099: Church Planting Is Stupid (Unless God Is In It)

Christ Church Manchester are launching the fifth site of their church in Manchester City Centre and at a dry run event, Tom O'Toole spoke about how church planting only makes sense if God is in it.


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Introduction

  • There are lots of reasons not to church plant: you are small but trying to do something big; it is hard work; many people are uninterested; it opens you up to rejection; there is a spiritual battle.
  • The only thing that could count against all this is if God is in it.
  • In Acts 18, Paul planted a church in Corinth as part of a strategy to spread the gospel to the Gentiles by planting churches in significant cities.
  • When they planted in Corinth, they could have confidence that God was in it, because they saw:

God-Given Partnership

  • When Paul arrived he found Priscilla and Aquila who were sympathetic and opened their home for him to use as a base. Things started small and they reasoned in the Synagogue weekly.
  • A bit later, Silas and Timothy arrived. Adding in a few more people with experience and capacity allowed them to up the pace a bit.
  • Over the last year as we have been talking about planting a church in Manchester City Centre, we have seen God bring together a partnership of people with the same heart and vision.

God-Given Provision

  • When opposition came in the Synagogue, they were able to find another venue in an ideal location – right next door to the Synagogue!
  • Our venue too was provided by God, without the challenges that many experience when looking for church planting venues.

God-Given Progress

  • Through Paul’s ministry, Crispus (the Synagogue ruler) and his household were saved, and many in Corinth believed and were baptised.
  • This is what we long to see in our church plant in Manchester.
  • We have already seen very encouraging first-fruits of it.

God-Given Promises

  • Jesus instructed Paul to keep going and promised to have his back and that there were many in Corinth who were His! This promise motivated Paul for the rest of his ministry with the Corinthians, both in person and by letter.
  • We also have promises from God – both prophetic promises and Biblical promises.

God-Given Protection

  • Paul was opposed and his case referred to a governor, but the governor wouldn’t accept a charge against him. Jesus fulfilled the promise to protect Paul (though Sosthenes still got beat up, so we shouldn’t infer nothing bad will ever happen to people starting churches!)
  • When you step out in church planting, spiritual attack will come.
  • Spiritual battle isn’t just us against the devil. Jesus is fighting and He has overcome, so we can lean into Him.