I had not read long before I knew that I could also believe for seven million churches to be planted throughout the world in the next several years.
I believe this because we are in the leading edge of the strongest missionary movement in the history of the world. There is more interest in reaching every tongue, tribe and nation now than there ever has been since Jesus ascended to the Father.
There is a great cry going up all over the world. It is: LET US FINISH THE TASK! LET US FULFILL THE COMMAND OF CHRIST TO PREACH THE GOSPEL TO EVERY CREATURE. LET US OBEY HIS COMMAND TO DISCIPLE ALL THE NATIONS.
LET US BRING CHRIST BACK TO REIGN IN RIGHTEOUSNESS. LET US SEE THE KINGDOMS OF THIS WORLD BECOME THE KINGDOMS OF OUR GOD AND OF HIS CHRIST.
There is a groundswell that is gaining momentum daily.
Surely the stone that was cut without hands, which the prophet Daniel saw in his vision, is Christ. Daniel tells us how he saw this stone come crashing down to smite the feet of the statue which represents world powers (Dan 2:34).
This stone, which is Christ, is growing larger and gaining momentum. It has already crashed into the feet of this world’s system. It will soon grow into a mountain that will cover the earth “with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea” (Isa 11:9).
The key to the fulfillment of the Great Commission is to plant churches.
There is a plan that is attracting the attention of many mission strategists these days. It is to plant a congregation of believers in every community which has from 500 to 1000 people. This is SATURATION CHURCH PLANTING.
We will have to discard our stained glass concept of church. We can no longer think of church as buildings.
We must begin to think of church as people. That means people coming together in the name of Jesus. They are coming together in homes, shops, offices, factories, stores, schools, mortuaries, parks, jails, prisons, hospitals, deserted buildings, street corners, halls, women’s clubs, service clubs and even church buildings.
THE APPRENTICE SYSTEM
The pressing question is: Where are you going to get all the pastors that will be needed to lead all these new churches?
A few years ago in Latin America several missionaries got together to make a plan for training young men for the ministry. Most of the people in their region were very poor. Therefore, it was highly unlikely that any of these men would ever be sent to a city to be educated in a theological school.
These missionaries set forth a plan called TEE — Theological Education by Extension. This was a course young men could take at home. It was an idea whose time had come. It became a very successful program.
Later, another missionary named George Patterson added another “E” to the name of this program. He called his plan TEEE—Theological Education and Evangelism by Extension. It was a plan for pastors to train young men for the ministry through an apprentice system.