By Ryan Shaw
Luke 10 teaches us much about church planting in the current global context. Jesus counsels and sends out the 70 disciples with specific methods to see the gospel declared and new believers gathered together in local churches.
In order to be most fruitful in our mission efforts among the unreached and unengaged, we want to obey Jesus’ words and be faithful to align our church planting methods with His ways.
We want to guard our hearts from overlooking His ways for the often more popular and trendy ways of doing church planting. God’s ways will provide the means for seeing the literal fulfillment of the Great Commission. Our methods will often actually hinder this far-reaching process.
Jesus’ method of church planting was simple. His primary means was to work through “persons of peace” within the unreached community – those God was already preparing to hear and respond. He would use the “person of peace” to reach their own families and communities.
Ten steps have been identified that Jesus taught from Luke 10 for simple, rapid-reproducing, church planting movements.
Intentionally following these steps within unreached and unengaged places will help produce small churches that reproduce other small churches by the hundreds and thousands. This method is being used with amazing results among very challenging unreached contexts.
STEP # 1(Luke 10:1) – Begin in God’s presence, listening to Him about where He is about to go and join Him. We want to pray, listen and obey in church planting. He is about to “come” to people groups all over the unreached world.
STEP # 2 (Luke 10:2) – Lift up our eyes to the harvest and see with His eyes. Ask Him to release laborers to reach these groups. Ongoing, believing prayer opens the way. Some of the “laborers” are already in the harvest. As they are born again, they reproduce themselves as laborers among their own people.
STEP # 3 (Luke 10:4) – Depend upon God as our source. This means to walk in faith and obedience, trusting Him will provide. He is our source.
STEP # 4 (Luke 10:5-6) – Look for the God-hungry “Person of Peace.” These are people whose hearts are open and receptive to hear the gospel and respond to it.
STEP # 5 (Luke 10:6) – Speak blessings over the “person of peace,” inviting God to encounter them with His love.
STEP # 6 (Luke 10:7) – Stay in the “person of peace’s” house. This isn’t necessarily literal. It refers to developing a solid discipleship relationship with them. The idea is not to move house to house randomly. But to give diligent attention to this person whom God has been preparing and has brought into relationship with you.
STEP # 7 (Luke 10:8) – Seek immediately to “plant a church” around the “person of peace” through those in their natural lines of relationship (relatives, close friends, work colleagues). Teach the “person of peace” to lead “Discovery Bible Studies” and then have them do it with these relationships. You (as the message bearer) want to teach the “person of peace” what to do and then let them do it. Remember that a church is nothing more than where “two or three are gathered in His name.”
STEP 8 (Luke 10:9) – Heal the sick and declare the Kingdom is near. Healing is a key manifestation of the Kingdom of God in our midst. We want to be faithful to pray for the sick, trusting God to work. Proclaim the Kingdom that people might expect Him to work in power within this unreached community.
STEP 9 – Send the new disciples out to go and do likewise in reproducing small groups of new believers. New believers should immediately be sent out to tell others about what they have experienced in Christ.
STEP 10 – Seek to be the hands and feet of Jesus within the community by meeting felt needs. What are the practical issues the community is facing? What can you do to alleviate this need? Though our primary focus (according to Jesus) is preaching the Kingdom, meeting practical, felt needs can open hearts to the goodness of the Lord.