The Future of Church Planting in North America

by Damian Emetuche (Author)
©2014 Monographs X, 173 Pages
Series: American University Studies , Volume 342


The Future of Church Planting in North America looks to Jesus as the model for life and ministry as he said, «As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you». In exploring this passage, the author asks, what does this passage mean in church-planting terms? How do we apply the concept of being «sent» within contemporary North America? This region of the world, much like the Middle East in the early first century, is populated by a mosaic of people from all nations, tribes, and language groups. Dr. Emetuche argues that church planting by the majority of the North American churches has been unduly influenced by cultures and traditions rather than by a well-thought-out missiological application of theological convictions. Examining the life and ministry of Jesus as found in the Gospel of John as well as the New Testament church plants, the author makes a strong case for a multicultural church planting as a model for the future. Dr. Emetuche maintains that church planting is about the transformation of lives and cultures through relationship with Christ and, therefore, involves spiritual warfare. Consequently, communities formed through this union in Christ transcend culture, tradition, and national allegiances and become multicultural.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Contents
  • Preface
  • Endnote
  • Chapter 1. Church and Church Planting: Biblical, Theological, and Missiological Considerations
  • Common Understanding
  • The Neglected Passage in John
  • Jesus’ Pattern of Ministry
  • Undue Emphasis on Paul
  • The New Testament Church and the Modern Church/Church Plant
  • Endnotes
  • Chapter 2. Church Planting: Past and Present in America
  • Perpetuation of the American Ecclesiological Practice
  • Modern Homogeneous Principle
  • Unanswered Questions?
  • Individualism: The Elephant in the Room
  • Conclusion
  • Endnotes
  • Chapter 3. Church Planting and Current Demographic Realities in North America
  • The Law That Changed America
  • The Future of North America
  • Meet the New Americans
  • Arjun
  • Anton
  • Ronald
  • The Missiological Challenge
  • Endnotes
  • Chapter 4. A Case for Multicultural Church Planting
  • Samaritan Nation
  • North America: The New Samaria
  • What Multicultural Church Plant Is Not
  • Churches Sharing Facilities
  • Ministry to an Ethnic or Socioeconomic Group
  • Adopting People Groups
  • What about Language Churches or Ministries?
  • What Is a Multicultural Church?
  • Endnotes
  • Chapter 5. Convictions for Multicultural Church Planting
  • Creation and the Value of Life and People
  • The Conviction That All Cultures Have Been Corrupted
  • Conviction That All Cultures Are under the Control of the Devil
  • Conviction That Salvation Is Possible for Anyone Regardless of Cultural Backgrounds
  • Conviction That the Church Is a New Race, a New Humanity
  • Conviction That People of Diverse Cultures Can Worship Together
  • Conviction to Fulfill the Prayer of Jesus
  • Commitment to Holistic Ministry: Great Commission and the Great Commandment
  • Sees the World through the Diversity of God’s Creation
  • Endnotes
  • Chapter 6. Practical Issues in Multicultural Churches
  • The Question of Leadership
  • Intentional Multiracial Evangelism
  • Worship Style
  • Neighborhood Factor
  • Relationship Factor
  • Leadership Training
  • Endnotes
  • Chapter 7. Church Planting as Spiritual Warfare
  • Kingdom Battles among the Nations of the Old Testament
  • Making Sense of the Old Testament Wars
  • Revelation in the Book of Job
  • Jesus and Spiritual Battle
  • The Cross: The Decisive Battle
  • Spiritual Warfare in the Book of Acts
  • Endnotes
  • Chapter 8. Prayer as a Major Weapon in Church Planting
  • Prayer in the Old Testament
  • Lessons from Elijah and Daniel
  • Prayer in the New Testament
  • Prayer as a Divine Instrument in the Kingdom of God
  • Prayer as an Expression of Faith
  • Prayer Is a Weapon of Attack
  • Persistent Prayer is Required to Change Certain Situations
  • Prayer Is a Means of Fellowship
  • Prayer Is the Means by Which God Fills Believers with the Holy Spirit
  • Prayer Is Challenging
  • Endnotes
  • Chapter 9. Conclusion
  • Endnotes
  • Bibliography
  • Index


