The weekend conference was all about church planting, a subject that has been on my heart for a long while but it has also been something that I haven't really had the confidence to really think about let alone do.
So, having studied theology (and comprehensively failed to finished my MA), I realise that the gospel mission is still on my heart and, who knows, maybe God will forgive my tardiness and use me.
It was a great opportunity to meet people who have been planting churches for a while and who are working with others who are currently planting churches. I learned a lot. So much, in fact, I'm a quite likely to forget it all before I leave here later today so wanted to make a few notes here for future reference and as a note for others who are also interested in church planting.
It is important for each new church plant to have a mother church to support and nurture it. That said, the mother church takes no active part in the decisions of the church plant.
A church plant must have a mother church for the following reasons:
- Co-operation v competition - the mother church should work co-operatively with the church plant and not in competition.
- Support with people resources - when needed, the mother church can offer support when there are not enough people to help with ministry.
- Shared activities and outreach endeavours
- Financial accountability
- Healthier DNA for the church plant - church plants are the result of a break away, will carry those tensions with them
- Quick recovery for mother church
- Positive future fr additional church plants
Basic Strategy to Prepare Your Church for Church Planting
- Emphasis on church health
- Preach sermons on church planting
- Make evangelism the first business of the church
- Create a sense of urgency for reaching those who don't know Christ. Share relevant demographics to emphasise need.
- Expose leaders to church planting (have boarding read, "Rekindling A Lost Passion".
- Spend a significant time with key leaders who have broad influence. Attend a Seeds or Metro Impact event
Steps to Planting a Church
- Find a target eg young families, single moms, former adventists, refugees, needy, immigrants, blue collar workers etc.
- Location - a great place to start is your neighbourhood particularly for the unchurched who are unlikely to travel long distances for church
- Know the demographics - check resources such as local authority borough profile or ONS website.
Set up a Core Group to work on Church Plant Strategy
There are 4 qualities for core group members. They are:
- Shared passion/vision
- Individuals who put mission first
- Individuals who are a magnet to others
- Individuals who match the demographic to be reached - the most important quality of all 4 qualities. If you don't match your target group, you won't reach them and you'll struggle to be effective.
Church Plant Should have an Incubation Period
- The incubation period should last for 6-9 months.
- Meet in someone's home once a week. Note, there should be no Sabbath meeting UNTIL the incubation is completed
- Create a community by getting to know one another
- Pray and fast together
- Study the book of Acts and read Rekindling A Lost Passion
- Write out:
- core values - for example, excellence, unconditional acceptance, belonging before believing etc
- strategic evangelistic plan (based on your target demographic) - during the incubation period plan an evangelistic meeting that will take place within the first year of the plant. What are the methods that will be most effective in the community you are targeting. Plan for it. How? When? Who?
- ministry assignments - Evangelistic, administration, worship, children, social etc. Be sure to create a clear job description for all assignments.
The church plant must have a coach and they should have the following qualities:
- Proven soul-winner
- Excellent listener
- Empowering (will not take over church plant)
- Familiar with technique of coaching and self-discovery
- Willing to commit (but is a voluntary role)
Useful Church Planting Resources