Church planting, a byproduct of making disciples, requires a balance between responding to God’s guidance and strategic planning. As we keep our spiritual eyes and ears open and respond to where we see the Holy Spirit working, we also make decisions and plan how we are going to do outreaches, cast vision, and share the message of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection.
A common question that church planters (and sending pastors) ask me is related to when a church plant needs to start thinking about multiplying. “Luke,” the question starts, “at what point should this new church plant start to think about planting churches? How long should the church have been around until it can start multiply?”
The common assumption seems to be that after a number of years, the church plant mysteriously becomes an actual church and then needs to start strategically planning how it is going to multiply and plant churches. Church plants, it would seem, need to reach a certain level/size/age before they can be involved in the planting another kingdom community.
I do, however, beg to differ!
I am convinced that from the very beginning, a church plant should have a culture of multiplication imbedded in its DNA. From day one, a church plant and its leaders should have a concern for making disciples and seeing churches multiply! This will serve the growing and developing church plant community to prioritize an outward focused life that maintains a concern for the Missio Dei from its inception.
“But Luke,” a common response starts, “church planting is hard work and most of us are just trying to survive.” Fair enough. That’s a legitimate concern and one that I am well aware of. What if there was a way for a church planter to receive the support and encouragement needed for the challenge of church planting as well as a way to imbed a culture of multiplication in the new church plant?
Multiply Vineyard and the Small Town Partnership have two resources that can help achieve these goals: coaching and church planting triads.
Get a Coach
For church planters who want to balance receiving encouragement during the process of church planting, develop ways to stay healthy and effective in relation to the church plant, and maintain a culture of multiplication, coaching is a great resource.
Honestly, I can’t recommend coaching enough. Being coached has been one of the most helpful resources I’ve experienced in the past fifteen years of ministry. My coach asks me powerful questions and helps me process the challenges found in ministry as well as prays for me and encourages me (shout out to Reef!). Coaching is life-giving in a way that must be experienced in order to really be understood.
Coaching is a really powerful resource to help encourage you in your journey of making disciples and building community. In the same way that coaching can help you be a better pastor, coaching can help you be a better church planter! If you have questions about coaching, head over to our coaching page and all of your questions will likely be answered.
Join a Church Planting Triad
One of the main resources that the Small Town Partnership has developed is our Church Planting Triads (read more here). Imagine three pastors/churches that are working together to encourage each other and strategically plan and share resources in order to plant churches. Working together makes the challenge of church planting a lot more realistic.
In my own life and ministry, the Church Planting Triad has been one of the most encouraging and effective ways to both receive outside perspective and strategically work together to plant churches in Northern WI. The two other pastors in the triad, Ross Nelson and Michael Houle, have both encouraged me as a follower of Jesus (husband, father, and pastor) as well as provided excellent ideas related to how our churches can work together to accomplish God’s mission in our area.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact us!
About the author
Luke Geraty is a young budding pastor/theologian who serves at Trinity Christian Fellowship. Husband of one, father of five, and deeply committed to proclaiming Jesus and the kingdom, Luke contributes regularly to ThinkTheology.org and Multiply Vineyard. Follow Luke on Twitter, Facebook, or send him an email.