There’s a lot of talk about church planting among Evangelical churches at the moment and what it means to be church planting churches that have church planting in the DNA. Some people are very passionate and excited about it. However, for others talk about planting can be quite scary. It feels like something your church isn’t yet ready to do, it feels like something that will drain away energy, resources and key people. Others get uneasy, bored even. Isn’t this just the latest fad.
We are still very much in the early stages of this, crawling not even toddling. We’ve been able to multiple congregations meeting inthe Chapel sharing a common vision, leaders, teaching, resources etc. We’ve not planted a church outside of our building yet. However, we are moving towards this being more and more a part of our DNA.
I want to suggest here that this does not mean that a church will always be planting, always sending groups of people to start new churches. You need to look at your capacity to do this. Indeed, one thing I am learning is that when I talk about things that are part of a longer term strategy, it can sound to some people like I am talking about next week when I am not.
However, here are a few thoughts on what it means.
1. It is naturally there on the table as a leading option when you are thinking about what to do. How do we create more space when our building is full? How do we reach that estate with the Gospel? Instinctively we think in terms of multiplication.
2. You put in the infrastructure, personnel and support processes to enable flexibility.
3. You are aware of what is happening more widely, praying for other church plants from other churches , even supporting them financially.
I also think it’s helpful to think of the different ways you can support church planting. Church planting has come to mean that you send 30- 50 existing members out to start the new church. If that’s the case, then few churches can be involved. However, other models include:
1. Going to multiple congregations or even multi-site where there is an expectation that the congregations will gradually evolve into independent churches. This is one aspect of our own approach.
2. Sending a few people to support a plant from another church.
3. Growing Gospel communities – small groups in neighbourhoods with a missional evangelistic focus.
4. Supporting individual “pioneer” church planters who don’t take a group with them but do move into an area and work as evangelists, sharing the Gospel and building a whole new congregation completely from scratch. This last one is something we would particular like to see happen supported through our #PlantBC approach with the help of The Union Learning Community to provide mentoring and training.