W. Austin Gardner
How to plant an indigenous church 10
The indigenous church follows the New Testament pattern. He left a trail of local assemblies that were carrying on the same work that he did wherever Paul went. The word "church" or "churches" is mentioned in the bible 114 times. Paul writes nine of his letters to local churches and the others to individuals. In Acts, Paul leaves a trail of local churches in his wake and even speaks of how he organizes them. Acts 20:17-32.
As Paul plans to leave, he calls several pastors or elders to explain everything to them. He is concerned for the church which Jesus purchased with his blood. He leaves instructions to care for the church and to see that "his flock" is cared for.
Paul also wrote to one of his disciples and let him know that his job was to set the churches in order and help them ordain pastors, etc. Paul was concerned for the local church. He took time to organize, and even when he didn't or couldn't, he left one of his disciples to do so. The indigenous church is the New Testament pattern. Titus 1:5
A study of Paul's first missionary journey shows that he organized local churches and commended them to the Lord. The book of Acts reveals him returning to the churches he founded to see that all still goes well in each church and that the folks are staying faithful. We see him writing letters to his churches for the very same reason. Acts 14:21-27
Those who do the work of the New Testament missionary must concern themselves with the starting and maturing of indigenous Baptist churches. The Bible Institute can never be an end in itself but rather must be a "means to the ends" of planting indigenous Baptist churches.
Jesus was concerned with the building of the church (Matthew 16:18), as were apostles. Throughout history, the local church is what has shaped our own country. History shows the influence of the Methodist circuit rider and his small churches and the Baptists who did the same thing. It was small groups of people gathering together to study God's word, obeying him in winning souls, and observing the local church's ordinances that have carried the gospel to each of us. We must teach those who follow us to do the same.