Often times, I meet pastors and churches who love the idea of cross-tribal collaboration to plant churches, but don’t know where to start. The great thing about a church planting movement is that there are numerous ways to get in the game. Your church can begin by being a contributor and work up from there. Wherever you start, know that you and your church will receive the blessing of seeing new churches planted that reach people who may not otherwise meet Christ.
One of the things I love about PlantLB, is that it’s a collaboration between many different kinds of churches toward the same goal of planting more Christ-centered communities for the good of the city. It really is a Kingdom effort.
Several years ago, I read an article by my friend and multiplication leader, Dave Reynolds, on 10 ways that you and your church could engage in church planting. Over the years, it has served as a great guide. For this article, I’ve edited and tweaked his 10 ways a bit:
1. Pray intentionally for a planting couple and their team. This is probably the most practical and simple way for your church to get involved. You and your church can partner in this vital way by encouraging a new plant through prayer. Would your church consider “adopting” a local church planter and pray regularly and intentionally for that leader’s church?
2. Invite a planter to share the vision with your board/church. With a couple of the churches I started, I was able to not only gather a few core team members and some support dollars by doing this, but it was invaluable for the churches who had me come speak to cast a vision and the value of church planting–and that this mission we’re on is bigger than just us. Who are the planters in your vicinity? Consider this option as a great way to encourage them and benefit your people in the process.
3. Pick a planting couple and financially support them. Salaries are rarely stable or substantial in church planting. Sacrificial and generous giving from churches and individuals, up and above our regular offerings, is an amazing gesture of Christian unity. We dream of seeing a culture of collaboration strengthen among the many churches in Long Beach around new planters for the sake of supporting their work in our wonderful city.
4. Pick a church plant and give them a one-time gift (childcare equipment, A/V equipment, office supplies, computer, etc.). A new church always has equipment needs. The best thing to do is get on the phone or email with a church planter and ask about current needs, and then see what needs your church might be able to meet. When the last church I planted was about four years old, we really wanted to get involved in helping support another new church start. We had some extra sound equipment and projector that we were able to give a new local planter. I think they’re still using this equipment today for their Sunday worship gatherings!
5. Send a planting couple out to dinner or on an overnight retreat as a gift of encouragement. Planting is difficult and lonely work. The simple act of offering a gift like this to can really help encourage a planting couple in what God has called them to do. Plus, you never know what kind of friendship you might be able to build with a planter through a kind and generous gesture like this.
6. Encourage your congregation to hold a “baby church shower” for a church plant and give them gifts for their startup (office supplies, a/v equipment, etc.). Planters can put together a “registry” of specific items they need, if this is something your church would like to do.
7. Plan to build church planting as a line item into your 2016 budget. I know several churches in the Long Beach area that have adopted this practice, and the effects have been substantial. I talked to a church the other day that’s able to allocate 15 percent of its budget to the planting of new churches. Maybe you’re just starting to consider this. Begin next year with something smaller, like one to three percent of your budget. One of the best ways to start encouraging church planting as a value in your church is to talk about it consistently, share inspiring stories and start budgeting for it.
8. Partner with other churches in your area in planting a church. Our dream is that it will soon be normal, and even expected, for churches in our city to collaborate together for the purpose of planting more churches.
9. Send team members from your church to participate in a plant. Please consider sending your best, and not just pawn off the people who annoy you.
10. Develop and deploy a planter and team from your church to start a new work. If you’re thinking about the possibility of birthing a new church out of your church, it’s never too early to start talking and planning.
John Alwood recently took the position of director for Gospel.Ventures, a newly organized church-planting movement currently planting 50 churches. He also serves as interim director for Plant LB, which offers assessment support and coaching for planters in the Long Beach, California, area. He has been planting churches since the mid-90s in both the Pacific Northwest and in Southern California. John has planted multiple churches in various contexts, including rural, suburban, urban and some of the most politically liberal and conservative leaning cultures in the United States.
Dave Reynolds serves as the national multiplication team leader for the Christian and Missionary Alliance and leads the Western Church Planting Alliance. Reynolds discovered ministry in what is now called a “greenhouse” (churches that intentionally raise up planters for the mission field) and went on to plant churches using principles he learned there. Dave and his wife Elena have planted two churches that have reached and baptized hundreds of people and reproduced multiple times. Dave played a key role in the development of church planting in the Northwest and Southwest areas of the United States. Dave and Elena have three sons.