After His victorious resurrection from the grave, the Lord Jesus Christ spoke the words that have burned in the hearts of His people throughout the centuries . . . “Go . . . and make disciples of all the nations,” and “…be witnesses to Me… to the end of the earth.”
And witnesses they were! The book of Acts records the compelling exploits of these Spirit-filled followers of Jesus Christ . . . how “with great power the apostles were giving testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus…” and that every day in every house they “did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ” so that “…the word of God kept on spreading; and the number of the disciples increased greatly…”
And later in Greece, the Apostle Paul proclaimed Christ with such power that there were riots in the streets, his enemies accusing him of “upsetting the world.” Clearly, the driving passion of the Apostle Paul was to advance the Gospel, the word of the Lord. He saw the gospel like a strong, determined athlete running over a free and unobstructed course, speeding toward the finish line.
As the life-giving message moved from city to city and town to town, it unleashed its transforming power on all who would believe.
It is fitting then, that the Apostle asked his converts to pray for him that the word of the Lord would continue to run swiftly. Since then, the Great Commission mandate has passed from one generation to the next.
The charge is now ours, and the need to see the Word of the Lord sound forth has never been greater.
Apathy and distraction in the Church hinders the advance of the Gospel, but it runs swiftly as God’s people invest in the task. But what is the most effective way to spread the Gospel today?
CHURCH PLANTING PATTERN
Tracing the rapid spread of the Gospel in the first century, a church planting pattern emerges from the dynamic ministry of the Apostle Paul…
…For wherever he went, he preached the gospel and planted churches — churches that matured to plant more churches.
The church planting cycle illustrates how Paul began by planting the church at Antioch on his first missionary journey.
First, Paul and Barnabas were commissioned by the Holy Spirit and sent out by the church for the work of the ministry. Traveling to the Roman colony of Antioch, they preached Christ in the synagogue of the Jews.
Word spread, and soon Paul and Barnabas had preached the Gospel to both Jews and Gentiles in the city. Many believed and “glorified the Word of the Lord” so that it “spread throughout all the region.”
Those who believed began to meet together, continuing in the grace of God.
And later, Paul and Barnabas returned to Antioch to strengthen the new church and to appoint leaders from within its own congregation.
The church at Antioch was one of many churches planted by the Apostle. As the young churches matured, they reproduced themselves, repeating the church planting cycle.
And so Christianity spread rapidly throughout the Roman Empire and beyond— fueled by churches planting churches.
This church planting pattern is as effective today as it was in the first century.
Once a vision for church planting is acted upon and new churches are planted…
…the young churches will begin to communicate with each other— sharing ideas, encouragement, and resources.
This network will undergird and strengthen the churches so that they can continue to multiply themselves by planting new churches. In this way, the Gospel will run swiftly, as it ought…
This is where LifeGate comes in . . .
HOW WE DO IT
In partnering with nationals to plant churches, LifeGate serves as a bridge linking like-minded Christians and churches to the pastors who need their help.
One of the ways we do this is by providing a 3 year (3 module) systematic overview of the process of church planting from both the biblical and current cultural models. We also foster intentional and informed prayer support.
Just as the Apostle Paul asked for prayer that the gospel would run swiftly, LifeGate encourages our partners to a deeper involvement in the lives and ministries of the pastors they support through prayer.
When God’s people pray the gospel can flourish. This is because prayer demonstrates dependence upon God who is the source of power behind all fruitful gospel ministry.
Monthly progress reports and prayer requests, written by the pastors themselves, assist churches, cell groups, and individuals to pray more often and more effectively.
Reading and praying through a pastor’s report gives us—who live so far away—a front row seat in the church planting arena. As a pastor struggles through the difficult early years of planting a church, we can connect deeply through prayer. . .
. . . entering into the very life of the ministry by bearing their burdens and rejoicing in their fruit. LifeGate is also a channel through which partners can provide financial help during the important start-up years of a church plant. Since a young church cannot afford to pay a pastor’s salary, our financial assistance allows the pastor to give himself fully to his ministry instead of working a secular job to support his family. Giving too much money, however, can create an unhealthy dependence on outside donations that actually weakens the church. LifeGate is committed to foster strong, self-supporting churches by keeping financial support proportionate to the local economy, limiting support to a four or five year span, and decreasing the level of support, usually by 25% a year. . .
. . . In this way the young churches are gradually weaned from dependence on outside money sources & motivated toward supporting their own pastors and ministry programs. LifeGate maintains a high level of fiscal accountability for every pastor. . . . . A local oversight committee, made up of trusted national church leaders and veteran missionaries, ensures that all funds go where they are intended to go.
And as the channel through which contributions are made, LifeGate is able to shield churches and individuals from direct solicitations for funds from other parts of the world. LifeGate is also the vehicle for The Chronicles of Redemption, a Scripture-based teaching guide for evangelism. This curriculum is designed to create a biblical worldview into which the gospel can be clearly and boldly communicated.
Using key Old Testament and Gospel narratives that teach the progressive story of redemption, the lessons communicate complex truth in a simple way.
Scripture itself educates the conscience of the unbeliever — — and prepares the way for the Holy Spirit to bring conviction of sin, righteousness, and judgment —through the preaching of the gospel.
Translated into over ten languages, The Chronicles of Redemption is available to every LifeGate pastor to help them teach a clear and faithful gospel message.