Ed Stetzer is a famous Baptist leader whose contributions are impressive and influential indeed. In his book, Planting Missional Churches, the author introduces several effective church models (Stetzer 2006). Each of them has its strong and weak points. In this discussion, two models, the apostolic harvest church and the team planting will be compared in terms of their strengths and shortages to comprehend which one may be defined as the model with the most biblical methodology, and which one can be chosen for my own planting context.
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Both chosen models have the same biblical model, Paul. However, this is probably the only similarity that can be observed. The main principle of the apostolic harvest church is the division between the work of a planter and a pastor. A planter has to start a church and moves on. The possibility of a planter to come out of and return to the church is the strength of the model because it helps the planter gather enough material and experience to formulate new ideas and opportunities.
In fact, the apostolic harvest model is usually defined as the only appropriate model of church planting due to its historical roots and frequent usage. Among its benefits, it is necessary to mention such factors as quick reproduction, no obligatory formal education in the beginning, and the possibility to avoid large buildings and budgets (Stetzer 2006). The cons of such a model are low-cost multiplication and the inability to stay devoted to one and the same idea for a long period of time. No attachment is observed, and it seems that planters aim at creating churches only, but not providing people with belief and hope.
Some people may find a team planting model weak because of no or poor attention to the role of a pastor. Sometimes, funding concerns may occur and challenge planters. In fact, money is probably the main reason why this model is not as frequently used as the apostolic harvest church model. However, the peculiar feature of this model is the idea of fast relocating with a certain portion of the support. The role of planters, who are involved in starting a new church, relocating into a new area, and developing a new vision remains to be crucial, cannot be ignored in this model because it introduces the main strength of a team planting. Another benefit is the intention to unite a community with the same goal to divide gifts and start a new church with ease (Stetzer 2006).
Anyway, it is necessary to remember that God provides people with a number of opportunities and ideas to plant churches and involve people in communication and sharing the same beliefs. There are many situations and gifts that can be offered to people.
Church planting is a crucial step that has to be taken properly. Though I think that the apostolic harvest church planning is a true biblical method of planting due to its history and the existing examples in different parts of the world, I will not utilize it in my planting context. I prefer to work according to the team planting model because it promotes unity and power. Today, the question of money is not as terrible as it was centuries ago. It is possible to find the required portion of funding and meet the goals. Regardless of this only shortage in the form of a financial challenge, team planting is one of the best methods to unite people, make them a part of a huge process, and believe in their powers and ability to communicate with God.
Stetzer, Ed. Planting Missional Churches. Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 2006.
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