Nothing is more exciting in a family than the arrival of a new baby. The same is true in a “multiplying” congregation when a new “baby church” is born.The parenting church is strengthened and blessed by the arrival. Its members have been part of something supernatural and very significant.
One of the most challenging but rewarding ways of responding to the Acts 1:8 Challenge is to become part of planting new churches and facilitating church-planting movements around the world. Statistically speaking, new churches tend to reach more people for Christ per church member than older, more established churches. Not only are new churches one of the most effective means of reaching people for Christ, but new churches tend to reach people that existing churches cannot. Because God has chosen the church to be His vehicle of choice for delivering the gospel to the nations, multiplying ourselves ought to be a major priority. It makes the Acts 1:8 Challenge a process that comes full circle for God’s glory.
Healthy churches plant other healthy churches.This can be accomplished through a “parenting” process or by becoming a church-planting partner with other churches. A kingdom mindset leads to a desire to multiply. New churches being born are a sign of health and life.When a congregation moves into the realm of church planting as a Great Commission strategy, they have become spiritually ignited by His power and presence.
Church planting is a strategic undertaking that involves several key players and significant planning. There is a great need for new churches to be planted in our cities, states, throughout North America, and around the world.We need nothing short of a miraculous church-planting movement to impact the world for Christ. Some churches will be able to start many new churches; others will be able to partner along the way.
The following process has been developed by NAMB to assist churches as they seek to embrace the kingdom-growing response of “multiplying” in the United States and Canada.
When it comes to casting a vision for church planting-the most powerful motivation will be your ability to say,“I know that this is what God wants us to do.” Jesus said, “Lift up your eyes and look on the fields, that they are white for harvest” (John 4:35, NASB).The church leader whose eyes are open to the needs of the community will be receptive to reaching people groups that are unreached. Casting the vision means keeping the vision before the people. Effective leaders weave the vision for the new work into their messages, their church programs, through the Sunday School and small group ministries, and other forms of church communication.
In your community, there are areas that have no church.There are areas that have several yet those that exist do not reach all segments of the population. Identifying the ministry focus group is much more than focusing on a particular people for a new church plant. It is the process of developing a portrait of people that reveals their spiritual aspirations, their real and felt needs, their values, their lifestyles, and the way they look at their world.
Demographic and psychological data is very helpful to assist a church to identify the people with whom they intend to focus.The data is often available through the local association or state convention.
Enlisting the right church planter is critical to the new church’s success. Assessment tools are available to help ensure that the prospective planter will be effective in his or her role.
Engaging multiple partner churches for a church plant is a task that should not be ignored. For starters, requesting partnerships is biblical. Paul, in his letter to the church at Rome, boldly asks the church to partner with him in starting a new work in Spain (see Rom. 15:24). Paul’s ministry is replete with examples of establishing partnerships to accomplish these goals. An obvious benefit of multiple church planting partners is that they can share the load.
Sixty percent of Southern Baptist churches average fewer than 100 adults in worship. For some of these smaller congregations, becoming a planting church could be very intimidating. For these, becoming a partner church can be a great entry point into Great Commission mission work. Clarifying the role each partner plays will help ensure a healthy new work and promote continued involvement as a partner church.
The book of Acts reminds us that it has always taken resources to get the job done. Churches today need to step forward to discover and commit resources as part of their biblical missionary and stewardship responsibilities.When people embrace a vision, it only becomes a reality when they commit their financial resources.
As the partnering church leader, you must help the planter communicate the vision. If the vision is from God, it should be communicated with passion and clarity. Partnering churches should play a key role in providing resources for their new congregations.Through prayer and the guidance of the Holy Spirit, partner churches will pledge their support and undergird the planting of new churches.The partnering church focuses and coordinates the efforts.
Mobilization - whether it’s money, teams, or resources - is about people. It is about putting feet to our faith and provision to our promises. In Romans 15:24, Paul prepared the church in Rome for mission mobilization. Mobilization is the process of fulfilling the partnering commitment.
Hard work is a good description of what it takes to effectively plant a church with members of the partner congregations. It is not uncommon for the partnering church to get excited about planting a church but when it comes time to start, the momentum is difficult to maintain.
Paul understood that churches are not born fully mature. Like people, they go through developmental phases. Partnering churches that are aware of these phases will be able to provide the needed support and ongoing evaluation resulting in the new church moving from milk to meat.
The partnering relationship is always more than providing a name or money.There are steps that can be taken during the incubation and early stages of the new church’s life to help ensure church health throughout the congregation’s lifecycle. Just as prenatal classes help prepare couples for the joys and challenges of parenting, well-equipped pastors and leaders can prepare a church for the joys and challenges of new work partnership.
The partnering role should be seen as a journeywith many stops and opportunities to learn, grow, and celebrate. Consider these questions: What percentage of your members knows the story of how your church (the partnering congregation) came into existence? Do you celebrate the church mileposts and anniversaries? Is there excitement in the church about being family?
