Archives For Church Planting

Most church planters who have kids ask the question at some point, is church planting really the best for my kids?

I can’t speak for everyone, but in my experience, the answer is yes. Here’s why it matters: because answering that question with a yes could mean that you plant the church you’re thinking about. Even more, it could be the best thing for your children.

Now God could raise up a church planter from a stone if he wanted, so he doesn’t need you to do it. But he designed us to pass on our faith to the next generation through church planting, among other ways.

My father and I talk about how God redeemed our family a little bit in Dedicated: Training Your Children to Trust and Follow Jesus, but I wanted to share something here that I’ve never written on—the lessons I learned specifically as a church planter’s son.

My parents answered the question, is it best for my children? Yes. In fact, one of the major reasons my parents wanted to plant a church was because they thought it was best for us. They thought, given our circumstance, it…

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Leaders are always defined by self-imposed standards. I’m not talking about standards set by other people, but standards they set for themselves. Great leaders always expect more from themselves than they do from their followers. They put forth more effort as well. That’s leadership.

If you were to look through the New Testament for the phrase “make every effort,” you’d find it six times. They represent six important vows we need to make as leaders. I believe these six vows will lead to an effective and productive ministry.

1) Vow to maintain integrity

“Make every effort to be found spotless, blameless, and at peace with him” (2 Peter 3:14).

God doesn’t expect us to be perfect. No one is perfect. To be spotless and blameless means to live with integrity. How do you maintain integrity if you’re not perfect? You need to be transparent. A person of integrity is not claiming to have it all together in every area. On the contrary, the person of integrity is willing to be open about their strengths and weaknesses.

Having integrity also means living what you say you believe. You model what you teach. And you tell the truth,…

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“The New Testament is the only model we need!” There, I went ahead and said that for you. It’s out of the way. For those pastors and church leaders who highly value the New Testament AND actually want to accomplish something meaningful, read on…

Every church follows a model. Most of the church leaders who criticize following a model follow a model that tends to criticize models. Follow that? There are traditional models with an age-graded Sunday School, a morning worship service, evening worship service, and a midweek prayer meeting, plus some other programs. W. A. Criswell (one of my biggest heroes) was a pioneer in this model in the 1940’s. Back then, grading ministries by age was innovative.

Other churches follow the “simple church” model. They have weekend worship, small groups, and that’s about it. The ministry and mission is carried out by the groups and the individuals in them. It works well for those who do it right. There are also house churches, and still a few quarter-time churches that only have a Pastor once per month. There’s the Amish and Mennonite model – very community-centric. You get the picture.


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Gaining by LosingPeople are leaving the church J.D. Greear pastors. Big givers. Key volunteers. Some of his best leaders and friends. And that’s exactly how he wants it to be.

When Jesus gave his disciples the Great Commission, he revealed that the key for reaching the world with the gospel is found in sending, not gathering. Though many churches focus time and energy on attracting people and counting numbers, the real mission of the church isn’t how many people you can gather. It’s about training up disciples and then sending them out. The true measure of success for a church should be its sending capacity, not its seating capacity.

But there is a cost to this. To see ministry multiply, we must release the seeds God has placed in our hands. And to do that, we must ask ourselves whether we are concerned more with building our kingdom or God’s.

In Gaining By Losing, J.D. Greear unpacks ten plumb lines that you can use to reorient your church’s priorities around God’s mission to reach a lost world. The good news is that you don’t need to choose between gathering or sending. Effective churches…

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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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When Darrin and Amie Patrick planted The Journey in the basement of their house in St. Louis, Missouri, they began the church to reach and engage “people like us.” The new eBook, The Journey: Toward a Healthy Multiplying Church, traces the story of The Journey from a small core-group meeting to a movement of the gospel across six Journey churches and eight church plants around the United States. In the book, Patrick shares five lessons he and The Journey have learned over the past decade about becoming a movement where every member sees themselves as a missionary for their city. Below, he fleshes out the first lesoon:

Not that I’ve done it, but I would guess that one of the hardest things to do is build a plane while you’re flying it. That’s really what we’ve done at The Journey, and in many ways are still doing. Every multiplying church has to face it at one time or another. Still more difficult is to not just be building while in motion, but inspecting it in mid-flight. But, by God’s grace we have learned some things since planting The Journey more than a decade ago.


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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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