How Does Church Planting Relate to God’s Mission?

Every church involved in a new church, and every church planter starting one, needs to answer the question: what is church planting?

For some, the word planting comes across as insider language. In the sub-culture of the church planting world there is an entire language mostly unknown to the outside. We’ve all heard of planters talk about “doing a parachute drop church plant,” or “starting with a launch team.” What do these words even mean? More importantly, what is church planting about?

That’s an essential question, really.

Church Planting or Church Starting?

When we talk about church planting it can be a little different than church starting. What’s the difference? Well, I think church starting happens a lot of ways. The most popular church starting strategy involves a group of people getting mad, leaving their home church, and starting another church. In most cases I wouldn’t advise this strategy.

Church planting, on the other hand, involves an individual, mother church, and/or a group of people going out to start a church for the purpose of engaging a community through gospel proclamation and demonstration.

Church plating, unlike church starting, should/must be mission driven.

Church planting grows in the soil of lostness (hence “planting”) where men and women far from God are challenged with the claims of the gospel of Jesus Christ by a group of intentional believers.

Church Planting and Gospel Movements

Church planting is about planting the gospel. And growth in church planting comes from making disciples.

As such, any movement of churches that’s going to be serious about reaching the lost world is going to be involved in church planting. In fact, most of us who write in the field of mission believe that any movement or denomination desiring to grow through conversion should aim for at least a three percent rate of church planting every year. (Take a look– most growing groups and denominations have over that percent and most declining ones have under that percent.)

Think of it this way, if a movement has a hundred churches one year they need to plant three the next year– at the very least.

Church planting is essential to the growth of the Kingdom and the work of Christ through His church. The networks, movements, and denominations that are thriving are thriving because they’re planting new churches. The key thing to remember here is that church planting is reaching lost people through the making of disciples that then gather into congregations.

Planting and the Mission of God

How does church planting relate to the mission of God? The mission of God is bigger than church planting, but it certainly includes church planting. Why? You can’t love Jesus and despise His wife. The church is the bride of Christ, and if you love the work of Christ you love the church.

Now, you and I both know that the church is a mess sometimes. While the church is the stunning bride of Christ, she sometimes looks more like Shrek than she does beautiful. But again, you can’t love Jesus and hate His wife.

Ultimately if you’re going to love the mission of God, you have to love the church of God which is sent out for the mission of God. Ephesians 3:10 tells us God has chosen the church to make known His manifold wisdom. Therefore the church is the tool or instrument of His Kingdom agenda.

If you want to change the world, and if you want to see God at work in the world, plant change agent churches. I think anyone who loves Jesus and His church would, by extension, love and be about the mission of God proclaiming the gospel of Christ– and that is done effectively through church planting.

Conclusion

So is it the mission more than planting?

Yes, it certainly is more than that. Is every church that’s planted necessarily a good thing? No, there are always exceptions, but as a whole, I think church planting is integral to the advance of the Kingdom. And more church plants doing more of what God wants us to do is a good thing.

For this reason I think church planting and multiplication is so essential to the mission of God.

None of our churches should be a cul-de-sac on the Great Commission highway.

Instead, as we plant churches that plant churches that plant churches, the Kingdom advances. The gospel is preached, men and women become believers, churches are formed, and those churches become agents of gospel transformation.

So, want to be missional? Great– just don’t forget church planting.

Read more from Ed here.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ed Stetzer

Ed Stetzer

Ed Stetzer, Ph.D., holds the Billy Graham Chair of Church, Mission, and Evangelism at Wheaton College and serves as Executive Director of the Billy Graham Center for Evangelism. He has planted, revitalized, and pastored churches, trained pastors and church planters on six continents, holds two masters degrees and two doctorates, and has written dozens of articles and books. Previously, he served as Executive Director of LifeWay Research. Stetzer is a contributing editor for Christianity Today, a columnist for Outreach Magazine, and is frequently cited or interviewed in news outlets such as USAToday and CNN. He serves as interim pastor of Moody Church in Chicago.

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COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Joel Sprenger — 07/14/13 12:40 am

My thoughts for what they are worth. - The problem with all church plants in a de-christianizing society like ours is that they compete with already existing churches. Actions speak louder than words and the action of planting a church speaks loudly to the pagans that we believe that God cares about our denomination and the teachings and practices that are unique there-to. There are very few Bible verses that say in effect 'believe thusly', not zero but very few. Compare that to the number of verses that say 'act thusly'. This should give us some idea of what is important to God. Something that I think would help the The Church immensely is if all believers would memorize John 17:20-23 right after they memorize John 3:16,

Recent Comments
What happens when u dont have a meeting place any more. And u was forced out because the buliding wasnt available any more.
 
— Debra
 
If someone wants entertainment they're going to the wrong place. Church is not a place for entertainment...or in my opinion a barrage of coffee and donuts. Why are churches today bringing the world INTO them? Then there's the thing with children...age appropriate??? These little guys can pick stuff up in service. Besides Jesus said Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. Mt. 19:14.
 
— Laurie
 
I love the intentionality here as well as the challenge to look at the data. That's missing so many times. I would like to offer a contrarian's take. Church members and regular attenders have so many ways to get information: Announcements, bulletins, social channels, relationships, and email being among the options. But brand new people are likely going to check out the website and that's it. It might be wiser for churches with limited time and resources to focus their website almost exclusively to guests. This group of people isn't looking for a calendar of events but wants to know about regular programs. They probably aren't interested in watching all of the messages but instead may want to preview one of the services. For the times we need church members to go to websites (sign up for camp, join a group, etc), we're probably better off designing and promoting a specific page rather than cluttering up the homepage.
 
— Michael Lukaszewski (@mlukaszewski)
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Being Crazy and 7 Other Traits of Church Planters

How do you know if you might make a good church planter? There are great online tools to help determine your readiness to plant and every church planting network and denomination has some form of formal assessment, if you feel called to plant that’s where you should start.

But what if you don’t know if you’re called? What if you just kind of wonder if planting a church (or helping plant a church) might be in your future? Here are eight traits based on eight biblical characters that might indicate you have the stuff to start a church from scratch.

(SPOILER ALERT: IT STARTS WITH BEING CRAZY!)

You might be a church planter if…

> You’re crazy like Noah

Noah didn’t know how to build a boat, gather animals or run a floating zoo, but when God said build the Ark Noah grabbed a hammer and a saw and went to work. His neighbors were right, Noah was a little nuts.

Church planters are a little nuts. They look at people far from God and see future church elders. They look at a run down middle school and see a great place to have church. They look at a tatted up bar singer and see a potential worship leader.

