I love church planting. As we’ve worked at establishing a new church in downtown Toronto, I’ve been learning so much, and I expect the learning to continue.
I still have a lot to learn, but I’m convinced of four shifts that we need to make from the way people often think about church planting.
One: From assessing for superstars to assessing for effectiveness. Some church planting assessments target the A players, and leave no room for anyone else. While I understand the thinking behind this, I believe that we need to broaden our thinking about who can plant a church. J.D. Payne puts it best: it’s time to enlarge the church planting table. Many of those who will never be church planting superstars can still effectively plant churches.
Two: From funding traditional plants to funding all kinds of plants. The traditional model of church planting is expensive. It involves staffing, advertising, rentals, and equipment. This model is still valid, and I don’t want to lose it. In fact, it’s what we’re doing. But there’s room for all kinds of other plants. The need is so great that we can’t rely only on one model of church planting, especially at the expense of models that may be cheaper and more scaleable.
From planting services to building congregations from new kingdom citizens. Again, J.D. Payne says that church planting is evangelism that results in new churches, rather than new churches that result in evangelism. Too often we see church planting as the establishment of a new worship service, or even the gathering of existing kingdom citizens into a new church.
From church planting as a niche activity to church planting as the business of every church. As long as church planting is for the select few planters and churches, we won’t see the level of church planting that is needed. Every church can and should play a role in the planting of new churches. Churches can fund new churches, raise up church planting teams, cooperate with other churches to plant new churches, parent new churches, pray for new churches, and more. Planting not only helps to revitalize existing churches, but it makes a significant contribution to the advance of the gospel.
What do you think? Any other shifts that I’ve missed?