Church Planting Theology

The articles in this section could be classified under the following kinds of titles: 

  • Thinking Theologically about Church Planting
  • Church Planting in Theological Context
  • Theology for Church Planting
  • Toward an Evangelical Ecclesial Mission

Writings on church planting seem to give only introductory or tangential attention to elucidating a theological foundation for church planting. At best it seems church planting is viewed primarily from a sociological or anthropological perspective, and at worst it seems to have been confined to thorough pragmatic analysis. In either scenario, it seems church planting has been subject to only cursory theological study.

For example, although most books on church planting provide a tangential biblical and theological framework for church planting, few have theology of church planting as a major theme. Moreover, although there are many helpful books on theology of mission, most give little or no consideration to church planting.

Judging from this lack of literature on theology of church planting, church planters, church planting mission agencies, and missiologists apparently sense little need for laying a foundation for church planting other than a pragmatic or methodological one that focuses on strategy rather than theology.

Despite the apparent lack of published theological reflection about church planting, cross-cultural church planting ministry seems to remain a high priority among evangelical cross-cultural missionaries and mission agencies. Therefore studies that attempt to place church planting in theological context are timely.

Church planting without theological perspective is like a diamond in the rough. Theology is a largely untapped resource for church planters.

Thinking theologically about church planting has great potential for encouraging and equipping church planters.

The articles in this Church Planting Theology section of iTheology.net are an attempt to integrate church planting and theology so that evangelical church planters might be affirmed in their ministry and might recognize that theology can indeed be the handmaiden of church planting. Or perhaps more accurately, so that I myself might be encouraged to remain faithful in church planting in Japan where there seems to be, at best, a flat rate of church growth.

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PERSONAL NOTE from Dale: 

In the fall of 2016 I taught Church Planting Theology at ACTS Seminaries of Trinity Western University (greater Vancouver BC Canada), live-streamed from Tokyo Multicultural Church. The course was divided into three sections: Church Planting and Biblical Theology, Church Planting and Systematic Theology, and Church Planting and Missiology. I can offer this online course through ACTS Seminaries anytime about 5 or more students from anywhere in the world would like to enroll. Students would need to apply at ACTS Seminaries and register for the course. If interested, please contact me.

I am in discussion with Zondervan/HarperCollins about publishing a book based on this course. The tentative title is "God’s Ecclesial Mission: Theological Perspectives on Cross-Cultural Church Planting.”

…updated june 2018

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