I have been blessed to be involved in planting new churches and replanting existing churches for 47 years and I am still learning every year.
One of the areas I have been seeing God bless the most right now is in planting new churches through church planting networks.
Church planting networks are groups of churches working together to share resources and vision to multiply new church plants.
Here are six keys to planting healthy, sustainable, and reproducible churches through networks.
God blesses when churches come together to plant new churches.
The God who exists in community (Father, Son, and Spirit) loves to bless us when we work in community. God honors when his churches act like teammates and not competitors.
We have three NewThing Networks here in Kansas City and we set a goal in 2015 to plant 100 churches together as networks. With this mindset, we have planted 43 macro churches and 50+ micro churches together.
Multiple church plants requires multiple planting churches
Practically, more resources equals more churches. When three or four churches come together to plant a new church, the financial burden is shared. A shared burden is a lighter burden. It just makes more planting possible!
Long term traction in church planting requires a paradigm shift.
One of my basic theological convictions is that healthy organisms reproduce. The mega church I came to lead in Kansas City had a 30 year track record of financial health and sustainability, but we had never planted another church. That is not health! When we began planting other churches, both in Kansas City and overseas, God showed up big time.
I am on the Restore Community Church team here in Kansas City as their church plant catalyst. Troy McMahon planted Restore 14 years ago and has led Restore to help plant 55 new churches. That happens because Troy and Restore are committed to multiplying disciples, leaders, and churches. That is the Restore paradigm. If we want to send out church plants, we must change our definitions of church health and prioritize multiplication on all levels.
Tithe your time and resources to church planting.
When I first came to Kansas City, I began to lead our church to tithe its resources to church planting and to allow me to tithe my time to church planting. For me personally, that meant I spend one afternoon a week with church planters. You cannot expect God to bless you with new church plants if it is not a priority in your budget and your calendar.
Planting new churches requires a process for discovering new church planters.
We are always looking for potential church planters. I tell people all the time, “God loves you and I have a plan for your life. Have you thought about church planting?”
We have developed a six month church planting crash course and 1-2 year residencies to develop planters. We look for church planters within our churches. We look within our city. We look nationwide. How can you expand your process for discovering potential planters?
Focus your church planting network on church plants, not existing churches.
Churches that are ten+ years old have an established set of priorities. We have not built our networks on existing churches that we have to convince to make church planting a priority. We have built our networks on new church plants. We go to them and say, “Let’s do it again – together!” They already have church planting in their DNA. They want to help new churches. We have found more fruit in working with these plants.
These are just a few of the lessons I’m learning about planting churches through networks. What is God teaching you?
About the Author
Dan Southerland is the Church Plant Catalyst at Restore Community Church, Kansas City, Kansas. He has led three church planting networks in Kansas City and helped plant 55+ church plants in US and 400+ church plants internationally. He is also the author of Transitions: Leading Your Church Through Change and Chair Time. Dan is married to Mary and together they have 4 kids and 6 grandbabies.
Your church is created to multiply. We can help.
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