The pathway to revival and church revitalization is through church planting.
That’s a statement that on the surface makes little sense in a city that supposedly has more churches per capita than almost any other city in the world. On the other hand, anyone with children understands the power of new growth.
As a young pastor’s family there were many times when we trudged our five children to visit those in hospitals, shut-ins, and nursing homes. Nothing cuts through the darkness of depression and ailing bones better than the life and energy of children. It’s the circle of life–God’s promise to Eve that despite the certainty of death and sin, God brings life.
So it is with the church. There is no better path to revival and revitalization than the presence of new believers, babies in the kingdom. They bring health and vibrancy to the church.
Charlotte is a growing city. Many of Charlotte’s churches are growing, some by people moving in to the city, some by transfer from other churches, and some by evangelism. It’s the latter, new believers, who bring vitality to the church. And it’s these new believers who also have the most extensive networks and effective witness to all their friends.
Disciples make disciples. That’s the mark of a healthy church. Similarly, church leaders train other church leaders, and healthy churches birth other churches. That’s the biblical pattern since Pentecost. The church grows as we make disciples of all nations.
The healthy life cycle of the church includes the continual birth of new believers and congregations, but just like the physical birth rates of western countries, the spiritual birthrate of the church is failing to keep up with those who pass to glory. Transfer growth presents false data echo. One congregation gains while another loses. Only evangelism and conversation brings new growth into the church.
Charlotte Awake’s mission is to call the church to revival to fulfill the Great Commission in new ways in these last days. Since the pathway to revival is church planting, Charlotte Awake also calls the church to plant new congregations.
The basic building block of Charlotte Awake’s ministry is the “Bible Cluster” where groups of three or more encounter God through reading His Word together. But encounters with God through His Word brings many to salvation in Christ, and as people come to know the Lord, they gather in “Community Clusters”–that is, they gather in new gongregations of believers, church plants.
Some Community Clusters revitalize already existing congregations. Other Community Clusters form new congregations that soon birth other congregations.
The principle is still the same. Disciples make disciples. Leaders train leaders. Churches birth churches. And the pathway to revival or church revitalization is church planting–even in a city that has an abundance of already existing congregations. The Lord’s kingdom is ever growing. He wants it that way.
Authored by Dr. David F. Ingrassia, Stewarding Pastor of Charlotte Awake