Monthly Archives: September 2013

Note from the Editor: The following article originally appeared HERE at the Gospel Coalition page.


I’ve never fought in a war, but I’ve read my share of war stories, watched my share of war documentaries, and visited my share of war memorials. Every war had some objective, some overriding purpose that drove men to sacrifice their lives.

Spiritual warfare is no different. What is the overriding goal of spiritual warfare? To plunder the enemy. Spiritual warfare is about rescuing sinners enslaved to Satan and his kingdom. It’s about conversion—the transfer of precious souls from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of God’s beloved Son (Col. 1:13-15).

Plundering Satan’s kingdom is the mission of the church and of the church planter. When Jesus charged the apostles to “make disciples of all the nations,” they responded by preaching the gospel and planting churches, plundering the enemy’s kingdom one soul (or 3,000) at a time (Acts 2:40-47). And we’ll be plundering our enemy until Christ returns, when converts from every tribe and tongue and people and nation will worship the Lamb forever and ever.

Church Planting and False Conversions

If church planting is to be ultimately about conversion, church planters must be more than good neighbors. We must be faithful gospel heralds and competent soul physicians.

Most of you reading this article have already embraced the need for gospel clarity. But why all this talk about conversion? Isn’t conversion a matter between the individual and God? Don’t we believe that, once saved, always saved? Will not God save his elect?

Yes, yes, and of course, yes. And yet, Jesus and the apostles spoke often about true conversion. They knew what was at stake, and they wanted their listeners to be clear. They warned the people against false faith—unfruitful faith (Mark 4:1-20), spurious faith (John 8:30-58), vain faith (1 Cor. 15:1-4), devil faith (James 2:14-26). They warned them not to be deceived—about themselves, or about anyone else (see Gal. 5:19-241 Cor. 6:9-101 John 3:4-10). And then there’s that most haunting warning, in Matthew 7:21-23:

Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name cast out demons, and in your name perform many miracles?” And then I will declare to them, “I never knew you; depart from me you who practice lawlessness.”

Church Planters as Soul Physicians

Church planters must be clear on the nature of conversion because false conversions abound, and precious, eternal souls are at stake. Jonathan Edwards was right when he said there is no question of greater importance to mankind. And, for pastors and church planters, the question takes on particular importance, as they will one day give an account for the souls in their flock (Heb. 13:17).

That’s why The Gospel Coalition, 9Marks, Sovereign Grace Ministries, and The NETS Institute for Church Planting are joining forces in Boston this fall for a TGC regional conference called Plant New England. On October 14 and 15, churches, church planters, pastors, and lay people from throughout New England will gather to become better plunderers, better soul physicians. We’ll be learning from men like Mark Dever, Stephen Um, Jim Hamilton, Collin Hansen, and Owen Strachan. And our theme? True Conversion: Church Planters as Soul Physicians.

The battle rages on, but the objective remains unchanged: rescuing precious souls from the kingdom of darkness. Will you pray for us as we become better warriors for the soul?


Wes Pastor is founder and president of The NETS Institute for Church Planting. NETS has church plants in Vermont, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine, and is preparing to launch churches in Rhode Island and Connecticut. In 1992, Wes planted Christ Memorial Church, where he continues to serve as senior minister.


An invitation from David Platt to participate in the Multiply Gathering live stream on Friday, November 8, 2013. Register here, then invite your family, friends, co-workers, and acquaintances to join the webcast by reposting this video on Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, and other social media outlets.

Sometimes preparation for our time of meeting together with someone to discuss the truths of God’s Word doesn’t go as we planned. Maybe you get sick, your wife gets sick, or you have to take care of a situation involving your kids. Now you’re left with almost no time to read through the material. Well fear not! All is not lost.

Did you know that each lesson from the Multiply material has an accompanying audio version read by Francis Chan?

Screen shot 2013-09-09 at 1.20.07 PMAs you can see above, by simply clicking on the “Listen To This Section” link, you can easily listen to the lesson in situations where you not be able to read it. Even if you have read the material, you might want to use this feature to review what you’ve read.

However you use it, we hope this feature will be another helpful tool as you seek to build up others in the faith.

Making disciples necessitates biblical truth. If the worship of God is our ultimate goal, then we must teach about God as he has revealed himself in Scripture. And taking it one step further, we must teach others how to learn from Scripture themselves. With the importance of this Bible study in mind, watch this video of David and Francis giving some helpful reminders, and be encouraged to lead well in this area.

This leader video corresponds to Part III, Section 3 of the Multiply material. As you go through the Multiply material, be sure to check out the other leader videos for more helpful hints and encouragement.

Roads DivergingWhat happens when you are mentoring someone and that person’s beliefs start to differ from yours? You are teaching them the Word, loving and encouraging them, and spending time with them on a regular basis. So wouldn’t the natural outcome be that this younger believer eventually becomes a theological carbon copy of you? Or, if you are the one being mentored, wouldn’t it make the most sense for you to believe everything your mentor believes?

Unfortunately, it isn’t usually this easy. Beliefs don’t always match up, even in a mentoring relationship.

North Carolina pastor Andrew Davis recently addressed this scenario on The Gospel Coalition blog. In his brief article, he explains why mentors and “mentorees” hold differing views and how to travel on once those two roads have diverged.

Read Pastor Davis’ full article here.

Multiply_Full Banner_BlackAs you seek to make disciples, we want to help by providing resources and materials that communicate foundational biblical truths. Toward that end, we have gathered together a list of helpful materials for individuals or small groups to walk through together.

We’ve divided these recommended resources up according to the various needs that groups may have. Whether you’re meeting with an unbeliever, going through some essential biblical truths, or wanting to dig deeper, we recommend the following resources. As with any resource, read the following with discernment:



Digging Deep