Archives For Church Planting

Igniting a MovementWhat can American church planters learn from our international counterparts?

As director of training and leadership development for India Gospel League (IGL), Benjamin Chellapandian (“Pastor Benny”) oversees 7,000 church-planting pastors in rural India and Sri Lanka who over the past 25 years have planted roughly 70,000 churches. Recently, Chellapandian spoke to a U.S. church about God’s plan and purpose for growth, focusing on his observations from the Book of Acts. Below is an excerpt from his message:

In past years, the church has discovered that to fulfill God’s plan and purpose, we need to grow numerically. Much of that teaching comes from the Book of Acts’s account of the birth and growth of the early church. If we want to learn about planting churches that grow and accomplish Jesus’s mission, we don’t have to look any further than to the examples of the churches in Acts. I have learned (and continue to learn) so much from the early churches about planting churches. In Acts 1 after Christ’s resurrection, Jesus is teaching His disciples about the Kingdom of God and tells them to “wait in Jerusalem.” Then just before He ascends into…

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Igniting Movements: Multiplying Churches in Dark Places

By Ajai Lall and Josh Howard

Nearly 65 percent of the world’s unreached people groups live in India (1.2 billion people) and the 11 countries surrounding it—comprising nearly 50 percent of the world’s population. This is where Central India Christian Mission (CICM) makes its impact.

Founded by Ajai Lall and his wife Indu more than 30 years ago, CICM is igniting movements throughout this populous region. In this FREE eBook, Igniting Movements, Lall and CICM leader Josh Howard chronicle the journey toward church multiplication through riveting stories of facing religious persecution, practical leadership insights and multiplication principles that continue to reproduce churches in some of the world’s darkest places. The authors conclude the book by sharing five “big things” we must not forget if we truly want to ignite church multiplication movements where we are. Igniting Movements—the ninth eBook in Exponential’s church multiplication series—offers encouragement, wisdom and inspiration to planters regardless of your context or culture. Download your copy of Igniting Movements.

Key takeaways

  • The three elements needed to start and stoke spiritual fires
  • How we can reach the world’s population with the gospel in less than 20…

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What are the questions that have changed your life? For Jeff Leake, president of the Reach Northeast church planting network, the question that changed his life—and the lives of thousands–came in November of 1996. In this FREE resource, Leake shares the story of why and how he has led Allison Park Church to become a multiplication center that to date has been involved with the planting of 38 churches throughout the Northeast.

Leake also takes readers on a transparent journey as he identifies the primary tensions he and Allison Park wrestled with as they planted one church after another. He admits, “As soon as we decided to step out and plant our first church, I felt the pull of fear on my soul”:

  • What if everyone leaves our church and goes with the church planter?
  • What if our larger givers leave and I’m left with nothing but bills?
  • What will happen if my attendance drops?
  • What will my peers think of me if I pastor a smaller church than I did before?

As he faced those fears head-on and Allison Park obeyed and stayed its course of multiplication, God’s provision continued to come. The Question That Changed My…

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In this FREE resource, Exponential Director Todd Wilson presses into Exponential’s 2015 theme, “SPARK: Igniting a Culture of Multiplication,” to give church leaders a vision for reproducing churches and the tools needed to see that vision come to fruition. The eBook sets the framework for Exponential’s 2015 eBooks series focusing on multiplication and champions Exponential’s focus on moving the multiplication needle in the U.S. Church.

Wilson highlights the cultures leaders most naturally create and he challenges you to honestly assess which culture you’re creating. He points out that every church–regardless of your context or phase (pre-launch, launch or post-launch)–is creating a culture and takes readers through a thorough explanation of how culture is created and what is needed to create a multiplication culture.

He offers an exploration of what Scripture says about God’s command to multiply and out of that scriptural study comes fresh insight as he contends that the U.S. church needs both addition (what he calls the micro strategy of adding disciples one on one, and life on life) and multiplication (the macro strategy of reproducing churches). He writes: “We must purpose to continually ask ourselves, ‘How do we help everyone…

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Outside TemperatureIsn’t it easier to point out the wrongdoings of others and tell people what to do, rather than be a part of the solution?

My wife and I have noticed this in our children—they love playing the victim. So whenever there’s conflict, instead of figuring it out themselves, they come to us crying out “injustice!”

I wonder where they learned that from? I knew I never should’ve let them watch Sesame Street…

In order to fix this attitude, a few days ago, my wife began teaching them the difference between being bossy and being a leader. Here’s the difference:

  • Bossy people point out the wrongdoings of others, expect others to fix their issues, and are never wrong.
  • Leaders take responsibility for situations, don’t dwell on problems, focus on solutions, and make change happen.

As I was reflecting on this new paradigm of parenting (my wife is amazing by the way), I couldn’t help but notice the similarities that it had with thermometers and thermostats. Let me explain:

  • Thermometers point out what currently is, expect others to do something with that information, and they provide us with the standard—they are never wrong. Thermometers are indicators.
  • Thermostats, on the other…

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In a recent Fast Company article, The Startup Revolution Is About To Surge Again, Coca-Cola VP of Innovation David Butler discussed his ideas about what is needed for the “next wave entrepreneurial growth.”

I see some parallels with church planting and church growth movements.

Butler talks about three waves, two of which have already occurred and one which is forming.

The First Wave

The first wave was, “moving from dotcom to startup”

Startups are now mainstream. It’s never been easier to start a business. There are new tools available that make the process easier than ever before.

Church planting has become more mainstream as well. Church planting became cool. Churches wanted to become church planting churches and seminary graduates began thinking more and more about planting their own churches rather than going on staff at existing churches.

In the startup world,

…new tools, communities, and access to capital have all contributed to today’s global startup ecosystem. That’s the second wave—the wave we’ve been riding for the past decade.