Most of the successful church planters I know are a little crazy.

> You’re arrogant like Nehemiah

Nehemiah had the audacity to believe that a ragtag group of rejects could be turned into a top-notch building crew. He thought this newly assembled crew could rebuild a massive wall, that laid in ruins for 70 years, in a matter of weeks. And Nehemiah thought he was just the man to lead the project. Nehemiah was a little arrogant.

A church planter goes to a city where the vast majority of people don’t attend church, where dozens of churches with massive budgets and bloated staffs are slowly dying, a community where a dozen leaders before him have failed to build a sustainable church. He looks at the dismal statistics and says, “I can do this.”

Surviving as a church planter requires a little arrogance.

> You’re determined like Caleb

When Caleb is 80 years old he goes to his long time friend Joshua and says, “Listen, dude. I have done everything you’ve asked me to do. I have fought side-by-side with you to drive the heathens from the Promised Land for 40 years. I’ve put up with the yammering and complaining of the Israelites. I’ve eaten so much manna and quail I can’t face another chicken sandwich. Now, GIVE ME MY MOUNTAIN!”

Church planters struggle understanding the word “No”. When the school says “No” they hear, “Not today, come back tomorrow.” When their next door neighbor says, “NO” they hear, “Not yet.” When the high-capacity potential volunteer says “No” they hear “I don’t quite understand the vision.”

Great church planters are determined not to fail.

> You party like Matthew

When Matthew realizes Jesus is the long-awaited Messiah he doesn’t build a church, he doesn’t call a priest and he doesn’t write a poem; Matthew throws a party. And based on the guest list, Matthews gang of tax collectors and sinners, its likely a party to be remembered. The cops may or may not have been called.

Church planters who reach people who aren’t church shopping, people who don’t even think about church, know how to throw an epic party. There is music, there is laughter, things sometimes get a little out of hand. Church planting and party planning seem to go hand in hand.

Evangelistic church planters tend to party hard.

> You can lead a band of misfits like David

“David and his Mighty Men” sounds like a great title for a superhero movie. We have visions of brave soldiers straight out of the movie “300″ with square jaws, bulging muscles and wills of steel. But that isn’t who David’s mighty men were. Here’s their description from 1 Samuel 22:

“So David left Gath and escaped to the cave of Adullam. So his brothers and all his other relatives joined him there. Then others began coming-men who were in trouble or in debt or who were just discontented-until David was the captain of about 400 men.”

These “mighty men” were worthless malcontents running from the law. This was David’s leadership pipeline.

Church Planters build leaders from soon-to-be former drug addicts, deadbeat dads and unemployed blue-collar workers. The John Maxwell leaders play golf and attend a megachurch. Leaders in a church plant work the night shift and hang out at a bar. When I was trying to grow a church in Huffman, Texas my leader/misfits were a guy hiding from the IRS, a recovering cocaine addict and a guy who smoked a joint before church every Sunday morning to calm his  nerves.

> You’re passionate like Peter

Peter meets Elijah and Moses and responds, “Let’s build a hotel right here!”

Jesus instructs Peter on foot washing so Peter says, “Give me bath!”

Jesus says that all the disciples will leave him and Peter proclaims, “I will never deny you!”

Peter hops out of boat in the middle of a lake, cuts off a guy’s ear, cusses out a servant girl and sobs his guts out when he realizes the depth of his betrayal.

Everything Peter does he does with passion.

Church planters lead with their heart. Their heart breaks when a marriage fails, they party like its 1999 every time someone commits their life to Christ, they get so excited they can’t stand themselves after every baptism. Church planters are obnoxious on Twitter because their emotions are on display for the world to see. I haven’t met a successful stoic church planter. I’m just glad Peter didn’t have a Facebook page.

> You’re tenacious like Paul

The Apostle Paul just didn’t know when to quit

Five different times the Jewish leaders gave me thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked. Once I spent a whole night and a day adrift at sea. I have traveled on my long journeys. I have faced danger from rivers and from robbers. I have faced danger from my own people, the Jews, as well as from the Gentiles. I have faced danger in the cities, in the deserts, and on the seas. And I have faced danger from men who claim to be believers but ar not. I have worked hard and long, enduring many sleepless nights. I have been hungry and thirsty and have often gone without food. I have shivered in the cold, without enough clothing to keep me warm.

After the third or fourth beating any normal person would have said, “Well, that’s about it for me”, but Paul wasn’t a normal person, he was a church planter.

The single biggest difference between a successful church planter and one who doesn’t make it is tenacity. The ability to continue to work and change and adapt until he finds a way to reach people far from God and mold them into a local faith community. This is different than doing the same thing over and over and hoping this time things will work out differently (tenacity vs persistence). Church planters are crazy, not insane.

> You love your city like Jesus

Jerusalem, the city that rejected Jesus more than any other was the city he loved most. Not long before he was crucified just outside the walls Jesus wept over the city he longed to save. He knew returning to Jerusalem for his final passover sealed his fate, but he loved the city and what it represented so much he refused to stay way. And it cost him his life.

The truly successful church planter, the one who makes a lasting difference, is willing to lay down his life for his city. His heart is broken by the lostness he sees and he can’t imagine ministering anywhere else. If he has to work two jobs to feed his family he will. The one thing he won’t do is abandon his city.

 

Are you a church planter (or someone who will help plant a church)? Are you obsessed with a city? Are you willing to do anything to reach that city? Can you take a punch? Can you mold a group of losers and outcasts into a band of mighty men? If you’re just that crazy, then yes, you might be a church planter.

Read more from Geoff here.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Geoff Surratt

Geoff Surratt

Geoff lives in Denver, Colorado with his wife Sherry (CEO of MOPS International). Geoff and Sherry have two awesome kids (Mike and Brittainy), a wonderful daughter-in-law (Hilary) and the most beautiful granddaughter on earth (Maggie Claire) Geoff has served on staff at Seacoast Church and Saddleback Church. He is now the Director of Exponential and a freelance Church Catalyst and Encourager.

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COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Dr. Chuck Balsamo — 09/09/15 7:24 am

I'm so impressed with your awesome thoughts, Geoff! I'm planning to visit Denver soon. Would love to connect for an hour.

Recent Comments
What happens when u dont have a meeting place any more. And u was forced out because the buliding wasnt available any more.
 
— Debra
 
If someone wants entertainment they're going to the wrong place. Church is not a place for entertainment...or in my opinion a barrage of coffee and donuts. Why are churches today bringing the world INTO them? Then there's the thing with children...age appropriate??? These little guys can pick stuff up in service. Besides Jesus said Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. Mt. 19:14.
 
