“Local congregations are intended to be outposts of the kingdom, where the doors of the kingdom are swinging wide.”
– Charles L. Cheney
The Biblical Foundation
Uptown Church is committed to planting new churches in Charlotte, across the US and around the world. We have this commitment for one simple reason: it is biblical. When Jesus gave his Great Commission to the Apostles, and through them to the church, his intention was that the Great Commission would be fulfilled through the starting of new churches in each new community where the Gospel was proclaimed.
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
– Matthew 28:19-20
The fulfillment of this commandment can only be realized through the establishment of biblical churches. The command to make disciples requires authority in order to bring discipline into the life of the one being discipled. True authority is given not to isolated individuals but to church officers, to elders and deacons who serve within the context of a church. (Matthew 16:18-19) The command to baptize is not given to private individuals, for the sacraments are ordinances of the church, administered by her officers who alone have the authority to baptize into church membership. The command “teaching them to observe all” calls for the authoritative preaching of the whole counsel of God, not merely evangelism, the mission of biblical preaching within the church.
The very heart of the Great Commission then is only fully realized by the three marks of the church, the presence of biblical church government, the right administration of the sacraments and the preaching of the Word.
The Apostles recognized that Jesus had given them one central mission strategy: the starting of new churches among every tribe, tongue, people, and nation. Everywhere the Apostle Paul went, for example, he did not merely preach the Gospel, but formed the believers into local churches, with government, sacraments, and Word.
“When they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch, strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God. And when they had appointed elders for them in every church, with prayer and fasting they committed them to the Lord in whom they had believed.” – Acts 14:21-23
Paul, in fact, considered any evangelistic enterprise incomplete if the believers were not formed into a local church with their own elders who could discipline, administer the sacraments and preach the Word. Thus tells Titus: “This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you.” (Titus 1:5)
The Missions Imperative
Down through the centuries and all over the world today the Kingdom of God presses forward through the establishment and growth of local congregations of believers. “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock, I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18) Recognizing the biblical mandate for church planting our denomination, the PCA, has adopted this goal as part of its mission statement:
“The PCA aims to fill the world with churches that are continually growing in vital worship, in theological depth, in true fellowship, in assertive evangelism, and in deeds of compassion.”
During a world-wide missions consultation known as Amsterdam 2000, missions strategists adopted this same view for fulfilling the Great Commission:
“To work toward the planting of churches within every remaining people group as we seek to evangelize and make disciples.”
Missions specialists have long recognized the necessity of church planting for effective evangelism to occur. Dr. Peter Wagner of the Fuller Theological School of World Mission has said:
“The single most effective evangelistic strategy under heaven is the planting of new churches.”
Uptown has helped to plant several daughter churches in Charlotte, additionally it has assisted in the establishment of dozens of churches locally. Across the US, Uptown has sent out church planting pastors and helped to fund numerous new plants from California to New England. Around the world, Uptown Church has assisted in establishing new churches on several continents, including the start of daughter churches in Prague, the Czech Republic, and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. One of our deepest prayers is that the Lord will continue to raise up leaders from Uptown Church to venture out to plant new churches for Christ in cities around the world.