Church planting organizations, congregational church planting arms, multisite, church planting conferences, books, etc. all grew up to create a church planting ecosystem. This was the second wave.

The Second Wave

Church planting organizations and…

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Sending CapacityIn their new FREE Exponential eBook, Sending Capacity, Not Seating Capacity, J.D. Greear and Mike McDaniel, leaders of The Summit Church, share some of the lessons they’ve learned over the last 10 years of planting 23 churches domestically and 90 internationally, and sending out 555 people from the congregation to be part of new church plants. Below, they focus in on what it takes to make a risky move and commit to share your best leaders–the people you least want to send–with new church plants. 

Missiologists say that to begin advancing on lostness in North America, we need to increase the rate at which we’re planting churches fivefold. As you can imagine, planting that many churches will take a lot of resources. However, it may surprise you that the greatest obstacle to planting more churches is not a lack of funds; it’s a lack of qualified planters. Our own denomination, the Southern Baptist Convention, has an aggressive strategy to plant 15,000 churches over the next 10 years in North America, and while financial resources are always tight, the greater limiting factor, according to leaders like Kevin Ezell of the North…

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More Than BBQIn their new eBook, More Than BBQ: How God Is Creating a Citywide Church Planting Movement in Kansas City, Dan Southerland and Troy McMahon reflect back on their experience of starting the network and share 10 specific steps they took to bring churches and planters together throughout the Kansas City area. Below, Southerland writes about the importance of praying for and then identifying like-minded leaders to come alongside you to walk out the vision. Download your copy of the FREE eBook to read all 10 steps.

I’m amazed at how often we make the fatal mistake in church planting of trying to do it alone. Going solo. Giving into rugged individualism is a huge error.

Scripture warns us about trying to live the Christian life alone:

Two are better than one, for if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken. (Eph. 4:9-12, ESV)

I believe this also to be true about planting a church. I know it to be true about starting a church-planting network. And it is ridiculously true about…

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What happens when churches from diverse denominations come together with a vision to join forces to reach the seventh-largest U.S. city? In the article below, Bruce Wesley, founder of the Houston Church Planting Movement, shares how 12 churches have come together to create the HCPN Church Planting Residency, which funds, trains and supports church planters they believe will become movement leaders in Houston. Here in this article, Wesley offers three of the five proven dynamics for collaborating with churches shared in his FREE eBook, Multiplication for Collaboration: The Story of the Houston Church Planting Movement

One of my favorite fly-fishing spots is about 10 miles west of Kremmling, Colorado, near the confluence of the Williams Fork and the Colorado River. The giant trees that line the river fill the air with an aroma as sweet as a candy shop. It’s shady, and the parking lot is close enough to the water that fishermen are not exhausted by walking to the river in full gear. Best of all, the fishing is great.

The fish obviously love this spot too. For the fish, the confluence of two rivers makes the flow powerful. The water…

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Extreme SportWhere do you find enough money to start a church during a global recession? Starting a church in good economic times is daunting enough, but starting one now borders on insanity. Insanity or not, church planting has never been a sport for the faint-hearted. In fact, I have always called it the extreme sport of ministry.

But raising money for a church plant may be THE most extreme part of this extreme sport because it takes vision – plain and simple – and a clear way to communicate that vision. Josh Husmann, Lead Pastor of a new church plant called Mercy Road in Indianapolis, raised more money in one day than the average church planter does in a year. How? He clearly communicated his vision at the recent Next Nuts & Bolts Church Planting conference in Ocala, Florida. And left with a $20,000 check.

All conference attendees had the opportunity to enter their Church Master Plans and compete through a series of interviews with church planting experts. In difficult financial times, Josh brought the key elements that unlock finances for a successful church plant.

This equation determines a church plant’s funding capacity:

(Vision +…

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In his new eBook, Sending Church: Stories of Momentum and Multiplication, Dan Smith shares the journey his church plant, Momentum Christian Church, has taken to be a church-planting church that sends both people and money. In the epilogue of the eBook, Smith shines a spotlight on a pastor and church that mastered the art of multiplication tk years ago. Listen in to Greenleaf’s story and ask yourself, What are we doing to forcefully advance the Kingdom?

Recently, I visited my alma mater, Kentucky Christian University, and popped in to see my old prof and friend, Dr. Robert Ford. As we chatted, he told me that Momentum’s story and vision of multiplication reminded him of the late Clarence Greenleaf, a preacher from the mid-20th century.

Dr. Ford explained, “Greenleaf was a minister in Grundy, Virginia. When his church grew to 550 people, he would send out 50 of them to start a new church. When they grew back to 550, he’d do it again.”

Momentum has never come close to an attendance of 550 people, but the story fascinated me. Very few people ever tell me, “Hey! Momentum’s vision for sending reminds me…

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Together for the City: What Can Happen When the Mission Is Bigger Than 1 Congregation? by Tom Hughes and Kevin Haah

What happens when 31 churches from 18 different denominations come together with a vision to reach the second-largest U.S. city? In this inspiring new eBook from Exponential, leaders of the Los Angeles Church Planting Movement (LA CPM) share how this unexpected Movement came to be and the challenges to birthing and developing such a huge vision to plant a neighborhood church in each of LA’s 119 neighborhoods , especially across multiple denominations. Co-authors Tom Hughes and Kevin Haah also flesh out the lessons they’re learning about reaching a city and planting gospel-centered neighborhood churches. In the first two years, LA churches have come together to contribute close to $2 million to the LA CPM mission and plant churches together, offering a beautiful illustration of Jesus’ words in John 17:23: “I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me.” Download your FREE copy of Together for City.

Key takeaways: