From a Biblical Stance it seems natural to follow in Jesus’ final mandate to “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations…” (Matt. 28:19a) He is sending us as his followers to go to all places where the gospel has yet to be shared in a living form of existence. I say it this way because in our North American context it is extremely difficult if not impossible to escape the knowledge of Christianity and its influence over our heritage and culture. What seems less known or accepted is its living presence and mandate for salvation to be brought to all existence and life. Christianity has been limited to the presentation of education and knowledge expressed through religiosity rather then the actual engagement with the resurrected Jesus and becoming a disciple or follower of his way in every day life and practice. The gospel in essence is much more than individual salvation and redemption. It is a communal journey of continuing to go out from the boarders of your own comfortability and connecting others to the freedom of following Christ into a greater self awareness and development of the holistic way in which he made them and you.
Nationality also becomes more than the simple nation to which you come from or were born in. It also is shaped by individual history and culture. Culture is defined as the customary beliefs, social forms, and material traits of a racial, religious, or social group or the set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterizes a company or corporation. In a North American context these factors can be diverse when traveling from community to community even within a single city. The beliefs, values, and goals of those living in the inner city of downtown Calgary can be significantly different then those found in the South East corner suburbs of McKenzie Towne or Cranston.
There is the question of why not just work through existing churches? Ed Stetzer offers an answer in his book Planting Missional Churches; “Some people note that the Great Commission does not use the term church planting. Thus, they argue that the Great Commission is fulfilled only through existing congregations (particularly in highly churched areas). But the early church was filled with the Holy Spirit, according to the book of Acts (2:4; 4:8, 31; 9:17; 13:9). These Spirit-filled disciples planted churches. It’s obvious by their actions that the first hearers of the Great Commission assumed its fulfillment required multiplying disciples and forming new congregations.”
I think in close connection to Stetzer’s observation is the sense of calling through a “Holy discontent”. In a personal note to answering the question of why church plant I can only say that in my own following of Christ I see him envisioning a community of followers who are reaching the churched and un-churched in a new and more culturally emerging way. One which is not so easily embraced or expressed through traditional churches. It is a deep sense of the need to go and bring freedom and encouragement to live in holistic relationship to the way God has created us in spite of any challenges or obstacles which we may individually face.
Perhaps in embracing a vision as to why we should church plant we can begin to explore the values and community to which we wish to grow and develop in fellowship with.