What You Need to Build a Church | Sam Waldron

by | Aug 9, 2022 | Church Planting, Missions



Recently I visited a group of folks interested in starting a church. I think what I shared with them might be useful to many others who follow this blog. Thus, I share an edited version of what I said to them with you.

I am here this morning with a question in my mind. Is there a church to be planted among you here in …. But that question begs another question; and it is one which I believe God wants me to help you answer this morning. What do you need to build a church? This is the question that pestered me until I answered it from Scripture. The answer is that you need at least five things.

I. Spiritual Builder

II. Spiritual Foundation

III. Spiritual Stones

IV. Spiritual Mortar

V. Spiritual Laborers


I. Spiritual Builder

This is made clear first from Scripture and then from the Confession of faith.

Psalm 127:1 Unless the LORD builds the house, They labor in vain who build it; Unless the LORD guards the city, The watchman keeps awake in vain.

Hebrews 11:10 for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.

Matthew 16:18 “And I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades shall not overpower it.

1689 Baptist Confession: Chapter 26, Paragraph 5: “In the execution of this power wherewith he is so entrusted, the Lord Jesus calleth out of the world unto himself, through the ministry of his Word, by his Spirit, those that are given unto him by his Father, that they may walk before him in all the ways of obedience, which he prescribeth to them in his Word. Those thus called, he commandeth to walk together in particular societies or churches, for their mutual edification and the due performance of that public worship, which he requireth of them in the world.”


Important Practical Applications:

  • The main question to be answered is this: Is God building a church here?
  • The main thing to be done is to pray for God to build a church.
  • The main concern to be considered is pleasing that God and doing God’s work God’s way.
  • The main means to be used are the God-appointed means of preaching the Word and observing His ordinances for the church.


II. Spiritual Foundation

A. What Does the Scripture Teach?   

  1. It teaches that Christ is the foundation of the church. Cf. 1 Corinthians 3:11: “For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.”
  1. It teaches that in order to have Christ as the foundation of the church must have a foundation in the teaching of the Apostles of Christ.

Matthew 16:18 “And I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades shall not overpower it.

Ephesians 2:20 having been built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone,

Revelation 21:14 And the wall of the city had twelve foundation stones, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

Why must the church have an apostolic foundation? The Apostles of Christ are the guardians and standards of the true teaching about the Christ. Cf. 1 John 4:6: “We are from God; he who knows God listens to us; he who is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.”

  1. It teaches that a local church must agree about what the apostolic teaching is.

Once more this is clear first from Scripture and then from the 1689 Baptist Confession.

KJV Amos 3:3 Can two walk together, except they be agreed?

NASB Amos 3:3 Do two men walk together unless they have made an appointment?

1 Corinthians 1:10 Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree, and there be no divisions among you, but you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment.

1689 Baptist Confession: Chapter 26, Paragraph 2: All persons throughout the world, professing the faith of the gospel and obedience unto God by Christ according unto it, not destroying their own profession by any errors everting the foundation, or unholiness of conversation, are and may be called visible saints; and of such ought all particular congregations to be constituted.


B. What Is the Practical Application?

The church has adopted creeds, confessions, and catechisms throughout its history in order to clarify what they believe the apostolic foundation is. Why? Because heretics and false teachers have claimed to believe in Christ and the Scriptures, but they have actually denied Christ and the truth of the Scriptures. Hence, local churches have adopted confessions in order to make sure they are in agreement and all say the same thing about who Christ is and what the gospel is.

The 1689 Baptist Confession has been a wonderfully useful confession of the apostolic foundation of the church around which Baptist churches have been uniting for over 300 years. While do not claim infallibility for it, we believe that it is a faithful and full statement of apostolic foundation of the church. If others feel there is a better confessional foundation, they are welcome to build churches on that foundation. As for the elders of GRBC Owensboro, we have limited resources and time. We are only committed to planting churches which will take this confession as their foundation. In order to have a practical basis for starting the work I recommend that the church-planting work temporarily adopt the constitution of the church assisting in the planting. Later they can adopt their own constitution suited as they see fit to their own local situation.


III. Spiritual Stones

Cf. 1 Peter 2:4-9:And coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected by men, but choice and precious in the sight of God, 5 you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6 For this is contained in Scripture: “Behold I lay in Zion a choice stone, a precious corner stone, And he who believes in Him shall not be disappointed.” 7 This precious value, then, is for you who believe. But for those who disbelieve, “The stone which the builders rejected, This became the very corner stone,” 8 and, “A stone of stumbling and a rock of offense”; for they stumble because they are disobedient to the word, and to this doom they were also appointed. 9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light …”

To build a house or temple you need spiritual stones or spiritual bricks. As the 1689 Chapter 26:2 said above, the church must be composed of visible saints—spiritual stones. One of the first tasks in building a church is to determine that there are really spiritual stones available to build a church.


IV. Spiritual Mortar

Once more let us consider Scripture first; and then the confession.

Ephesians 2:21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together is growing into a holy temple in the Lord …

Ephesians 2:22 in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.

These spiritual stones must be cemented together into one spiritual house or local church. They are not a temple of God or a church of God while they lay dispersed across the yard of the lot. They must be built together into a single house. This spiritual mortar is, of course, a spiritual commitment—a covenant commitment—to a particular local church.

1689 Baptist Confession: Chapter 26, Paragraph 6: The members of these churches are saints by calling, visibly manifesting and evidencing (in and by their profession and walking) their obedience unto that call of Christ; and do willingly consent to walk together, according to the appointment of Christ; giving up themselves to the Lord and one to another, by the will of God, in professed subjection to the ordinances of the gospel.

In a virgin missionary situation, of course, when a person was baptized they would be not only committing themselves to the Lord, but immediately committing themselves to the incipient local church being built by the apostle or missionary. We are not in such a situation. There are hundreds of churches all around us wherever we are in the United States. There must be by those already baptized a special act of commitment to one another: a special commitment to the particular local church and its members. This is, of course, scriptural. It is an outgrowth of the command to maintain unity with one another in 1 Corinthians 1:10 and Ephesians 4:1-6.


V. Spiritual Laborers

Consider these Scriptures:

1 Corinthians 3:9 For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.

1 Thessalonians 5:12 But we request of you, brethren, that you appreciate those who diligently labor among you, and have charge over you in the Lord and give you instruction …

It should not be surprising to you when I say that houses and temples do not put themselves together. Laborers are needed. In the church human laborers to build churches are also a practical necessity. How might you have laborers to build a local church among you? There are several answers to this question depending on the stage of church-planting we are talking about.


  • At the earliest stage of church-planting, you should seek the assistance of an existing eldership of a local church. This should probably take the form of a written letter signed by the prospective members of the church to be planted. This eldership can begin the process of church-planting by conducting worship, preaching, and recruiting preachers from other churches to help you. When the decision is made to form a local church, they can interview prospective members and constitute the new church.
  • Perhaps during the first stage a church-planter or church-planters may be identified to work under the existing eldership in order to form a church.
  • Hopefully soon after the formation of a new church, the church should call its own elders to continue the work of laboring among them. The consent of the members of the new church is, of course, essential to the calling of men to be their elders.

Follow Us In Social Media

Subscribe via Email

Sign up to get notified of new CBTS Blog posts.

Man of God phone

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This