Saturday, August 23, 2014

Find Some Women, Plant a Church

I know of no one who would argue that the Apostle Paul was the most successful church planter who ever lived. After his life was literally turned upside down on the road to Damascus (Acts 9), he was baptized and went on to plant multiple churches all over Asia and Europe. There is, of course, much, much more to his story, but that's for another blog post.

What did he do when he planted churches? Certainly his methods were unconventional to the culture of his day, but I think they would also be considered unconventional today in western culture. The first thing Paul did in Philippi was go to where the women were (Acts 16). This was no accident. Verse 13 tells us they went to the riverside where prayer was customarily made and spoke with the women who met there. They, Paul and the others with him, knew women met there, it was customary, yet they went there intentionally and first.

He planted his church with women. The first European convert was Lydia, a wealthy woman who operated her own lucrative business selling purple fabric. Lydia was saved, then baptized, as was her household. No husband is ever mentioned. Lydia went on to host Paul and his entourage in her home. This indicates she had a house big enough to host them, needed no one's permission or approval and was very much in charge of herself and all that she had.

I know some men who would pass this opportunity by simply because they would not talk to women at a riverside or anywhere else, without husbands present. These men I know certainly wouldn't use any resources of any women to plant a church, much less a woman's input.  Modern church planters do not generally talk to women first in order to plant a church. I know some church planters and they are all men and they are working with only men.  But, Paul and his fellow disciples often went to the women first.

In Thessalonica, at the synagogue, Acts 17:4 tells us that some of them believed and "joined with Paul and Silas; and of the devout Greeks a great multitude, and of the chief women, not a few." (Emphasis mine) There were women and they were considered important, chief people of their town; leaders. And Paul had no problem working with them.

Women were very much involved in the planting of these new churches. They made a huge impact. 

So, do you want to plant a church? Find some women in a town of choice. Be sure, if you have a church planting committee, that women are serving on that committee  and are active workers, not just a quiet female presence.

Do like Paul did in Philippi and go to the women first, intentionally. I truly believe women might be the most overlooked resource for church planting today.


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