It's Valentine's Day, so you know what I'm doing! I'm in Chicago today, hanging out with various leaders, pastors, and church planters for the Plant Midwest (Chicago) gathering. Of course I'll be home in plenty of time to take my wife out on a very special date. But before that it's church planting.
Yes, our established, healthy churches need to "excel still more" in all they are doing for the Kingdom. Other churches need to "strengthen what remains," and some need help in seeking revitalization. And yet in the midst of all of this we must all encourage the planting of more churches.
On April 23, 1865 Charles Spurgeon said to his congregation at the Metropolitan Tablernacle,
We have never sought to hinder the uprising of other Churches from our midst or in our neighborhood. It is with cheerfulness that we dismiss our twelves, our twenties, our fifties, to form other Churches. We encourage our members to leave us to found other Churches; nay, we seek to persuade them to do it. We ask them to scatter throughout the land to become the goodly seed which God shall bless. I believe that so long as we do this we shall prosper. I have marked other Churches that have adopted the other way, and they have not succeeded.
- C.H. Spurgeon, The Waterer Watered
Spurgeon didn't just say this. While pastoring the Metropolitan Tabernacle, and seeing tremendous growth, he played a vital role in the planting of over 200 churches in and around London. What a beautiful example of Kingdom mindedness, missional focus, and gospel passion.
I'm looking forward to this gathering, and working with others to plant more churches.
For more on the "prince of preachers" check out Dallimore's biography on Spurgeon. You can also visit The Spurgeon Archive to read many of his sermons for free.