“Don’t just plant a church. Plant a movement.”
When Chris Sims left the comfort of the pastorate in Arkansas to go to Casper, Wyoming he thought it was to plant a church. But, as is often the case, the Lord had much more in mind. “We set out to plant a church,” Sims says, “but we ended up starting a church planting network as well.”
In the last four years, Forever West Church Planting Network has started 6 churches in Wyoming. The state is mostly unchurched not merely because people don’t want to be a part of a local congregation but mainly because there aren’t that many evangelical churches. When Sims set out to plant there was only one evangelical church on the west side of Casper.
In the latest episode of The Grind, Sims shares about his connection to Casper. “I helped open a Sam’s Club there two decades before I would plant a church there. Casper, although not always on my mind, never left my heart.”
Chris embodies the church planting principle of multiplication. God has called us in The Great Commission to multiply disciples, which inevitably leads to the multiplication of churches. Without a multiplication movement, the church cannot impact lostness on the scale that’s needed. Our country is increasingly lost and the only way to reach people is through a movement.
Many planters have a passion to see a movement take place but quickly get bogged down in the day-to-day ministry of their plant post-launch. They see the need for a new church with their plant, but often lose the passion for new works the longer time goes on. In fact, it has been said that if a church plant doesn’t start another church in the first 3 years of existence, then they never will.
We have to get back to doing what Sims and Forever West are doing. Without multiplication, we die. We have to plant pregnant. We must plant with multiplication in mind. Unless planters are intentional from day one with a plan for sending, it will be impossible to see a multiplication movement. Planters must plant not only with the next place on their hearts but also with the planter for that place on their team. What steps is your church or church plant taking to ensure you multiply?