— Laurie
 
I love the intentionality here as well as the challenge to look at the data. That's missing so many times. I would like to offer a contrarian's take. Church members and regular attenders have so many ways to get information: Announcements, bulletins, social channels, relationships, and email being among the options. But brand new people are likely going to check out the website and that's it. It might be wiser for churches with limited time and resources to focus their website almost exclusively to guests. This group of people isn't looking for a calendar of events but wants to know about regular programs. They probably aren't interested in watching all of the messages but instead may want to preview one of the services. For the times we need church members to go to websites (sign up for camp, join a group, etc), we're probably better off designing and promoting a specific page rather than cluttering up the homepage.
 
— Michael Lukaszewski (@mlukaszewski)
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Tim Keller Answers the Question “Why Plant Churches”?

The vigorous, continual planting of new congregations is the single most crucial strategy for (1) the numerical growth of the body of Christ in a city and (2) the continual corporate renewal and revival of the existing churches in a city.

Nothing else—not crusades, outreach programs, parachurch ministries, growing mega- churches, congregational consulting, nor church renewal processes—will have the consistent impact of dynamic, extensive church planting. This is an eyebrow-raising statement, but to those who have done any study at all, it is not even controversial.

The normal response to discussions about church planting is something like this.

A. “We already have plenty of churches that have lots and lots of room for all the new people who have come to the area. Let’s get them filled before we start building any new ones.”

B. “Every church in this community used to be more full than it is now. The churchgoing public is a shrinking pie. A new church here will just take people from churches that are already hurting and will weaken everyone.”

C. “Help the churches that are struggling first. A new church doesn’t help the existing ones that are just keeping their noses above water. We need better churches, not more churches.”

These statements appear to be common sense to many people, but they rest on several wrong assumptions. The error of this thinking will become clear if we ask, “Why is church planting so crucially important?”

 

>>Download Tim Keller’s response to that question here.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tim Keller

Timothy Keller is the founder and senior pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City, and the New York Times bestselling author of The Reason for God and The Prodigal God. He has also mentored young urban church planters and pastors in New York City and other cities through Redeemer City to City, which has helped launch over 200 churches in 35 global cites to date.

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COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
What happens when u dont have a meeting place any more. And u was forced out because the buliding wasnt available any more.
 
— Debra
 
If someone wants entertainment they're going to the wrong place. Church is not a place for entertainment...or in my opinion a barrage of coffee and donuts. Why are churches today bringing the world INTO them? Then there's the thing with children...age appropriate??? These little guys can pick stuff up in service. Besides Jesus said Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. Mt. 19:14.
 
— Laurie
 
I love the intentionality here as well as the challenge to look at the data. That's missing so many times. I would like to offer a contrarian's take. Church members and regular attenders have so many ways to get information: Announcements, bulletins, social channels, relationships, and email being among the options. But brand new people are likely going to check out the website and that's it. It might be wiser for churches with limited time and resources to focus their website almost exclusively to guests. This group of people isn't looking for a calendar of events but wants to know about regular programs. They probably aren't interested in watching all of the messages but instead may want to preview one of the services. For the times we need church members to go to websites (sign up for camp, join a group, etc), we're probably better off designing and promoting a specific page rather than cluttering up the homepage.
 
— Michael Lukaszewski (@mlukaszewski)
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

10 Principles of Church Planting and Expanding

It was in 1999 when Bobbie and I were given the opportunity to do something – which for us at that time was a bold and innovative step. We were asked to take on the leadership of my parents’ inner-city church in ADDITION to the church we were already pastoring in the Northwest of Sydney – Hillsong Church.

Bold and innovative because although today in 2013 there are countless models of incredible multi-site churches, back in 1999 it was totally new territory in which we knew of few, if any, role models to look to for guidance.

Fourteen years on, our City Campus is a thriving and integral part of Hillsong Church and along the way we have learned a great deal about multi-site expansion and global church planting; as Hillsong has spread to some of the worlds most influential cities. I am not called to plant churches everywhere, but where we do, my hope and prayer is that we can build significant churches whose impact for the Cause of Christ spreads far beyond their own walls. When we started Hillsong London many years ago, impact and influence seemed like a far away fantasy –and yet that is exactly what has and is unfolding through a healthy local church congregation in that city.

I’m no expert, but I have been asked many times what are some of the keys to successful expansion, and so here are ten principles for church planting that I have learned on our own journey:

1. YOU MUST RECOGNIZE YOUR GRACE ZONE:

Church planting is a GRACE and if you stay “within the sphere of the grace God has given you,” His favor and blessing will be on your endeavors. Not every opportunity is a GOD opportunity and I find that people struggle when they don’t recognize this. It is important to stay in your lane and run your own race.

2. CHERISH THE BABY STEPS:

Church planting is PIONEERING and that means you have to recognize the old adage that “you can’t run be before you can walk”. The first time I was at one of our ‘Heart and Soul’ nights at Hillsong New York City, the worship team had a mid-song train crash. Perhaps I made them nervous, as apparently it had never happened before, but we had to start the song all over again. That is just one of the examples from some of the great memories that just two years on, we can all look back on and laugh about. Since then, the worship team in New York City has taken giant strides forward and even in those early days the services were electric. But just like when your baby starts to walk, those ‘crashes’ are the precious memories in pioneering that we should always cherish, learn from and laugh about.

Even when Hillsong churches have started with great crowds (such as in Cape Town and New York City), it has taken time for leadership to emerge – to find out who really is ‘in it for the long haul’ and for the crowd to become a family who carry the heart and vision of our church.

3. DETERMINE TO BE ETHICAL AND TRUE TO YOURSELF:

Church planting must be INTEGROUS and though we might all have varying ethics and values, it is important to be true to God, true to ourselves and considerate of others in our approach to church planting. It really is a case of “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”.

For example, when expanding Hillsong Church Australia into Brisbane and Melbourne, we have been very deliberate in our early communications and gatherings, to encourage those from other congregations to stay in their own local church. We gave people opportunity to register their interest in being part of our church online and we have limited our communications to that group of people. The foundations on which we start our churches are critical if we intend to establish healthy and life-giving campuses long-term.

4. EXPAND FROM A POSITION OF STRENGTH:

Church planting is CHALLENGING, in fact sometimes starting something new is the easy part. Building and progress depends on momentum. Planting or expanding is an exciting idea, but don’t underestimate the challenge of planting well AND keeping home strong. The extra pressure on your greatest resource can be underestimated and your greatest resource is not facilities or finances – it’s PEOPLE.

