If you would think of any township, you would agree that, on the face of it, churches are not in shortage. The open areas where we would play as kids have now been occupied by church tents, if not by a car wash or shisanyama. Every school is packed with 3 or more churches using classrooms as places of worship on Sundays. This is on top of many old mainline churches that have existed for years, whose buildings are almost falling apart and not forgetting the hip mega-churches that attract thousands of people from that same township.
Now, we that said you would think that the obvious answer for the headline question would be an emphatic No, the reality is with all that said I’m convinced that townships still need more churches and I would like to spend the rest of this post attempting to make case: why we need more church plants in the townships.
I might be generalizing , but from my past observations and experiences, I have come to a conclusion that most of the churches that are in our townships are not healthy, bible centered. In most cases the bible is not faithfully taught, they may use extracts from the bible to support whatever message they want but there is no proper sound teaching of who God is, man is, and what the gospel is. In fact, you may ask a prominent member (the ones who sit in the front row) of any of those churches what the gospel is, you may not find a biblical answer.
The unfortunate result of gospel-void preaching is that it produces false converts. As Mark Dever once said “False conversions are a suicide of any local church”, the more false converts are in that local church, the slow death of that local church begins. These churches produce them in numbers. These congregants are not concerned about the propagation of the gospel, discipleship, sound doctrine and living in light of the gospel in their daily lives.
They are just mostly in it for entertainment, socializing, fashion parades and material success. One of the main reasons why this has happened is the men (unfortunately even women) who lead these churches. They fit the exact description of Paul when exhorting Timothy in 2 Timothy 4:3, that ‘a time will come when people will not endure sound teaching but having itching ears they accumulate for themselves teachers to suits their passions’. They have twisted the Scriptures in order to scratch people’s ears and give them false hope. I wish this was just 1 or 2 bad apples in a pack of good ones but this is a norm in our townships. I have to look long and hard to find good teachers and churches, thank God there still is that remnant out there.
Oh, how our townships need faithful shepherds who will stand boldly to proclaim God’s Word, defend it and live it. Men who will preach the Word, ready in season and out of season, reproving; rebuking; and exhorting with complete patience and teaching. Men who will faithfully give themselves to teaching the whole counsel of God, rightly dividing the Word of truth. Men who would boldly teach the roles of men and women in the home and church, according to the Scripture. Men who would be Christ centered in their exposition of Scripture, exalting Christ as our only sin-bearer, wrath-bearer and curse-bearer. Men who will give God His proper place as our Holy, Sovereign Father, who will accomplish all His purposes for His glory. Men who would take 1 Peter 5:2 -4 seriously. Men who are diligent in cultivating a pious life in themselves first. To constantly see moral failures of men with titles like ‘Apostle’ or ‘Bishop’ is not something that the church of Christ should be used to. The township needs men who will understand that by their piety, they will be setting a godly example before the flock over which God has made them shepherds.
By God’s grace, there has been resurgence, though small, of young men who are committed to cultivating these qualities. There are a growing number of young men who have resolved in changing the status quo of the church in our townships. Some of them have even taken an initiative of intensive study in different seminaries around the country so as to better equip themselves for ministry. We need no stay on our knees for the Lord to raise more of these men, the welfare of our township spiritual state depends on it.
So to answer the question, Do our townships need more church plants? The answer is yes! Church plants that would be a beacon of light in our townships. Church plants that would be marked by the centrality of God’s Word being preached faithfully and expositionally. Biblical theology being the foundation of that church, only sound theology can lead to right worship and obedience. Every church should strive to believe, confess, and live in light of a truly biblical theology and sound doctrine. Townships need more churches that are committed to prayer, evangelism and discipleship. A proper understanding of the gospel should be an important mark in our township churches. A biblical understanding of the gospel should inform every sermon, every act of baptism and communion, every song, every prayer, every conversation.
Our townships not only need more churches, they are desperate for more churches. Churches that are biblical, confessional, and faithful. Not tossed to and fro by any wind of doctrine blowing in this land. Let us pray earnestly to God to raise a new generation that would plant such churches. Also, let us support brothers who are in process of planting or have already, by Gods grace, planted such churches.
‘There are other important causes in the world, but in God’s providence He raises up people and organizations to take of those causes. The church must not be turned aside from her most important work. Members of political parties will support their parties’ political work, let God’s church support gospel preachers. Doctors build hospitals and practice medicine, let Gods church build churches and practice missions. Moralists will struggle for moral issues, let the church struggle for the furtherance of the gospel. Educators will teach children the 3 R’s of reading, writing and arithmetic, let the church teach sinners the 3 R’s of gospel truth: ruined by the fall, redemption by the blood and regeneration by the Spirit.’ Don Fautner
Soli Deo Gloria!