Written by: Pete Rennie
Pete Rennie is the pastor of Living Hope Church in Inverness, Scotland, and is the lead for Acts 29 in Scotland. He is married to Anne, and they have a daughter. You can follow him on Twitter.
This following content was originally published on Acts 29’s website, linked HERE.
Editor’s Note: This post is part one of a series adapted from a talk on recruitment and training, given at the Acts 29 Great Britain & Ireland Equip event in Edinburgh.
For those who are church planters, I’d like for you to consider this question: “Why did you plant a church?” Think about your answer, and carry it with you as you read.
If I had to bet money on your answer, I definitely wouldn’t put it on the lucrative income, career advancement, or stress-free life that church planting provides. Rather, I’d bet the reason you got involved in church planting was to see people meet Jesus. Simply put, the reason we plant churches is because we long to see people transform from death to life.
Recruitment is an essential part of this process. If our motivation in church planting is to see people’s lives changed by the gospel, then our reason for recruitment must be the same. Acts 29 is a network that values the current work of planters and ministry leaders, while working intently to see more churches planted around the world. More churches requires more church planters.
Let’s consider the need for recruitment, and how to take action in being part of the solution.
Recognize the Need
We see Jesus’s heart revealed in Matthew 9:36: “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” Jesus was motivated with compassion for the lost people in those cities. This led to him telling his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest” (Matt. 9:37–38). Jesus saw the world around him as a harvest field, and he wanted to teach his disciples to look through this lens of evangelism, too.If we look at people with Christ-like eyes and care for people with Christ-like hearts, then we, like Jesus, will see our world as a plentiful harvest field.CLICK TO TWEET
In 2022, the Evangelical Alliance published a report called Talking Jesus, which found that six percent of adults in the United Kingdom self-identify as practicing Christians. Within the Republic of Ireland, less than 0.5 percent of people are evangelical Christians—it is the least evangelized nation in the Western world. Wherever we find ourselves in Great Britain and Ireland, on average, nine out of every 10 people are lost without Jesus. They are “harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd,” dead in their sins and facing an eternity in hell.
If we look at people with Christ-like eyes and care for people with Christ-like hearts, then we, like Jesus, will see our world as a plentiful harvest field. It’s never been easier for us to live evangelistically because it isn’t difficult to meet people who don’t know Jesus. Our cities and villages, estates and suburbs, towns and islands are full of people who need to hear the life-changing news of the gospel. Whatever context we find ourselves in, we’re sure to find a plentiful harvest—indeed, there is great need all around us.
Seek a Solution Through Action
Seeing the need for recruitment and evangelism is a necessary first step, but it isn’t enough to make change. We must first recognize the need, and in turn, take action to seek a solution. The apostle Peter is a great example.
Peter had a nice life before he met Jesus. He had a home and was married (Matt. 8:14). It isn’t clear, but perhaps he had children? He did have a job in the family fishing business, based on the shore of the sea of Galilee (Matt. 4:18). It sounds like a decent, fulfilling life. But Peter sacrificed his comfort to follow Jesus. Why would anyone do this? Here is what Jesus said to Peter and his brother in Matthew 4:19, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” They dropped what they were doing and immediately followed. They heard Jesus’s call and responded—they wanted to be part of his mission. Whatever context we find ourselves in, we’re sure to find a plentiful harvest—indeed, there is great need all around us.CLICK TO TWEET
Although thousands of years later, this is where we find ourselves, too. At Acts 29, we joyfully affirm the truth that God is sovereign over salvation. We are convinced Calvinsts. But we also believe that the church is God’s primary missional strategy in the world. We’re the ambassadors through which God makes his appeal (2 Cor. 5:20). We’re God’s sent preachers and teachers through whom people hear the gospel (Rom. 10:14). We’re the display of God’s manifold wisdom (Eph. 3:10). As God’s people, we are called to partake in God’s mission.
If we long to see more people come to know Jesus, we must aggressively recruit church planters and leaders who are willing to give their lives in service to establishing churches in places of need. At Acts 29, we plant churches worldwide, and we’d love to partner with you to carry this mission forward.