Starting another service, opening another campus, or planting another church will test the quantity and quality of your leadership in most areas of church life. Don’t weaken your home base by expanding too quickly. Because weakening your base is not a momentum builder – it’s a momentum stopper. Lost momentum is very difficult to regain and wise church planting is not done prematurely.

5. BE SURE YOU HAVE COUNTED THE COST:

Church planting is COSTLY and can be very difficult if you are unable to invest sacrificially into the work you are starting. Faith is essential in any new venture and there is no doubt that dependence on God and His miraculous supply is part of the adventure. However, many years of pain and heartache can be avoided if you have counted the cost and sacrificially invested into the new ground you are claiming.

6. PRAY FOR THE RIGHT PEOPLE IN THE RIGHT PLACE, AT THE RIGHT TIME:

Church planting involves LEADERSHIP and it will be more successful when you sow some of your best people. If you are solving a problem by repositioning someone who is causing frustration, you are only transferring the problem. It is when you give your best that you can expect the best outcome – which is again why planting or expanding should be done from a position of strength and not vulnerability.

7. NOT JUST EASY PLACES OR NICE PLACES, BUT RIGHT PLACES:

Church planting is STRATEGIC and for Hillsong that has rarely meant going to the ‘easy’ places. We have prospered by planting in Europe – a continent steeped in church history yet in many respects, so Godless.

When I first spoke at Hillsong Paris, I remembered numbers of conversations where people simply couldn’t get their heads around us preaching about Jesus as someone other than just a historical figure. Today, I love seeing so many young churches beginning to flourish in various European cities. Its easy to think that perhaps ‘Bible belt cities’ would be easier than the heart of Manhattan; but with the right people, in the right place, at the right time, it’s amazing what God can do!

Likewise, when my parents started their ministry in the city of Sydney, it was regarded by some people as a ‘preachers graveyard.’ But that ‘preachers graveyard’ has become home to Hillsong Church – Hillsong College -Conferences and Music; influencing more people than we could have ever have imagined over the last three decades. God is faithful and I believe that the best is still yet to come!

8. AVOID THE PERILS OF SHORTCUTS, OR INDIVIDUALS WHO PROMISE THE WORLD:

Church planting is TEAMWORK, which means building a leadership team who are there for the long haul. My experience is that often the people who promise the most, don’t always come through with the most. Great churches are built with people who are faithful in the little things. I’d take a group of ordinary people devoted to an extraordinary God, over a charismatic someone that talks a big game, but hasn’t proven faithful in the ‘day of small beginnings’.

We have had some amazing miracles with land and buildings in our history, but we have also said no to numbers of opportunities and partnerships because there were ‘strings attached’. If it looks too good to be true, it probably…………………..!”

9. VALUE CONNECTION AND RELATIONSHIPS:

Church planting is LONELY, and many a church planter has perished through isolation.

Proverbs 18:1 says, “The man who isolates himself is not wise” and if you disregard your friendships and relationships when planting churches, your world can get small very quickly. Perhaps you can start churches anywhere, but wisdom is sensitive to relationships – while still refusing to be ruled by the insecurities of others.

Our mandate is “to champion the cause of local churches everywhere”, and the greatest way we can do that is exemplifying what God can do, by partnering and being in good relationship with other churches in our city, and without building on other people’s foundations.

10. CHURCH PLANTING CAN BE PART OF THE ANSWER OR PART OF THE PROBLEM:

Church planting is TRENDY and in the twenty first century, technology and opportunity enable us to expand in ways that were unthinkable to generations past. Does the world need more churches? The short answer is yes, but the world doesn’t need more mediocre churches. The world needs healthy and vibrant churches that are genuinely fulfilling the Great Commission in their cities, towns, villages and nations. Churches that are filled with life, worship, biblical teaching and healthy, accepting community – churches that point people to JESUS.

I pray that together, we can ‘champion the cause of local churches everywhere,’ and stay committed to the building of what Jesus Christ said He would build – His Church!

 Read more from Brian here.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Brian Houston

Brian Houston

Brian and Bobbie Houston are the Senior Pastors of Hillsong Church. They and their three grown children – Joel, Ben & Laura - all live in Sydney, Australia. Joel is a gifted musician and songwriter who is the Creative Director of Hillsong Church. Ben is married to Lucille and he oversees Hillsong's Extension Services. Their youngest, Laura, is married to Peter and together they are the pastors of Wildlife, part of Hillsong's growing youth group. The Houstons are the proud grandparents of 3 little girls: Savannah Winter, Willow Mae and Lexi Milan.

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COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

VRcurator — 02/01/13 9:09 am

Thanks Charlie! Be sure and check out other posts under the tag "Church Planting." Enjoy the Vision Room!

Charlie Cruce — 02/01/13 9:03 am

Excellent food for thought for every planter!

Recent Comments
What happens when u dont have a meeting place any more. And u was forced out because the buliding wasnt available any more.
 
— Debra
 
If someone wants entertainment they're going to the wrong place. Church is not a place for entertainment...or in my opinion a barrage of coffee and donuts. Why are churches today bringing the world INTO them? Then there's the thing with children...age appropriate??? These little guys can pick stuff up in service. Besides Jesus said Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. Mt. 19:14.
 
— Laurie
 
I love the intentionality here as well as the challenge to look at the data. That's missing so many times. I would like to offer a contrarian's take. Church members and regular attenders have so many ways to get information: Announcements, bulletins, social channels, relationships, and email being among the options. But brand new people are likely going to check out the website and that's it. It might be wiser for churches with limited time and resources to focus their website almost exclusively to guests. This group of people isn't looking for a calendar of events but wants to know about regular programs. They probably aren't interested in watching all of the messages but instead may want to preview one of the services. For the times we need church members to go to websites (sign up for camp, join a group, etc), we're probably better off designing and promoting a specific page rather than cluttering up the homepage.
 
— Michael Lukaszewski (@mlukaszewski)
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Rethinking Church Planting

Jimmy Scroggins is a pastor friend of mine. He currently serves at First Baptist Church in West Palm Beach, Florida.

Jimmy is passionate about church planting in multiple forms and is involved in a mission network called SendSFL. I’m excited to see new methods of church planting that can supplement and support traditional planting strategies. Today, Jimmy joins me on the blog for a discussion about the future of church planting.

Trevin Wax: One of the things we’ve talked about before is how the church planting structure in North America puts the planter under enormous pressure to attract givers to the new plant, not necessarily new converts. Elaborate a little on how you think our structure and strategy can unintentionally hinder passionate evangelism.

Jimmy Scroggins: First, I want to be clear that I have huge admiration for church planters. Their boldness and confidence in God to go out and start a church from scratch is amazing to me. I am also a strong supporter of church planting churches and organizations, and I am truly grateful for the current wave of resources that is being directed towards new church starts in North America.

