Church planting can be a lonely business. In many ways, the church planter ventures out on his own armed with nothing but a vision and a prayer. Obviously that’s not entirely true, but it can often feel that way (trust me)! This article outlines four ways that your church can help church planters and their teams to get started on the journey.Image courtesy of Flickr
Over the last few months I’ve been seeking to raise support and gather a launch team from among the members of several established churches. “What?” you ask. “Shouldn’t you be trying to reach those who aren’t a part of any church?” Absolutely! A major desire of church planters should be to see people become Christians, not just take Christians from existing churches.
That being said, most church plants today begin with a launch team of committed believers and generous external support from those who believe in the mission. Both of these (people and provision) often come from established churches. In order to avoid unnecessary criticism, it is best to conduct this process with absolute transparency.
As I’ve shared our vision with several ministers over the last few months, I’ve sought to offer them multiple options for how they might like to consider partnering with us. I felt this approach had the benefit of “painting a picture” for churches about what it might look like for them to partner with us. It also gives them the opportunity to choose their level of support, rather than feeling pressured to go all-or-nothing.
The four “packages” I’ve presented are outlined below:
Package 1: “We want to adopt you”
This option may involve your church adopting a church plant as a short-term mission partner. You may like to adopt them for three years and pledge to support them with resources and prayer. This could be expressed in the following ways:
- By giving $15,000 in year one, $10,000 in year two, and $5,000 in year three.
- By commissioning up to 15 people to join their launch team.
- By sending a few small SWAT teams for a month each in the first year to help them get started.
- By sending ministers occasionally to preach at their Sunday services.
Package 2: “Have a Sunday”
This option may involve the planter coming to preach at your church, giving him the opportunity to share a brief outline of the vision in your service, and then enabling him to hold a longer meeting with any interested parties after the service. From this meeting he would seek to develop partnerships in prayer, provision and people.
Package 3: “Make an announcement”
This option may involve you granting a planter permission to spend 5 minutes in your Sunday services sharing the vision and asking for prayer and financial support. If you are uncomfortable with him inviting people to join the launch team during this announcement, he should agree not to do so.
Package 4: “Have a fishing license”
This option may involve you granting a planter permission to invite personal contacts from your church to join the launch team in a more informal setting. He might do this primarily through e-mail and face-to-face meetings. He would probably seek to raise prayer and financial support through a similar means as well.
All churches want to grow the body of Christ, but not all churches are in a position to help in exactly the same way. Even if your church is only able to opt for Package 4 it doesn’t make you selfish or protective. It may just be all that you can manage for the time being. That’s ok!
According to Tim Keller, the continuous, rigorous planting of new churches is the single most effective strategy to see the numerical growth of the body of Christ and the renewal of established churches. That’s something we should all desire.
Our desire is to plant a church that plants and resources many new churches in the years to come. I look forward to the day when I get to choose one of these four packages to help support the work of other church planters.
Question: what examples have you seen where this process has been done well? Leave a comment by clicking here.