Church reproduction is filled with opportunities to celebrate mileposts in the life of the church plant. The partnering church should celebrate the birth of a new church, its first birthday, major milepost achieved, and the addition of souls into God’s kingdom.
It is essential that church planting be a priority for your church’s mission awareness and involvement. Resources are available to help you communicate the concept to your church members and help them become enthusiastically involved in planting churches which will increase the opportunities to share the gospel with all people.
As you read and consider each of the following selections, place in the block the symbol that corresponds with your current or potential use of the idea or resource.
> = Already use idea or resource* = Implement this idea or resource immediately? = Consider future use of this idea or resource
> = Already use idea or resource* = Implement this idea or resource immediately? = Consider future use of this idea or resource
__ To discover needs in your community and people who are not being reached for Christ, consider doing prayerwalks (see prayer chapter), videotape people’s response to spiritual questions and play those for your church, conduct surveys of the community, and participate in ministry evangelism activities.
__ Visit www.churchplantingvillage.net, a premier Web site for churches and their partners, including more than 700 tools for effective church planting.You will find excellent resources such as Multiplying Church Networks materials and “Seven Steps to Plant a Church: Partner Church Edition.”
__ Order “Calling Out the Called,” a tool to help local churches mobilize and involve their members in evangelizing and starting new churches for unreached people and population segments locally, nationally, and internationally. For further information, call (770) 410-6234.
__ Order New Churches Needed: Church Planting Resources Kit, an in-depth study of how church members of all ages can become involved in lay church planting to reach our nation for Christ. To order, call 1 866 407-6262, or visit www.namb.net/catalog.
__ Contact your association office for information on new church plants and opportunities to start new churches in your association. Consider sponsoring or partnering with one of these plants as an extension of your church’s outreach.
__ Contact your association staff to find out how your church can be involved in training and planning for new congregations in the association. Many opportunities exist, and your association staff can help you determine your level of assistance in new plants.
__ Consider the resource of Probe 2, a tool designed to help church planter strategists identify and understand the people groups and population segments living in a city or community in order to evangelize every unreached group with a culturally appropriate church-planting strategy.To learn how to obtain and use this resource, call (770) 410-6222, or visit www.namb.net/cp/Readiness/probe.asp.
__ Consider using volunteers to expand ministry outreach.You can post projects and search for volunteers on thebridge.namb.net.
_ Learn more about how a PowerPlant project in your community can strengthen or inspire a new church start. For more information, visit www.power-plant.net.
__ Participate in the Multiplying Church Network, clusters of church leaders representing various churches who meet regularly to pray for, plan, and learn how to lead their congregations to reproduce themselves in starting healthy, growing, and reproducing congregations.To learn more, call (770) 410-6214, or visit www.namb.net/cp/Mentoring/CP_process.asp.
__ To do a self-assessment of how God may be preparing you for church planting ministry, download the “Discovery Tools” booklet (in Spanish, Korean, and Vietnamese) from www.churchplantingvillage.net.
__ Contact your state convention office for information on new church plants in your state and opportunities for partnering in the process.
__ Contact your state convention state missions director to find out how your church can be involved in training and planning for new congregations.
__ Investigate the possibilities of connecting with a church planter in your state for the purpose of starting a new work. For information related to North America church planting, visit the Church Planting Multiplication Team Web site, www.namb.net/cp/multiplication, and the Church Planting Recruitment Team site, www.namb.net/cp/recruitment.
__ Investigate the possibilities of connecting with a church planter for the purpose of starting a new work. For information related to North America church planting, visit the Church Planting Multiplication Team Web site, www.namb.net/cp/multiplication, and the Church Planting Recruitment Team site, www.namb.net/cp/recruitment.
__ Encourage support of the Nehemiah Project, a cooperative intern strategy with Southern Baptist seminaries to intentionally prepare and equip church planters to plant healthy churches.To learn more, call (770) 410-6218, or visit www.namb.net/cp/Recruitment/Nehemiah.asp.
__ Secure a copy of Reaching a Nation Through Church Planting by Richard Harris. Call (770) 410-6237.
__ Secure and read Planting New Churches in a Postmodern Age by Ed Stetzer, available at LifeWay Bookstores, or www.lifeway.com.
__ To learn more about various church planting resources available to churches, associations, church planters, and their teams, call (770) 410-6000, or visit www.namb.net/cp/Multiplication.
__ To learn how church-planting movements in international settings begin and grow, read Church Planting Movements (in-depth book);“Church Planting Movements” (condensed version in booklet form); or, watch the “Church Planting Movements” on VHS tape.These resources are available at http://resources.imb.org.
Becoming a church-planting congregation is a process that involves partnership, teamwork, and sacrifice. All of the primary mission partners can network together in this effort. Use the following worksheet to begin developing resources, strategies, and contacts for planning churches in each of the mission fields.
Download this page as a PDF.
Download the entireActs 1:8 Challenge Leadership Guideas a PDF.
Download the Multiply Worksheet.
For more helpful information on church planting and related topics, check out the Church Planting Village Online Resource Library.
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