Trevin Wax: That said, you have some misgivings about some church planting strategies.

Jimmy Scroggins: Yes. I worry that our standard strategy for funding planters is unlikely to start the number of sustainable, evangelistic, healthy congregations needed to advance the kingdom relative to the growing population and increasing lostness of our culture. The favored approach seems to go like this:

  1. Identify a talented, driven, and probably well-networked planter.
  2. Help him raise several hundred thousand dollars to fund him and his church for 3-5 years.
  3. Count on him to lead his new church to grow fast enough so that by the time his funding runs out his church is self-supporting.

Trevin Wax: What’s is deficient about this strategy?

Jimmy Scroggins: The math simply does not work. Take Southern Baptists, for example. We are working to plant 15,000 churches in North America by 2022. If we are going to raise 100k each (a pretty conservative number for most contemporary church planters) to fund those churches, we are going to invest 1.5 billion dollars in the successful church plants (if you make it 300K per church – that makes it $4.5 billion).  Assuming a 70% success rate (which would be phenomenal to the point of unrealistic), we would have tried to start around 21K churches, with a total investment of over $2 billion.  I am afraid the math simply doesn’t work if we are hoping to plant that many churches in that amount of time.

Trevin Wax: Besides the math, what concerns do you have?

Jimmy Scroggins: I’m afraid this strategy forces the church planter to focus on attracting givers more than on evangelizing lost people. It really doesn’t matter how many lost people he reaches or baptizes; his sustainability and “success” will be evaluated and celebrated only if his fledgling congregation gives enough money.

The planter’s ability to remain “in business” is directly tied to his ability to shift the costs from his sponsor churches to his own congregation before his startup money is exhausted. It is unlikely that new believers will be able to carry that load fast enough. He has to go hard after transfers from other churches in order to make it work. So again, the focus of the church planter almost has to be on attracting givers as opposed to reaching lost people.

Trevin Wax: So where do we go from here? Your church, while certainly intentional about funding traditional church plants, is also involved in other kinds of gatherings. Tell us about that.

Jimmy Scroggins: As you said, we are indeed participating in traditional church plants, and by traditional I mean the funded approach with full-time planters and some type of “launch-large” strategy. But we are convinced that these types of plants take too long, cost too much and fail too often – at least if we are going to get to 15,000 by 2022. We have begun to develop and invest in two different approaches that we believe will be more effective, especially in metropolitan contexts where Southern Baptists have been weak.

First, we are going all in for bivocational church planting.  We are working to identify, recruit, train, and place men in new church plants who will never require a full-time salary from their church.  There are scores of white collar, middle and upper income, educated, successful professionals in our churches who have untapped capacity in terms of their time and energy. These guys can be motivated and equipped to plant churches. Of course, God has to call them, but we can help them hear God speak.

Previous generations of church and denominational leaders have basically said:

“If you are called to the ministry, you quit your job, you move your family several states away for seminary-based training, you learn to live in near poverty, and you help your wife and kids adjust to their new life and their new standard of living in their new town. And about the time you get halfway settled into the seminary community – you graduate and move again to a small church in a small place and begin your journey in ministry.”

No wonder very few people will voluntarily heed the call!

We believe there is a better way. We want to train church planters from our own church to plant new churches in our own community. They don’t have to move their families. They don’t have to find new jobs. They don’t have to strike out on their own. We can pour into them, help them develop their spiritual gifts, help them discover their unique calling, help them find a neighborhood that needs a gospel church, and ultimately help them form a church planting team.

Trevin Wax: What experience have you had in developing the bivocational church planting strategy?

Jimmy Scroggins: At First Baptist Church of West Palm Beach, we have established a church planting residency program to equip bivocational church planters from our church family. The response has been overwhelming. We have ten men in our first cohort this year, and the waiting list for the 2013 group is already established.

We are pretty excited about bivocational church planting because it is a way to help make the math work. Although these churches will look very much like traditional, funded church plants, we believe they will have a greater chance of success because the pastors will not have to depend on the fledgling church as their sole source of financial support.

Trevin Wax: What’s the other approach you take?

Jimmy Scroggins: We are committed to reaching people that most church plants cannot afford to reach. There are thousands of people in our community who are homeless or very poor. Many are immigrants and many are in our community illegally. Traditional church planters can’t spend time reaching these folks. They can’t give enough to support the new work. But we have recently discovered a way to effectively go after these people.

One of our sister churches in West Palm is teaching us how to plant “rabbit churches” (so named because they multiply really fast). This church uses lay people to start new congregations in homeless camps, trailer parks, apartment complexes, and retirement centers. We are learning from this approach, and we are seeking to plant churches for “the least of these.”

A “rabbit church” looks like a middle-aged deacon pulling up to the homeless camp with metal folding chairs stacked in his pickup. He arranges those chairs around a tree and calls the men and women out for donuts, singing, and Bible study. These people can’t or won’t give much money at all, but since this type of church doesn’t cost anything, they make budget every single week.

Trevin Wax: How will these methods affect the future of church planting?

Jimmy Scroggins: We are convinced that these two approaches – using bivocational planters to start traditional-looking church plants, and using lay-preachers to start “rabbit churches” – could be the future of church planting. And since these two strategies are very similar to effective approaches found in the Bible and throughout church history, we are confident they are going to work.

One thing’s for sure: traditional, funded, full-time church planters are not going to plant enough churches to truly penetrate the lostness of North America.

Read more from Trevin here.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Trevin Wax

Trevin Wax

My name is Trevin Wax. I am a follower of Jesus Christ. My wife is Corina, and we have two children: Timothy (7) and Julia (3). Currently, I serve the church by working at LifeWay Christian Resources as managing editor of The Gospel Project, a gospel-centered small group curriculum for all ages that focuses on the grand narrative of Scripture. I have been blogging regularly at Kingdom People since October 2006. I frequently contribute articles to other publications, such as Christianity Today. I also enjoy traveling and speaking at different churches and conferences. My first book, Holy Subversion: Allegiance to Christ in an Age of Rivals, was published by Crossway Books in January 2010. (Click here for excerpts and more information.) My second book, Counterfeit Gospels: Rediscovering the Good News in a World of False Hope(Moody Publishers) was released in April 2011.

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COMMENTS

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rosa — 12/29/12 8:06 pm

Here's an interesting idea--could we try planting churches with WOMEN??????

Recent Comments
What happens when u dont have a meeting place any more. And u was forced out because the buliding wasnt available any more.
 
