Why Church Planting?

blog post

Faithway is a church plant that is committed to planting churches. In fact, our greatest commitment to local missions is found in our desire to plant gospel-preaching churches in the Northern Virginia area. People occasionally ask, “What are you doing to reach Loudoun County?” My answer is always the same: We are a church plant that is committed to planting churches that in turn will plant others.

But why? We get this question a lot and I understand where it comes from. Many well-intentioned people have pointed out that there are no guarantees in church planting—“Just because Faithway is thriving doesn’t mean that another plant will be grow too.” I couldn’t agree more. In fact, most church plants fail. Depending on the statistics you look at, upwards of 80% of all church plants shut down over a number of years. We also hear on occasion, “Aren’t there enough churches in this area already?” That really depends on how you define church. If you define it as a building that gathers people, then yes, there are a lot of churches. However, if you define it as a body of Jesus followers who are committed to reaching the Loudoun County for Jesus, who preach the necessity of personal repentance, who believe the Bible is God’s inerrant Word, who believe Jesus is the only way, the only truth and the only life, then no, there aren’t that many churches in the Northern Virginia.

In addition, although it’s difficult to pin down hard facts, according to research done by the Loudoun Times Mirror several years ago, upwards of 80% of all people in Loudoun County don’t attend an evangelical Christian church of any sort or at any time. Some, I know, respond to this and say, “But you don’t need to attend a church to be a Christian.” I agree. However, if you want to be one that is enjoying fellowship, is accountable and is holding others accountable, is using your spiritual gifts in the context of a body, is hearing consistent teaching and application of it in the context of local outreach, then one must be a part of a local church body. (This isn’t even touching on the fact that almost every letter Paul writes is written to, and is to be lived out in, the context of a local church body.) The fact of the matter is, most of the teaching in the New Testament as it pertains to our salvation is written in the context of life in a local church. To put it another way, although each of us is to experience personal salvation, our salvation isn’t to be lived out personally; it’s to be lived out in the context of “oneness” in the church. (Ephesians 4)

But again, why church planting? Aren’t there other ways to reach the our community? Absolutely. However, study of the model of church growth and multiplication as seen in the New Testament, lead us to the belief that church planting is the most effective way, especially in the long term.

Successful church planting dictates the need for body involvement, it demands local evangelism, it necessitates leadership from those who have never led before, it deconstructs the idea that missions happens “out there” and I just kind of live my life here, and one other thing: it forces you to pray like you’ve never prayed before.

In the early spring of 2008, Faithway Baptist Church was planted by Heritage Baptist Church in Woodbridge, a ministry led by Pastor Michael Edwards, which was started in 1981 by a baptist church in Warrenton, VA. Our prayerful desire is that God would use our people to start a Gospel-preaching church out of Faithway Baptist Church in the very near future. Ministry within Loudoun County requires many things, and certainly flexibility and creativity are among them. By God’s grace, our prayer is that Faithway Baptist Church will be a launch pad for many new churches both here in the United States and abroad until Jesus comes again.