The Christian Church was designed from the first to be aggressive. It was not intended to remain stationary at any period, but to advance onward until its boundaries became commensurate with those of the world. It was to spread from Jerusalem to all Judea, from Judea to Samaria, and from Samaria until the uttermost parts of the earth. It was not intended to radiate from one central point only; but to form numerous centers from which its influence might spread to the surrounding parts … The plan upon which the apostles proceeded … was to plant churches in all the great cities and centers of influence in the known world.
Jesus, the hero of the Bible and our example, was the very first church planter. While on earth, Jesus established the universal Church and claimed that the “Gates of hell would not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18). He also led a small congregation of disciples, teaching them the Word of God, sharing communion with them, and commissioning them to plant more churches.
Once the church commissioned the Apostle Paul at Antioch in Acts 13, he immediately began an incredible church-planting career. Over the course of 13 years, he embarked on three missionary journeys, traveling more than 7,000 miles and planting at least 14 new churches.
The apostles were church planters, and the entire book of Acts is an account of their church-planting ministry. Despite little support from other churches, and against great political and religious opposition, they persisted in their mission to plant new churches. Ultimately, their commitment to obey the Great Commission by planting churches cost them their lives.
Spoken by Jesus in Matthew 28:19-20, the Great Commission is essentially a call to plant new churches. We can say this with confidence because “baptizing, teaching, and making disciples,” the core tenets of the Great Commission, are exactly what churches are called to do throughout the rest of the New Testament. Additionally, the disciples who heard Jesus’ instruction to “baptize, teach, and make disciples” responded by spending the rest of their lives organizing new churches.