— Debra
 
If someone wants entertainment they're going to the wrong place. Church is not a place for entertainment...or in my opinion a barrage of coffee and donuts. Why are churches today bringing the world INTO them? Then there's the thing with children...age appropriate??? These little guys can pick stuff up in service. Besides Jesus said Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. Mt. 19:14.
 
— Laurie
 
I love the intentionality here as well as the challenge to look at the data. That's missing so many times. I would like to offer a contrarian's take. Church members and regular attenders have so many ways to get information: Announcements, bulletins, social channels, relationships, and email being among the options. But brand new people are likely going to check out the website and that's it. It might be wiser for churches with limited time and resources to focus their website almost exclusively to guests. This group of people isn't looking for a calendar of events but wants to know about regular programs. They probably aren't interested in watching all of the messages but instead may want to preview one of the services. For the times we need church members to go to websites (sign up for camp, join a group, etc), we're probably better off designing and promoting a specific page rather than cluttering up the homepage.
 
— Michael Lukaszewski (@mlukaszewski)
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

12 Leadership Competencies to LAUNCH Your Church

Churches Multiplying Churches

LAUNCH helps local churches form area networks to identify, train, and send out new leaders. These cooperative efforts, called Hubs, consist of multiple churches committed to a holistic approach of leadership development. Our process is not built on cookie-cutter programs but rather on personal relationships, nurturing 12 Leadership Competencies in the church-planter.  LAUNCH partners and planters are working together to multiply impact and transform communities.

The 12 Leadership Competencies

As LAUNCH was first forming, we interviewed a host of church planters, indentifying the common denominators among a variety of healthy leaders. In pinpointing key traits, we endeavored to reverse-engineer the success of a healthy plant. While fully acknowledging that the “success” of a church is ultimately in God’s hands, we also recognize that as leaders we have been entrusted with the responsibility of being faithful stewards of His calling. Too many “good guys” with noble intentions, solid theology, and popular ministry models flounder. The need is too great to not be fully prepared for the task. So, with this in mind, we took our research and boiled it down to the 12 LAUNCH Leadership Competencies. We teach leadership competencies rather than a specific church-planting model because most church plants seem to fail not because of the model but because of poor leadership. The competencies are:

  1. Identify and confirm a passionate sense of calling
  2. Master the discipline of leading yourself
  3. Cast a clear and compelling vision
  4. Lead from a bold faith that takes prayerful risks
  5. Identify the needs of your community and develop a specific strategy to meet them
  6. Effectively raise and manage money
  7. Develop measurable systems and structures to fulfill your vision
  8. Identify key leaders to execute the vision
  9. Think strategically and execute for results
  10. Empower leaders to execute the vision
  11. Evaluate your values and integrate them into the DNA of your church
  12. Persevere through difficulty in order to get to the next level

To learn more about LAUNCH, go here.

To read more from Mac, go here.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mac Lake

Mac Lake

I am the Chief Launch Officer of The Launch Network, a new church planting network based out of West Ridge Church in the greater Atlanta, Georgia area. My role is to get The Launch Network up and running, networking with churches and planters to establish healthy church starts across the U.S. and the world. Our goal is to plant 1000 churches in the next 10 years. My passion is growing leaders for the local church. Every time I hear Bill Hybels say “The local church is the hope of the world” my heart comes out of my chest and it increases my sense of urgency for developing leaders who produce leaders.

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COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
What happens when u dont have a meeting place any more. And u was forced out because the buliding wasnt available any more.
 
— Debra
 
If someone wants entertainment they're going to the wrong place. Church is not a place for entertainment...or in my opinion a barrage of coffee and donuts. Why are churches today bringing the world INTO them? Then there's the thing with children...age appropriate??? These little guys can pick stuff up in service. Besides Jesus said Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. Mt. 19:14.
 
— Laurie
 
I love the intentionality here as well as the challenge to look at the data. That's missing so many times. I would like to offer a contrarian's take. Church members and regular attenders have so many ways to get information: Announcements, bulletins, social channels, relationships, and email being among the options. But brand new people are likely going to check out the website and that's it. It might be wiser for churches with limited time and resources to focus their website almost exclusively to guests. This group of people isn't looking for a calendar of events but wants to know about regular programs. They probably aren't interested in watching all of the messages but instead may want to preview one of the services. For the times we need church members to go to websites (sign up for camp, join a group, etc), we're probably better off designing and promoting a specific page rather than cluttering up the homepage.
 
— Michael Lukaszewski (@mlukaszewski)
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Why Plant Churches in the South?

As someone who speaks and writes quite often about church planting, there are a few specific questions I’m asked more frequently. One that always seems to arise is “Why plant churches in the South?” It’s a good question.

First, let me say that if you are not sure where to plant a church, I’d encourage you to consider international planting first. In other words, think about planting a church in the 10/40 window. If God does not want you there, think about planting in one of the megacities in North America. If not there, what about reaching the lost in rural (and unchurched) Maine or Montana (or lost of other similar areas)? If still not there, then at that point– maybe– you should consider the South.

It’s not that I don’t love the South– I just don’t think that everyone needs to plant there, and a disproportionate number of people say that God has called them to the South, forcing me to choose between the idea that God is not good at math or that church planters are going where there are already a lot of believers.

So, why plant churches in the South? And, obviously, why am I not taking my own advice?

Well, the short (and probably snarky) answer is simply “Why not?” But that obviously doesn’t begin to cover the multiple intricacies of the question. So let me attempt to cover a few of those.

First, on a personal note, what I described above is what I did. First, we considered planting internationally, but the Lord did not call us there (though we are involved and seek to send others). So, we went to a city (Buffalo). Then later we went to Erie, PA. Then, my life got a little crazy and I started being a seminary professor, researcher, whatever. So, now, I am planting a church in the South because that is where I live, I love my neighbors, they need Jesus, and I am a pastor. So, we planted Grace Church.

But, I also encourage others to plant churches in the South– and I’d like lots more (as long as you go through the process I mentioned above!). The fact is, God is calling many people to plant churches in the South. Here’s why:

1. There are still lost people in the South. Yes, we have more churches per capita in the southern states than in other regions of the country. And yes, the South is known as the Bible Belt. But that doesn’t mean everyone understands the gospel here or knows Christ as their savior. I assure you, that is not the case. The church our team planted here in the Nashville area is located in Hendersonville. That city alone has 61,000 residents in the area. But only 13,000 attend a Christian church on a given Sunday (which, by the way, does not mean we are 80% unchurched; it means that, on a given Sunday, about 20% of people go to church). However, if more than half of the people in my community are not in a church, I think there is plenty of room to plant another one. There are some other great churches in Hendersonville, but 48,000 people are still out there on a given Sunday– that’s just in my area! So the harvest is still white– in Nashville, Birmingham, Atlanta, Charlotte, Baton Rouge, Little Rock, Louisville, and everywhere in between.

