By Rolando Castro, BCM/D Missionary for Church Planting/Evangelism/Language Churches
Henry Blackaby suggests joining God right where He is at work in the world. I prefer to use the word “culture” instead of world, just to avoid confusion with those who feel the word “world” is in fact an evil one.
If we believe God is at work, even before we show up, then we should accept what He is doing in using a wide variety of ways in a wide variety of scenarios to bring about His purpose.
God’s heart is always passionate about those outside of a relationship with Him. He cries and seeks for each living person on our planet, no matter if this person is worshiping other gods or claiming to be an atheist. This is also the “church planting” heart.
Now, the way we think He is seeking to build this relationship is crucial in our understanding of our role in God’s plan. Usually we think God is “calling” people to leave their natural environment (whatever it is), and join a safe “Christian” one. By believing this, we accept that our call is to “invite” people to church, where the worship leader and the pastor will give them an invitation to offer a prayer and become Christians. From that point on, our role changes and soon we are the people in charge of leading these new believers in a lifestyle marked by the total abandonment of their former environment.
On the other hand, if we think God is not “calling” people to leave their natural environments, but “working to change” those environments, then our role should be different, too. Instead of trying to bring people to our church services and make them “one of us,” we’ll be “going” and joining their very environments with a missional or missionary mindset.
By holding this position, the goal in planting new churches is not for the new believers to leave their natural environments, where all their relatives, friends and colleagues are, but rather to embrace them with a transformed and transformative heart. Then, with the Holy Spirit’s help, they are able to impact the culture around them.
The story of God’s intervention in human history, as it’s revealed in the Bible, is always in the context of culture: Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in their relationship with their neighbors in Canaan; Joseph in Egypt; Daniel in Babylon; Nehemiah in Persia; Paul in the Greek cities of the first century, and, of course, Jesus in His own cultural setting in the Roman province of Galilee. Today God is doing the same in our cities and communities around the world. Church planting is the best way to partner with and join God in His purpose.
We are called to be yeast, salt and light. These elements are only helpful if they are used on raw, unsalted and dark environments, where these environments are present in the culture.
Thus, we must ask ourselves: How is God at work in the culture within our communities today, and how we are attempting to join Him? Let’s try Church planting.
Rolando Castro is the BCM/D missionary for Hispanic church planting, evangelism and language churches. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at