How to Plant an Orchard
Big Idea: One of the core privileges of Northside Church has been, and is, planting new Churches, which will in turn, multiply.
Scripture: God said to our parents, Adam and Eve: And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” Genesis 1:28 ESV
What is a Church Plant?
A Church Plant is the beginning of a new local Church, preferably in an area where there are no other Churches. To begin planting a Church, like a new Orchard, we need good soil, living seeds, water and a Gardener.
Why do we need new Church plants?
New churches tend to grow faster than established churches.
Between 6000 and 10,000 churches are closing every year in North America.
Churches have a lifespan, typically of about 50 years.
We need churches to bring faith, hope and love to our hopeless world.
How do we plant new Churches?
1. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you and empower you. And they (Paul and his team) went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia. And when they had come up to Mysia, they attempted to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them. So, passing by Mysia, they went down to Troas. And a vision appeared to Paul in the night: a man of Macedonia was standing there, urging him and saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” And when Paul had seen the vision, immediately we (Luke joined the team) sought to go on into Macedonia, concluding (putting the pieces of the puzzle together) that God had called us to preach the gospel to them. Acts 16:6-10 ESV
2. Look for soft soil (open doors) So, setting sail from Troas, we made a direct voyage to Samothrace, and the following day to Neapolis, and from there to Philippi, which is a leading city of the district of Macedonia and a Roman colony. We remained in this city some days. And on the Sabbath day we went outside the gate to the riverside, where we supposed there was a place of prayer, and we sat down and spoke to the women who had come together. Acts 16:11-13 ESV
One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul. And after she was baptized, and her household as well, she urged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.” And she prevailed upon us. Acts 16:14-15 ESV
3. Opposition is usually a good sign. (It often means the devil is scared) As we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit of divination and brought her owners much gain by fortune-telling. She followed Paul and us, crying out, “These men are servants
of the Most-High God, who proclaim to you the way of salvation.” And this she kept doing for many days. Paul, having become greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And it came out that very hour. But when her
owners saw that their hope of gain was gone, they seized Paul and
Silas and dragged them into the marketplace before the rulers.
And when they had brought them to the magistrates, they said, “These men are Jews, and they are disturbing our city. They advocate customs that are not lawful for us as Romans to accept or practice.”
Acts 16:16-21 ESV
4. Look for Serendipities (unexpected things that happen along the way) The crowd joined in attacking them, and the magistrates tore the garments off them and gave orders to beat them with rods. And when they had inflicted many blows upon them, they threw them into prison, ordering the jailer to keep them safely. Having received this order, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks.
Acts 16:22-24 ESV
5. Don’t be discouraged when things don’t go as planned. About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s bonds were unfastened. When the jailer woke and saw that the prison doors were open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped. But Paul cried with a loud voice, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here.” And the jailer called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas.
Acts 16:25-29 ESV
6. Plant living seeds and let God do the heavy lifting. Then he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their wounds; and he was baptized at once, he and all his family. Then he brought them up into his house and set food before them. And he rejoiced along with his entire household that he had believed in God.
Acts 16:30-34 ESV
7. Results: Probably the strongest New Testament Church, in Philippi, thrived from that day onward, for many years. About ten years after it was planted, Paul wrote to the Church in Philippi. ‘I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:3-6 ESV
“Yet it was kind of you to share my trouble. And you Philippians yourselves know that in the beginning of the gospel, when I left Macedonia, no church entered into partnership with me in giving and receiving, except you only”. Philippians 4:14-15 ESV
Application: Planting new churches is the most important work and the best investment that we, as Northside Church, can do for the Kingdom of God. Let’s keep up the good work!
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