About Voddie Baucham:
Voddie Baucham serves as Pastor of Preaching at Grace Family Baptist Church in Spring, TX. He has become one of the most highly sought-after preacher/teachers in the nation, and has been referred to as an “Evangelist to intellectuals.” Voddie’s ministry is marked by thought-provoking insights into God’s Word and commitment to sound biblical theology and expository preaching.
We are a church plant, but we are hoping to be a church planting movement. We have seven guys who have been in training for the purpose of planting churches in our area. We want to put into the DNA a solid doctrinal foundation. I want to give an easy answer, and then I want to expand on that from a practical perspective.
First, the easy answer.
Text: 2 Timothy 4:2a (1-5)
“Preach the Word.”
That’s it. That’s how you do it.
In order to understand the significance of this passage, we need to understand the significance of the context of 2 Timothy. First, the intimacy of 2 Timothy is astounding–the closeness of their relationship, the love they have for one another. Second, the care and instruction that Paul takes to help young Timothy. Third, the overall singleness and focus is hard to miss. The theme is on the one hand preserve and proclaim the truth of the gospel. Paul is about to be martyred, he knows he is about to die. On the other hand, endure the suffering that will inevitably follow as a result of having done the first part (of preserving and proclaiming the gospel).
2-Pronged Theme of 2 Timothy
It’s all throughout the book.
I believe that it is important to understand this two-pronged theme: we are called to preserve and to proclaim, and on the other hand, we are to suffering and endure as a result of faithful stewardship of the gospel.
Why is this so crucial? Let’s look at the text:
1. It is the standard by which we will be judged (4:1).
Jesus is coming, and he is going to judge the living and the dead.
2. The Word is the answer no matter the question (4:2).
Opportune time, inopportune time. Preach the Word. That’s what we do. There is never a time where you will be called to preach where God’s Word will not suffice to address. There’s never a time when we will not need and be utterly dependent on the Word of God. If it is not the Word of God, it does not meet the deepest needs of men.
It’s not always opportune time. Often times it is inopportune time.
3. Therein and therein alone do you have moral authority (4:2b)
The authority is not in ourselves but in the Word of God alone. There are a whole host of things you will never preach about if you are the authority. If you are committed to things you know and have come to understand things that you have mastered in your life, you are not going to preach many things in your life and second, you will still be a hypocrite.
4. The difference between “you” and “them” is the Word of God (4:3-4). Our flesh wants to be liked and stroked.
“But as for you . . .” (cf. 3:12-14)
My flesh has a tendency to look at individuals who are growing rapidly and look what they do rather than looking at God’s Word at what I am supposed to do and look for God’s increase. You will not be everyone’s favorite. You will not always be endeared.
5. The Word of God defines you and shapes your ministry. It is about us and the Word and the Word in us (4:5).
If Paul had preached differently, he might have not gotten martyred! Paul is about to be killed, and never once does he flinch at death. Paul is telling him, “Timothy, they are about to kill me for preaching the Word of God. Now, it is your turn to take my place.”
There are over 195 million non-churched Americans, 2 1/2 million in Houston. Our goal is ten churches planted in the first 10 years of our existence. Consider these facts:
* No county in the USA has a greater church population today than it did 10 years ago.
* In the last decade, church membership declined by 10% while the American population grew by 11.5%.
* Each year, between 3,500-5,000 churches die every year. 60% fewer churches per 10,000 people.
* We are below 10 churches for every 10,000 people.
* 80-85% of churches are plateaued or declined.
* The majority of church growth occurs in churches less than 2 years old.
There’s another crisis . . .
There are many would be church planters–most of them have more zeal and passion than anything else. But many are planting in protest or for pragmatic purposes. A lot of young people are dissatisfied with church in America, so they are planting because of that. Many are not coming from solid, doctrinal, and especially not Reformed foundation. There are many out there who are trying to achieve church planting by other means than biblical ecclesiology.
Seven Things to Consider
1. Develop a biblical theology of church planting. Understand why we do it from a biblical perspective. If we are not doing it from a biblical perspective, we will say that the Word is appropriate for certain things, but not church planting. No, we need marketing. If we don’t have an intentional, biblical understanding of church planting, we will be pure pragmatists.
A. We plant churches to extend and expand God’s kingdom (Matt. 28:18-20). Church planting is inherent in the Great Commission. We must go where people are and plant indigenous churches to reach the peoples of different languages, cultures, lands, etc. The gospel has come to us (America), the remotest parts of the earth as seen in Acts 1:8.
B. We must see the worship of God spread among the nations (Psalm 96). The songs we sing are birthed from peoples and places throughout church history where churches were planted. Every nation, tongue, tribe, and tongue (Rev. 5:9; 7:9) because the church was planted everywhere.
C. Establishing gospel outposts. A church is established where the gospel was received. As the movement went forward, the gospel was central, not personalities.
2. Develop a culture of church planting. Consider 2 Tim. 4:9ff. Paul in his natural conversation could not stop talking about where missionaries were sent and churches were being planted.
3. Seek, disciple, and plant with biblically qualified church planters. We should seek them out. It is intentional. We should disciple them, meaning we should invest in them, training them, and equipping them. Then we must plant with them. Send out your best for church planting.
4. Plant from the ground up. Our starting point is important. We develop mission strategies not by what God has blessed but by what God has said. You don’t modify operations based on feedback. Methods are doctrinal. If you have been around church planting at all, you have heard this mantra: “we don’t change the message, just the methods.” The message gives us the method.
A. Concerned with results rather than principles
B. Concerned with how something works
We are not called to pragmatism; we are called to be sober-minded.
Church planting begins by looking first at the field, then based on the field, develop a strategy and method for church planting. No. You start with the gospel, then go with the church, and then go to the field. When Paul becomes all things to all men, he is not talking about the church conforming to the culture, he is talking about personal contextualization to reach the people. Paul is not gauging felt needs to determine what you should do or say.
5. Take time to develop a core group. Don’t hide your doctrine from anybody.
6. Plant with a long-haul mentality. We have a little over 100 members and average 250 in attendance; 25% have come through baptism (and we don’t baptize children under 12). Biblical church growth takes time.
7. Plant here, there, and yonder. Churches are to be planted everywhere. 1.8 billion who have never heard the name of Christ. We need gospel outposts.
People know me from my itinerant preaching mostly. Of the 19 years I have been preaching, 18 of them I have been on staff at church. 10 of them have been as minister of mission, teaching and training in the area of church planting. This is what I love. I don’t have a full-time itinerant ministry. I love the local church too much. My prayer is that you get a glimpse of a passion for planting local churches, gospel outposts, for the glory of God. The field is being dominated by the pragmatists; the most “successful” church planters are those speaking at conferences. We need church planters with a solid doctrinal foundation that has the intent of reproducing. That’s what we need.