizens than it does Bible-believing, Christ-centered, and gospel-proclaiming churches. If every church in San Clemente maxed out their capacity on a Sunday, tens of thousands of people would have to be turned away. There are not enough churches in San Clemente to reach and disciple all San Clemente. The harvest is too plentiful and the workers too few. We want to help!
Fresh Energy Never Hurts
We hope that the presence of Union Church raises up a new team of pastors and church members who are highly energized, united, and motivated to join existing churches to reach more people for Jesus. The addition of fresh, energized, and motivated troops to the battlefield is always a good thing for those in war. We are coming to help!
We Want to Encourage Existing Churches
Union Church is committed to being a blessing to the existing local churches in our community. We hope that churches like Pacific Coast Church, Heritage Christian Fellowship, The Shoreline Church, Cornerstone Community Church, and the others would be blessed by our church. They’ve been preaching some really good news for a long time in this city and we just want to join our voices to their choir. We don’t want to steal your sheep. We have no desire to critique you with furrowed brows or patronize you with condescending tones. We want to join you. We want to help you. We want to bless you so Jesus is glorified in our city and world.
The World Needs More Church-Planting Churches
Missiologist Ed Stetzer said it this way,
“Statistically speaking, if a population just wants to ‘break even,’ it has to plant at least at a three percent level — a denomination of 100 churches has to plant 3 to stay even considering attrition. A five percent increase is needed to grow. Ten percent is needed to thrive.”
Since we want to see the United States have an increased gospel witness in the future, we are committed not only to adding new believers into our church, but also adding new churches into our country. If we want to see the world reached with the gospel, we can only do it through planting more church-planting churches.
We Want to Plant Churches
Our church does not want to just be a church plant, but we want to be a church-planting church! We are already praying, preaching, gathering resources, and raising up leaders in hopes that God would plant many more churches through us. It has been immensely encouraging to hear my pastor frequently and passionately talk about planting churches even before we’ve fully planted our own!
We Want to Encourage All Church to Get Busy Planting Churches
I cannot improve on the exhortation of Ed Stetzer:
Planting a church is like having a baby. There’s never really a good time. There is enough time, money, energy, and space to have one. Childbirth is messy and has a lot of yelling, but in the end, a beautiful life is born, the labor is forgotten, and we often want to have another.
We’ve got a lot of churches on some strong birth control. We need to have a lot more pregnancies. Intended ones. We need to see some beautiful church plants born and then we’ll want to have another one. And another one.
I would exhort some established church pastors to get some skin in the game. Generously give to church planting, yes, but then go and plant a church. Choose not to become a cul-de-sac on the Great Commission Highway.
If you need more encouragement for why established churches should plant churches, read the rest of Stetzer’s post here.
So, there are just a few reasons why my wife and I are excited to be members of Union Church. May God use us for His glory.
If you would like some more information about church planting, begin here.