Planting Missional Churches 4: Antioch vs. Jerusalem

I’m doing a few series kind of interacting with and starting discussions about themes in some books on church planting. This series comes out of “Planting Missional Churches” by Ed Stetzer.

Stetzer makes a great observation from the, what do you call it, oh yeah, the Bible:

“The founding of the Antioch church may be the most important moment in church planting history. Antioch would send missionaries throughout the world. Under the leadership of the Holy Spirit, the Antioch church became the first great missionary-sending church (Acts 13:3). On the other hand, the Jerusalem church turned increasingly inward and lost much of its vision, finally disappearing like the Judaizers of the early Christian movement. In contrast, the Antioch congregation reached the world by becoming the first church-planting church!” (p. 50)

Couple quick questions and thoughts:

  1. I wonder why this difference existed? Perhaps it’s because Jerusalem was the more established church. Still seems like more established churches typically have a more difficult time getting behind church planting.
  2. Or perhaps it had something to do with the Jerusalem church having more “big-time” Christian names. Maybe it made them a little more personality driven, making it more difficult for them to really get the idea of sending out “nobodies” to reach new people and start new churches. If so, that would be quite ironic, since these somebodies all started out as nobodies.
  3. Is your church more like it’s Antioch or Jerusalem ancestor? Are you inward or externally focused? Why? What needs to change? How will it change?
  4. You know what I notice about that Jerusalem Church, and that Antioch Church, and every church mentioned in the Bible? They no longer exist. And you know what I know about your church? Someday it will not longer exist. Have you thought about that much? You should. And one of the things it should make you realize is that starting new churches (that go on to start new churches) (that go on to start new churches) is the only way your church will continue to have an impact on the world into the future. It’s true, if you don’t believe me, just read Stetzer’s book and the, what do you call it, oh yeah, the Bible.

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