Why All Churches Should Have a Birth Plan

By Aubrey Malphurs

Family PlanningOne of my colleagues recently had his second child. As we were preparing this month’s Leadership Link on Church Planting, I realized a couple’s birth plan is an excellent metaphor for churches who want to be “church-planting” churches.

Unfamiliar with birth plans? It’s ok. Many people are. They help the mother (and father) take initiative in planning how the baby’s arrival will go. It allows them to be intentional about how things will happen, what things won’t, and what things are negotiable. (It should be noted that the birth plan is an imperfect metaphor and obviously not meant to be treated as “equal” to child birth.)

Here are a few reasons why I believe churches should also have a birth plan.

1) Birth Plans Infuse Intentionality 
If your church isn’t intentionally planning to plant other churches, it likely won’t. I’m afraid too many pastors leave church planting up to spontaneous combustion or for others to do.

2) Birth Plans Help Prepare Those Involved
No man can imagine the pain and struggle of childbirth; however, planning for what will occur helps to prepare.

Churches who plan for planting to occur will increase their likelihood of enduring the difficult process of planting churches. Birth plans prepare God’s people for the eventual day when people will leave, ministries will change,  and faith will be tested.

3) Birth Plans Identify Risks
Before engaging in an endeavor as important as church planting, you should do a risk assessment. This includes planter assessment, viability of the church, impact on the sending church, etc. Anything less is, at a minimum, risky stewardship.

4) Birth Plans Force Us to Accept Responsibility
Many pastors are not planters. That’s okay. But it’s not okay to avoid missional ministry that seeks to multiply kingdom minded churches around the globe (and at home).

5) Birth Plans Identify the Inevitable
If we’ve never made a commitment to church planting, what makes us think we ever will? If we identify church planting as a core part of our ethos, we will increase the chances of doing it.

6) Birth Plans Protect the Mother and Child’s Health
If you plant without a plan, you are planning to plant poorly. Protect the sending church and the church plant by faithfully planning how the sender and the sent will be sent.

7) Birth Plans Stimulate Spiritual Vitality
Objects that are stagnant tend to stay that way. Objects that are moving tend to keep going. If you want your people to be “on the move” and growing, you should plan for your church to be sending and multiplying. A culture of planting ignites innovation and transformation as people realize they and their church will constantly change.

What other benefits do you see to having a birth plan? 

What’s your greatest stumbling block from creating a birth plan now for your church?

photo credit: Steve Bowbrick

Aubrey Malphurs

Aubrey Malphurs

Aubrey is a prolific and award-winning author of more than 20 books, with titles focusing on topics such as strategic planning, leadership development, church planting and organizational strategies. In addition to being the inspirational leader of the organization, Aubrey is a Senior Professor of Leadership and Pastoral Ministry at Dallas Theological Seminary in Dallas, Texas.

Dr. Malphurs planted his first church in 1972. He has also pastored two churches in Dallas, Texas, while teaching at Dallas Seminary. Since 1997, he has devoted his time to teaching and leadership of The Malphurs Group. Aubrey has partnered with numerous organizations, both in the US and in foreign countries such as Russia, England, Philippines, Finland, Latvia, Germany, Holland, Switzerland and France. He has been a consultant and seminar leader for a wide variety of denominational organizations across the country.