In corporate America, when a business is not making a profit, more often than not there will be a reexamination of its business model, corporate culture, and leadership issues. Whatever is wrong is corrected and the business is returned back to profitability, even if it means removing the CEO of the company. The same principle can be seen in sports teams. Coaches are removed or forced to resign, and new coaches are appointed in order to win. We all like to win; no one is in business to fail but to make a profit. However, when it comes to the most important business, the “kingdom business,” the expansion of the kingdom of God, we do not apply the same principles. We rarely examine our presuppositions, the model of making disciples, or our plan for extending the kingdom of God. We seldom hear of church leaders being removed from office for not living out their faith or reaching the lost.

Although there are churches all over North America, many churches have failed to reach the lost for Christ, transformed cities, or expand the kingdom of God. Churches that are planted seem weak, spiritually anemic, and more of a monument than a movement. With changes in culture, globalization, and immigration, especially as related to North America, I believe it is time to reexamine the method of reaching and expanding the kingdom of God through church planting. Personally, I have seen myself as a student and ← vii | viii → observer of North American culture. I have an outsider’s perspective, which can be good or bad; but my sincere wish is that the observations recorded in this book will enhance the cause of the gospel, reach our cities for Christ, and transform individuals.

The premise of this book is that Jesus is the model for life and ministry, as he said, “As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.”1 What does this passage mean in church planting terms? How do we apply the concept of being “sent” within contemporary North America? This region of the world is much like early first-century A.D. Asia Minor, populated by a mosaic of people from all nations, tribes, and language groups. My conviction is that church planting, which has been practiced thus far by the majority of the North American churches, has been unduly influenced by cultures and traditions rather than a well-thought-out missiological application of theological convictions.

This book is divided into nine sequential chapters, and they should be read that way. However, each chapter can stand alone, as each topic is discussed independently. Chapter 1 argues that previous church planting books have been biased toward the Great Commission passage in Matthew and Pauline practices as found in Acts to the neglect of the Gospel of John. Consequently, the contemporary North American church has missed the pattern set by Jesus for life and ministry. This chapter also reexamines Jesus’ ministry and demands that the church return to the pattern he set: “As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you” (John 20:21).

To underscore the need for the church to return to the biblical standard, chapter 2 demonstrates how church planting models currently practiced in North America are deeply rooted in the ecclesiological practices of the Euro-American immigrants’ traditions rather than a careful biblical reflection on how to reach lost people through church planting. Inasmuch as church planting is a spiritual task, it requires a good understanding of the culture and people where the church will be planted. Therefore, chapter 3 highlights some of the current demographic and cultural changes in North America and argues that the changes pose missiological challenges that are more complex than any mission field in the world. Consequently, this demographic shift requires a fresh look at our church planting methodology.

Chapter 4 makes a case for multicultural church planting by comparing North America to the Samaritans. Our people have come from every ethnolinguistic background to settle in North America, and we can never be like any other nation or people on earth. North America is a region in a state of ← viii | ix → flux from its founding period and will remain so because of immigration, the most significant factor influencing North America. Chapter 5 proposes a set of fundamental theological convictions for anyone interested in planting a multiethnic or multicultural church. It is my sincere conviction that in the absence of these basic theological convictions, the church planter likely will default to the familiar cultural methodologies that are foreign to the biblical Christian witness. Church planting should be transformative of lives and culture rather than confirmative of ideological principles.

Chapter 6 offers suggestions on practical issues involved in the multicultural church plant. Some challenges addressed include leadership questions, evangelistic strategies, worship styles, training of leadership, and strategic locations for new church plants. Chapter 7 looks beyond models and methods and insists that church planting is a spiritual warfare and transformation of hearts. Without this understanding, many of our principles and strategies amount to nothing because lives will not be transformed even if new converts join our churches.

