At 21, I decided that I wanted to plant a church to reach the lost. Mind you, I had absolutely no idea how to do it, but I was committed to the idea, and I wanted to figure it out.
The first step was learning how to do evangelism, which I did through a full-time evangelistic role in the l
ocal high school. Importantly, that helped me learn how to share the gospel with a hostile audience. But I still had no idea about the practical realities of how to plant a church.
So, while doing four years of formal theological training, I attached myself to two men who seemed to know how to plant a church. I became their trainee, and learned all I could from them.
I’m very thankful for the invaluable experience I had as a trainee church planter. I learned many important lessons about what to do and what not to do. There were still gaps of course, but not nearly as many as there were before.
Now my own church plant has started (Grace City Church) and, as you’d expect, that makes my life pretty busy. But, in the midst of that busyness, I have committed to spending significant time training other younger guys who also want to learn about church planting.
These are the three key convictions that moved me from being a trainee to a trainer:
(1) The scale of the problem
There are around 24 million people in Australia. If the statistics are correct in suggesting that only 2-3% of Australians are Bible-believing Christians, and if heaven and hell are real, then 23 million people desperately need Jesus.
23 million. And my plan is to plant just one church?
(2) The limited impact of one person
What was I thinking? Either my church will need to be a huge church (i.e. of a scale never before seen in this country), or we need lots of new churches.
But the problem is I am only capable of starting one church—or perhaps two at a stretch. Seeing that as an adequate response when millions are facing judgement without Christ just doesn’t sit right with me.
(3) My responsibility to multiply
Given the scale of the problem, and the accumulation of knowledge and experience that I have gained over the last eight years or so, I figure that my responsibility is to do more than just plant a church or two. I need to devote myself to sharing what I have learned and multiplying the number of others who will work hard to see the lost won to Christ.
So I committed to being a trainer.
I now have an MTS apprentice who works with me in our church. He wants to be a church planter too, and he is learning on the job with me. I meet with him every week and we talk through not just his own ministry responsibilities (including fundraising), but also strategically what we are doing as a church to reach our community and see people come to know Jesus. I also meet with him and a few other trainees from other local churches once a fortnight for training.
Apprenticeships are an outstanding way to multiply workers for the harvest. But apprentices need trainers. There is good help available to those who see the need and want to be trainers (Australia-focused, but the resources are useful world-wide). So why not join me in the goal of equipping more and more people to reach the lost?
Tim Clemens is the lead pastor of Grace City Church. He planted Grace City in January of 2015 and is passionate about evangelism and training. Tim graduated from Moore College in 2014. Before attending Moore College, he worked as an evangelist at a public high school in St Ives. During this time, he also wrote an SRE curriculum which has since been published by Christian Education Publishing as The Jesus Foundation Series. Tim is married to Emma and lives in Zetland.
This article was originally published on GoThereFor.com, an online library where gospel-minded Christians can find resources, ideas and encouragement for fulfilling Christ’s commission to make disciples of all peoples. The article is re-produced here with the permission of Matthias Media and the author.