2. It’s easier to birth a baby than to raise the (unwilling) dead. I’m a strong believer in church revitalization, so don’t take my comments out of context. I think (and could be wrong) that I have done more research on church revitalization and written more books on the subject than any active researcher in North America. Every denomination needs both a planting and a revitalization strategy. But many times the churches who need revitalization don’t want it. They want their community to change while they remain the same. But the community is always changing. New church plants are needed to match the changing landscape and composition of every neighborhood, whether that is in Augusta, Maine or Augusta, Georgia. So, we need to birth new babies if dying churches don’t want to be revitalized, and we need to help revitalize the churches that are willing..

3. Planting promotes revitalization. This may seem counterintuitive, but it is not. When churches are planted, other churches nearby often see what they are doing, learn from them, and engage their community with new enthusiasm. For example, I remember (way back in the day) when I planted a new church in a suburb of Erie, PA, we were the only contemporary church in town. Within a year of our launch, two other churches had started contemporary services and were reaching the young adults who, prior to that, were not engaged in their churches. Within a few more years, others followed– and, today, some of those services have exploded as new families have been reached.

4. Church planting not only encourages evangelism, but discipleship as well. While evangelism and reaching the lost is obviously a goal of church planting, many times discipleship of believers also increases. In most church plants, members are called to take on more than in more established churches. Involvement typically leads to a deepening of faith. Spiritual “muscles” are “worked out” in church planting and the result is usually a deeper, stronger faith. Not only does the church grow, but the people grow as well.

5. New churches reach people that established churches do not. A couple of months ago, I made a joke and asked if there were any yankees (or maybe non-Southerners) in the crowd (don’t remember the exact words). But, I do remember that more than half of the attendees raised their hands, much to my surprise. When I asked several, they explained why. As new people in the community, they found it hard to connect in established churches, but here they found relationships in the church plant and are now growing in their faith (or taking steps toward faith).

6. The work is not finished. This ties into point one, but deserves its own point. We are called to go and make disciples. The word “go” means to keep going. There is no end to our mission on this side of eternity. If the work is not finished– and it won’t be until the return of Christ– then we should be working.

We all have a context of ministry in which God has placed us. Because of my job I live in Nashville. Because I live in Nashville, I meet people without Christ– and they need a new church. So, mine happens to be in Middle Tennessee. Maybe yours is in the Midwest. If you’re called to plant, plant where you can bring glory to God no matter where that is. Whether your are in Jackson, MS, or Jackson Hole, WY, there are still people who need the gospel.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ed Stetzer

Ed Stetzer

Ed Stetzer, Ph.D., holds the Billy Graham Chair of Church, Mission, and Evangelism at Wheaton College and serves as Executive Director of the Billy Graham Center for Evangelism. He has planted, revitalized, and pastored churches, trained pastors and church planters on six continents, holds two masters degrees and two doctorates, and has written dozens of articles and books. Previously, he served as Executive Director of LifeWay Research. Stetzer is a contributing editor for Christianity Today, a columnist for Outreach Magazine, and is frequently cited or interviewed in news outlets such as USAToday and CNN. He serves as interim pastor of Moody Church in Chicago.

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COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
What happens when u dont have a meeting place any more. And u was forced out because the buliding wasnt available any more.
 
— Debra
 
If someone wants entertainment they're going to the wrong place. Church is not a place for entertainment...or in my opinion a barrage of coffee and donuts. Why are churches today bringing the world INTO them? Then there's the thing with children...age appropriate??? These little guys can pick stuff up in service. Besides Jesus said Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. Mt. 19:14.
 
— Laurie
 
I love the intentionality here as well as the challenge to look at the data. That's missing so many times. I would like to offer a contrarian's take. Church members and regular attenders have so many ways to get information: Announcements, bulletins, social channels, relationships, and email being among the options. But brand new people are likely going to check out the website and that's it. It might be wiser for churches with limited time and resources to focus their website almost exclusively to guests. This group of people isn't looking for a calendar of events but wants to know about regular programs. They probably aren't interested in watching all of the messages but instead may want to preview one of the services. For the times we need church members to go to websites (sign up for camp, join a group, etc), we're probably better off designing and promoting a specific page rather than cluttering up the homepage.
 
— Michael Lukaszewski (@mlukaszewski)
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Multiplying Relationships: How Every Church Can Multiply

Reaching North America for Christ is too big a task for one church to handle. New Church Multiplication is one of the best ways for us to work the North American fields to the edges. And every church can get involved in multiplication of new Churches. How? The sky is the limit. There is no right or wrong way to support church planting. The question is, what are you willing to do? How big of a commitment are you willing to make?

Here are three levels of relationship that excludes no church from involvement. I offer a few suggestions that are not meant to be an exhaustive list under each level.

Friending / Encouraging

Church Planting is a difficult, lonely task, filled with uncertainty and vulnerability. You and your church can strengthen and encourage a church plant, as well as demonstrate a kingdom mindset, by reaching out a hand of friendship. This can be done with little or no expense to you and your church. Here are a few ideas:

  • Put a church planter on your weekly prayer list. The real battle against the kingdom of darkness is free through Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. As your church prays for the lost to be saved, take the new church and planter to the throne of God as they reach out to the unchurched in your community.
  • Buy a church planter a cup of coffee and ask him how it’s going and offer him your insights about the community. Ask him about his family. Demonstrate a desire to see the church succeed. If you don’t have a desire to see him succeed, then repent and get over the idea that your church can reach everybody in the community. Also, encourage the women’s ministry to remember the church planter’s spouse and support her when possible. Just simply treat them as you would want to be treated. Seems like I saw that principle written in red somewhere.
  • Invite a church planter to share during your Wednesday night prayer meeting, to Sunday School classes, to promote special missions offerings, etc. Exposing your church to the story of God’s work in your community will benefit the church by opening their eyes to needs in their Jerusalem and Judea.

