Church planting is difficult. While we want to have a formulaic approach, it is difficult to make a one size fits all approach.
My formulaic suggestions
Having said this, I will now offer several formulaic thoughts that I have been working on:
- Church planters are “culled through” by taking personality, ministry effectiveness, and spirituality tests. While these are helpful, I believe they are only helpful to the planter and not the planter’s “network”.
- In many states planters “partner” with a church that will “assist” them in the planting process. This can range from real assistance to just passing along a check each month. (really!!) I believe this to be a horrible approach. Instead, pair a planter with a planting mother-church to be trained as a staff member for 6 months to a year then the planting church will be able to help the planter grow spiritually and experientially. Many red flags can be addressed and the planting church will have an extra staff member for a year. Oh yeah, let the planting network help pay or partially pay the salary of the planter during this time.
- Never, ever should a planting network give any financial assistance to a planter that the planting network has not provided training in church finances. Also, the planting church should take the responsibility of managing the finances of the new church during the fund-raising process and the 1st year of the new church. This provides a huge advantage for the network and the planter!
- The planting network should require monthly meetings with the planter, the planting mother-church and a representative of the planting network. Casual calls and “how’s it going” emails don’t promote growth.
- Churches should plant churches with the assistance of the planting network – not the other way around.
Some of these – well all of these – are from personal experience. I believe that these are not the complete answer but take us in a better direction. Church Planting is crucial and deserves the attention and innovation that it deserves.