As a seminary student in Louisville, KY, I sensed God calling me to church planting. How that would work itself out, I had no idea. Would I plant a church after completing my studies? Would God send me to work among an unreached people group? As I was nearing the end of my studies at Southern Seminary, I still did not have clear guidance on what God wanted me to do.
What I did know was that God had been doing an extraordinary work in my generation, and I sensed it particular in four areas. First, there has been a discovery of the centrality and sufficiency of the gospel of Jesus Christ. While “gospel-centered’ has become a widely used slogan, it nonetheless encapsulates one of the peculiar providences of God in recent years. Second, there has been a growing passion to live as sent people of God collectively throughout the week in ordinary life. More and more people are sensing that God has called them to commend the gospel in word and deed, having a city-positive posture where cultural engagement is not entirely confrontational
but also conversational. Simply put, God has cultivating in his people a passion to be missionally-driven. Third, young pastors are increasingly concerned about a robust biblical ecclesiology. Their view of the church is neither superficially programmatic nor driven by corporate business practices. Rather, they want to know what God has revealed in Scripture about the nature and purposes of the church and intentionally order their ecclesiology and praxis according to the principles of God’s Word. In other words, the church’s distinctiveness is marked by fidelity to Scripture. If we are going to plant churches, then we must be very clear on what it is we are seeking to plant. Finally, and this is not secret, God has raised up a generation who are rediscovering the doctrines of Grace, often called the Reformed Resurgence. Alongside being missional, pastors and church planters want to be known as confessional too, that is, they want to be explicit about what they believe about the Bible, especially salvation. So together, these four “waves” crashing upon the shores of the evangelical landscape are: (1) gospel-centered, (2) missionally-driven, (3) distinctively Baptist, and (4) confessionally Reformed.
It is those core values that have shaped my thinking in the formation of the PLNTD Network in 2008 and was forwarded publicly in the summer of 2010. PLNTD exists to create an environment through which church planters (and churches) can flourish in the Great Commission. We aim to invest in disciple making disciples who desire to plant and multiply church planting churches. We do this through four main components: online resourcing, relational communities, residency centers in local churches, and regional networks.
In 2012, our focus has been to develop the four component of regional networks with concentrated regional training events in South Florida, New England, and MidSouth (TN/KY) regions of the US with several additional regions in the formation process. By the end of 2012, we anticipate completing the final phases of the developmental processes an launching the network with formal membership and affiliation opportunities for new (membership) and existing (affiliation) churches.