WHY CHURCH PLANTING?
Westside is a church plant committed to planting other churches. In fact, our passion towards local, national and global missions flows through our desire to plant other Jesus-loving, gospel-proclaiming churches.
When Westside was first launched in 2005 I was occasionally asked: “What are you doing to reach Vancouver?” My answer was always the same: “We planted a church that is committed to planting churches that we pray will be committed to planting others.” For example, we planted Christ City Church in south Vancouver in 2013, which has since launched another and is planning on launching another yet again in the Fall of 2019.
But why church planting? We get this question frequently and I understand where it comes from. Many well-intentioned people have pointed out that there are no guarantees in church planting. I couldn’t agree more. In fact, history shows that the majority of church plants fail. But based on that logic then we shouldn’t bother sharing Jesus with our friends and neighbours, after all, most conversations don’t seem to bear much fruit. But that’s not the way of Jesus. We are called to faithfulness; we are called to plant and water and rely on God who gives the growth (I Cor. 3:7). Simply, we are called to go and bear witness to the greatness of the glory of Jesus and do so through the church (Matthew 28:19, Acts 1:8, Eph. 3:10)).
We are also asked periodically is, “Aren’t there enough churches in the city and nation already?” That really depends on how one defines church. If you equate church with a building alone, then yes, there are a lot of churches in our nation. However, if you define church as the Body of Christ committed to reaching their communities for Jesus, who preach the necessity of personal repentance, and believe the Bible is God’s authoritative word, then no, there aren’t as many churches in the nation as one may think.
Additionally, it’s important to realize that 300 plus churches close their doors every year in Canada, that 80% of all existing churches have plateaued or are declining, and that well over 90% of all people in Canada don’t attend an evangelical church of any sort. And therefore, the need is great, but excitingly, the harvest is also white and plentiful (Luke 10:2). Some respond to these numbers by saying, “But you don’t need to attend a church to be a Christian.” I agree, we are saved by grace after all, but those who love Jesus aren’t only to obey His commands but love His Bride too, however messy she can sometimes be. (John 14:15; 10:25).
But in addition to the need for more churches are the beautiful effects of church planting in the lives of individual believers. Church planting dictates the need for individual involvement, it demands local missional activity, it necessitates leadership from those who have never led before, and it deconstructs the idea that missions happens only “out there.” It also forces one to pray like they’ve never prayed before.
In the Spring of 2009, Westside planted Reality Church Vancouver, which gathers on Vancouver's eastside. In 2012, Westside planted a campus on Vancouver’s north shore that moved to stand-alone status in 2018 as The Shore Church. In September 2013, Christ City Church was planted in south Vancouver and, as mentioned, has gone on to plant Christ City Kitsilano in 2017 and will be launching Christ City East Vancouver in 2019. Westside also had the joy of planting TriCity Church in Coquitlam in 2017 with partner churches, Northview Church and Crossridge Church. In 2020, we are planting, by God’s grace, The Church at Sage Creek in Winnipeg, Manitoba (our first church plant outside the Lower Mainland).
To continue facilitating Church planting within the Lower Mainland, across Canada and, Lord willing, to the nations, we began “Westside Training,” a ministry designed to train, equip and mobilize the current and next generation of Church Leaders, Ministry Directors, Pastors and Church Planters. To this end, we have created a discipleship pathway with Internship, Apprenticeship, and Church Planting Residency streams to assist in the mission of Making Jesus Known.
By God’s grace and favour, we will continue to participate in Kingdom building as we venture forward and wherever the Spirit leads ….
In this together,