From the footnotes of Rick Love’s paper Following Jesus in a Glocalized World:
What about the term, “church planting?” I believe it miscommunicates at a number of levels, so I prefer the term “gospel planting” for three reasons:
(1) “Gospel planting” is more biblical and accurate. Nowhere does the New Testament imply that we plant the church. But it does teach that we plant the gospel. The parable of the sower makes this most clear.
(2) “Gospel planting” helps us envision our task more clearly. The term “church planting” implies that we bring the church from the outside. To use another metaphor, “church planting” implies that we plant the gospel seed along with a flower pot. The church is then foreign rather than indigenous. “Gospel planting” implies that we sow the gospel seed, and churches spring up from indigenous soil.
(3) “Gospel planting” is more Christ-centered than “church planting,” since Jesus is the gospel.
Paul the apostle linked his apostolic aims and ambitions with the gospel. His “apostolic self-description” indicates that his goal was the gospel. His work resulted in communities of Jesus’ followers. He loved and suffered for these communities of faith. But he linked his apostolic aims and ambitions with the gospel:
“Paul, a bond-servant of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God” (Romans 1:1 NASB).
“However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace” (Acts 20:24 NIV).
“And thus I aspired to preach the gospel, not where Christ was already named, so that I would not build on another man’s foundation” (Romans 15:20 NASB).
“I do all things for the sake of the gospel, so that I may become a fellow partaker of it” (1 Corinthians 9:23 NASB).
“I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness … ” (Colossians 1:25).
“To me, the very least of all saints, this grace [of apostleship] was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ” (Ephesians 3:8).
“But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that through me the proclamation might be fully accomplished, and that all the Gentiles might hear” (2 Timothy 4:17).
In my previous post, Decline of the Church Planting Movement Strategy?, “Mark” criticized church planting movements, but from a different angle.