The following is adapted from a charge that David Sitton gave during To Every Tribe’s recent orientation week for a new group of missionaries starting their training at the Center for Pioneer Church Planting and was recently featured in To Every Tribe’s latest edition of Ekballo Magazine.
The reason To Every Tribe began, and the reason our training arm, the Center for Pioneer Church Planting exists, is the compelling conviction that pioneer church planting is primary and essential to complete the mission of the Great Commission. Many things are important, but none in mission are more important than this.
Paul emphasizes the point in Romans: “How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent?” (Romans 10:14-15b).
A pioneer, by definition, is one who begins something new and prepares the way for others to follow—one who is among the first to explore new regions. One cannot be a pioneer and also demand infrastructure to be in place before one’s boots are even on the ground. Pioneers oftentimes don’t have roads—sometimes literally, but always figuratively. Pioneers carve out the first roads themselves so that others may follow. Someone has to go first.
The guts of pioneer church planting are the essential elements of establishing a community of believers within a culture where a witness of Jesus has never existed. These gut ingredients include a variety of things such as vision, philosophies, strategies, methodologies, and, not to be overlooked, the actual apostolic church planters necessary to enact these priorities through the power of the Holy Spirit.