 

Partnering / Sponsoring

Maybe your church is ready to be engaged in off-campus multiplication a little more directly. Investing financially & tangibly in a local church plant is one great way to help your church see their community as a mission field and multiply your impact on the Great Commission challenge. A few ideas for investing and sponsoring are:

  • Become a financial co-sponsor. Put planting in the budget at whatever level you can. Most of the co-sponsors for the churches I’ve planted have been between $50 and $200 per month. Some have given a one-time gift. It takes money to minister in North America and a financial contribution encourages the planter and communicates commitment to the Great Commission.
  • Adopt a church plant for your VBS offering. The kids will love the story about a church that meets in a Fire Station or Rodeo Arena or Move Theater and baptizes in a swimming pool. And it may plant seeds in their hearts that will lead them into a career on mission. One church in my region collected children’s ministry supplies for a church plant and five years later they were still using the construction paper and supplies received that week.
  • Conduct a local or national mission trip to assist a church plant in outreach efforts. You can travel to a neighboring city or state or to the other side of town to assist with block parties, door to door work, servant evangelism, etc. Recently, I heard of a church that put together a team to take care of an area church plants Sunday morning setup for one month, just to give the planting team a break and to be a blessing to the new church.
  • Give your cold prospect list to a church planting team. One of our sponsors gave our church plant a list of over 250 names that had only attended occasional events at the church or had not attended in a great while. We were able to contact those folks again and invite them to the new church. Later this month we will baptize a couple that we met because their names were on that list. You never know if a new church may be the tool for harvesting people you’ve cultivated and watered for years.
  • Invite a church planter to attend conferences with you and your staff. Most church planters have followed a call and are choosing to live paycheck to paycheck. Most do not have the funds for conferences. Invite them to go with you. Offer to pay part of the way or challenge your church to pay their way. Pay or not, invite them along to enjoy and learn from you and your team.
  • Sponsor a date night for a church planter and his spouse. Research is showing that church planting families are under great duress. There’s very little money and time for unwinding and recharging. In a difficult season of our first church plant, a church in another state invited my wife and I to spend three days in their area, put us up in a nice hotel, and left a gift basket full of gift cards to area restaurants and attractions. Priceless, simple gift that served to rescue us from a season of discouragement.
  • Offer your office equipment to a church plant. Allow a church planter to make copies, send faxes, and cut post cards. A minimal expense that will meet a huge need for a guy that offices out of a spare bedroom, basement, or garage.
  • Offer your facilities to a church plant. We’ve used facilities of other churches for core group meetings, leadership meetings, Thanksgiving Banquets, and housing for short-term mission teams. Extend the usefulness of your facility to expanding God’s kingdom through church multiplication by simply saying yes or being inviting to a church plant.

 

Parenting / Reproducing

Is God calling your church to reproduce and send out from your membership to plant a new church or a new campus? To multiply at this level you should go about it with the same veracity as you would with a new building project or capital campaign, utilizing all avenues of communication for a sustained period of time. During a building campaign, the last thing you want to hear from a member of the church is, “I’m not sure why we need a new building.” You work hard to get everyone on the same page through sermon series, letters, special web pages, banquets, personal testimonies, visual displays throughout the building, commitment Sunday’s, personal home visits, and more. If planting a new church in North America with momentum and a great potential for survivability is our goal, we should want every member to be on board and to do away with some anti-multiplication slogans – “I don’t see why we need a new church” or “Those people can just come to church here” or “Sending out people will hurt our church.” Here are a few ideas to prepare your church for off-campus multiplication:

  • Answer the call from God to reproduce through off-campus multiplication. Ask, did we hear from God or from our local Associational or Denominational leader? This type of endeavor requires a vision from God that will be owned by your church and its leadership.
  • Bring a Minister of Missions and Multiplication or Church Planter on staff. Part of this person’s job description should be to cultivate congregation and community for a new church. Devise a strategy that will allow the congregation to see him as an insider and whereby he can build trust with the people. Allow him to have regular pulpit opportunities, write newsletter articles, attend staff meetings, etc. Buy in and trust is so important if you want this to move quickly, so maybe this person is already on your staff or has a relationship with your church that makes them insiders.
  • Prepare a Message series on Multiplication and Church Planting. The Book of Acts may be a good place to start. Bring the series to a close with an invitation to be part of a planting team or to help with the new church in some tangible way. One church devised dozens of ways that every member could be involved starting with things like prayer and making cookies for a block party, ending with the invitation to join the Core Group for two years.
  • Along with a message series, guide small groups and/or Sunday School classes through basic missiology and importance of church planting. Take everyone in the church through a sustained study on multiplication and lead them to consider weekly their part in God’s Mission in general and specifically the need for a new church.
  • Make a long-term commitment to the development of the new church. Parenting is the best description for this extensive role in expanding the kingdom. Parents nurture, train, discipline, encourage, and celebrate all the child does. Take that role with the church plant. If done in the right way and in God’s time, I promise they want remain with you for 18 years. With quality cultivation and core building and great parenting, it won’t be long before your church will be a GRANDPARENT! And then we are well on our way to a Multiplication movement.

 

In every community across our nation there are unreached population segments and people groups. The fastest growing religious affiliation is the “unaffiliated.” Church planting is one solution to stemming the tide of spiritual darkness in North America. There is no right or wrong way to support church planting. You may even find that it has a positive impact on your church. As a matter of fact, research shows that churches that sponsor new churches tend to grow themselves. Ed Stetzer and Warren Bird in their book Viral Churches point out a study of church-sponsoring churches showed that worship attendance increased 22 percent and giving increased 48% for the five years after sponsorship of a church plant. And whether your church grows or not, until everyone in our communities has an opportunity to hear the Gospel we must push forward. Reproduction and multiplication of new churches is the fastest and healthiest way to bring God’s kingdom to all peoples. As each church does what she can do, we can together reach more people and make more disciples in fulfillment of God’s Great Commission.

Read more from Lane here.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lane Corley

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COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
What happens when u dont have a meeting place any more. And u was forced out because the buliding wasnt available any more.
 
— Debra
 
If someone wants entertainment they're going to the wrong place. Church is not a place for entertainment...or in my opinion a barrage of coffee and donuts. Why are churches today bringing the world INTO them? Then there's the thing with children...age appropriate??? These little guys can pick stuff up in service. Besides Jesus said Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. Mt. 19:14.
 
— Laurie
 
I love the intentionality here as well as the challenge to look at the data. That's missing so many times. I would like to offer a contrarian's take. Church members and regular attenders have so many ways to get information: Announcements, bulletins, social channels, relationships, and email being among the options. But brand new people are likely going to check out the website and that's it. It might be wiser for churches with limited time and resources to focus their website almost exclusively to guests. This group of people isn't looking for a calendar of events but wants to know about regular programs. They probably aren't interested in watching all of the messages but instead may want to preview one of the services. For the times we need church members to go to websites (sign up for camp, join a group, etc), we're probably better off designing and promoting a specific page rather than cluttering up the homepage.
 
— Michael Lukaszewski (@mlukaszewski)
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.