The Apostle Paul, arguably the greatest missionary in history, had a simple, two-fold strategy as he set out to bring the gospel to the Gentile world. First, he went to the cities (cf. Acts 16:9, 12), and second, he planted churches in each city (cf. Titus 1:5 - "appoint elders in every town"). Having done that, he could say that he had "fully preached" the gospel and that his work had been accomplished (cf. Romans 15:19, 23). His assumption was that once a church was established everything necessary for the spread of the gospel would follow.
Today, research shows that new churches are the best way to reach new generations, new residents, and new people groups in a city with the gospel. In fact, they are up to 6 to 10 times more effective at attracting people to the gospel than older, more established churches. Although we desperately need the existing churches to continue to grow and maintain faithful gospel ministry, if we are to reach the rapidly growing numbers of people in cities who do not know Christ, we need hundreds and thousands of new churches to be established in those cities.
For the first time in the history of the world more than 50% of the world's population lives in cities. Most leading urbanologists estimate that by 2050 the number of people living in cities will exceed 75%. The growth of cities is the missional challenge of our generation.
How do you select local churches?
We recruit new church planters through one-on-one relationships and referrals from existing network leaders. They are then assessed locally before they're recommended to enter one of our training programs.
Some key traits we look for are local leaders who can contextualise the gospel to their city, and natural evangelists with an entrepreneurial spirit. To date, our 'parent' organisation Redeemer City to City has trained 7,000 leaders from over 45 global cities.