In view of the fact that church planting is a spiritual warfare, chapter 8 addresses the role of prayer. Prayer remains God’s method of partnering with his children in the business of extending his kingdom. Therefore, prayer is not what you do when you have nothing to do; it is the strategy for extending God’s kingdom. Finally, in chapter 9, the book concludes with the place of love as an active lifestyle for church planters.

In the process of putting my thoughts together, I am highly indebted to friends, students, colleagues, and family members who have to endure my constant questionings, inquiries, and frustrations. Ms. Laekan Carter, my former administrative assistant, Mrs. Leah Frazier, my current administrative assistant, and Ms. Lindsay Holder, a former student, offered their time to read my manuscript and make some useful suggestions. Ms. Beth Ramirez offered reviews that made the book easier to read. My colleague, Dr. Page Brooks, also read the initial manuscript and shared valuable insights. His church, Mosaic New Orleans, is setting an example of a multicultural church plant. My students were helpful in dialoguing some issues raised in this book. My special thanks to one particular student, Mitch Bryant, who became not just my student, but a personal friend and special assistant. To my wife, Catherine, and my children, who were patient with me and allowed me the time needed to complete the work, I am most grateful. Dr. Ron Shepard and Rev. Gary Irby believed in me before anyone else could recognize the gift and calling of God in my life. Dr. Enoch Wan encouraged me and offered to publish many of my ← ix | x → ideas as a series of articles; the feedback and critical reviews of the readers helped sharpen my ideas in their current form. Finally, I am appreciative of all the assistance received from my brother and friend, Dr. Chinaka S. DomNwachukwu, and my senior colleague, Dr. Jimmy Dukes.

Above all, I am grateful to God for teaching me and opening my eyes to see and understand all that I have shared. Like Jeremiah of old, “If I say, ‘I will not mention him, or speak any more in his name,’ there is in my heart as it were a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I am weary with holding it in, and I cannot” (Jer. 20:9). It is my prayer that this book not only will contribute to the growing literature in the field of church planting but also will force the North American church to reexamine the ways churches are planted.


  1  John 20:21. All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from English Standard Version. ← x | 1 →

·  1  ·

Most church planting books and their theological bases for planting churches have been biased toward the Great Commission passage in Matthew and Pauline practices as found in Acts to the neglect of the Gospel of John. Consequently, the contemporary church has missed the pattern set by Jesus for ministry and church planting.

Common Understanding


X, 173
ISBN (Hardcover)
Publication date
2014 (May)
Jesus Middle East spiritual warfare
New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, Oxford, Wien, 2014. 173 pp.

Biographical notes

Damian Emetuche (Author)

Damian O. Emetuche is an experienced missionary, church planter, and missiologist. He served as a church-planting strategist for the Northwest Baptist Convention’s Puget Sound Metro-Region. He was an adjunct professor at Bakke Graduate University in Seattle before joining New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary as Assistant Professor of Church Planting. He has also served as a National Missionary of the North American Mission Board. Dr. Emetuche obtained his PhD in Missions/cultural anthropology from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky.


Title: The Future of Church Planting in North America
book preview page numper 1
book preview page numper 2
book preview page numper 3
book preview page numper 4
book preview page numper 5
book preview page numper 6
book preview page numper 7
book preview page numper 8
book preview page numper 9
book preview page numper 10
book preview page numper 11
book preview page numper 12
book preview page numper 13
book preview page numper 14
book preview page numper 15
book preview page numper 16
book preview page numper 17
book preview page numper 18
book preview page numper 19
book preview page numper 20
book preview page numper 21
book preview page numper 22
book preview page numper 23
book preview page numper 24
book preview page numper 25
book preview page numper 26
book preview page numper 27
book preview page numper 28
book preview page numper 29
book preview page numper 30
book preview page numper 31
book preview page numper 32
book preview page numper 33
book preview page numper 34
book preview page numper 35
book preview page numper 36
book preview page numper 37
186 pages