The Seventh-day Adventist Church began as a church-planting movement, and it will keep growing only as it continues to be a church-planting movement. Church planting is:
■ A Biblical Mandate. The Great Commission is a call to make disciples, and the biblical way of doing that is to “spiritually grow” them in groups of believers. The book of Acts is essentially about church planting, and the apostle Paul’s writings are letters to mentor and support new groups of believers.
■ Central to Adventist Heritage. Ellen White wrote, “Upon all who believe, God has placed the burden of raising up churches.”¹ In 1874, her husband, James, wrote, “Our churches are scattered and small, and our people do not enjoy regular preaching. Our ministers do not locate. They ‘go into all the world, and preach the gospel,’ and raise up new churches.”² From our earliest days, church planting has been the natural way the Adventist Church goes about its mission.
■ Successful. Academic studies and experience demonstrate that church planting multiplies growth and is also healthy for existing churches.
PORT MACQUARIE, AUSTRALIA
Adventist pastor Obed Soire is developing leaders focused on reaching people in the community. Each Friday night a youth center attracts many young people, including students from the local university. A Bible study group also meets Sabbath mornings in a shed. One church leader has organized a house church that’s reaching unchurched people from his workplace. Their vision is to establish a house church on every street in Port Macquarie.—Sven Östring, church-planting director, North New South Wales Conference.
In 2017, Global Mission pioneer Titos Boaventura Langa went to Chidenguele, Mozambique—located about 275 kilometers (170 miles) from the nation’s capital, Maputo—to start a new group of Adventist believers. Through house-to-house visitations, prayer, Bible studies, and children’s programs, Chidenguele now has a company of 40 baptized members.—Silas Muabsa, Adventist Mission director, Southern Africa-Indian Ocean Division.
In 2014, church leaders sent a couple to an unentered area to teach English and to plant a new church. A house was purchased and turned into an English classroom. Today, more than 300 church members are worshipping in six groups, and thanks to Thirteenth Sabbath Offerings, a school was recently constructed.
In 2019, five police officers carrying guns, chains, and ropes arrested the two church planters.
The district pastor immediately gathered the church planters’ families and other church members, and they prayed for the church planters and each other.
Within a few days the church planters were freed and shared the story of how they had witnessed while in prison. During their time there, eight fellow prisoners accepted Jesus as their Saviour.
¹ Ellen G. White, Medical Ministry (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn, 1932), p. 315.
² James White, “The Camp-Meetings,” Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, May 26, 1874.
³ Christian witness is restricted in veiled territories, and are unnamed for security reasons.