Church Planting

Summary of Insights, Challenges and Experiments from Mission Summit Conversations (June 2013)

  • Insights
    • God designed & planned for the human body and the Body of Christ to reproduce.
    • God is working beyond geographic regional boundaries through technology & social media to connect, share information, provide resources and dream!
  • Challenges
    • We yearn to dream of, create, and build alternate models of church planting.
    • How can existing churches and church planters view one another as partners rather than threats to one another?
  • Experiments
    • We already had 1 group participant create an AB Church Planters’ Facebook page moments after she suggested it as something we could do!
    • We may participate in the Church Planters’ Academy Aug.15-17 and/or an ecumenical Forge “class” for 8-9 months.
    • We may create a Wikispace to share information, resources, & stories of fruitfulness with new & missional established churches.
    • What would it look like to missional leaders and new church planters to get together?

Summary of Insights, Challenges and Experiments from the Mission Table (November 2013)

  • Insights
    • A new church plant can be the most effective way to reach the unchurched in a community. People who would never step into our existing churches can become part of the Kingdom of God because a new structure/format/flavor opened their minds to embrace faith.
    • Church plants by and for ethnic minorities do better, grow faster, and become independent financially faster than anglo church plants. This is a concern for all of us because with out the anglos, it’s not true diversity.
    • Church plants that have a “mother congregation” do better.
    • Place matters (place in community, place in a generation, place in philosophy, etc). A new church start may have success just because it can go to a place existing churches can’t. The church needs to move beyond it’s fear of strange places and reward those with a desire to bring the good news there.
    • There are three possible reasons white churches don’t grow. 1. Power and being the comfortable majority are natural enemies of the spread of our under-dog religion. 2. Anglo individualism makes it hard for while people to recognize or accept their need for a community. And 3. Whites tend to be divided by generation. So each generation needs different formats/opportunities to plug in.
  • Challenges
    • Imposed structures by the denomination (aka, in a certain time you must own a building, or you must meet on sunday, etc) weigh down new pastors who are trying to do something creative.
    • The future of our denomination may be with ethnic churches.
    • The denomination and region executives are rightly suspicious of “lone ranger” church planters. But if you offer support, many a loan ranger will become a collaborator and made the whole denomination proud. It takes a community to raise a child is true. It takes a denomination to raise a new church.
  • Experiments/Projects
    • What if minority churches planted white/anglo churches as an extension of their success?
    • ”I’m sorry I don’t have money for you.” is not the final word. Lack of money is not the problem that trumps all problems and there are so many other forms of support. Executive ministers and existing congregations can support with mentoring, collaborating, sharing their buildings, using their e-mail lists and networks to spread the word for the new church, sharing used equipment and teaching materials, and praying for new congregations. Helping a pastor feel celebrated and not alone is the best support you can give and that takes little or no cash.
    • Maybe some of the reason church plants fail is that we are planting churches when a community needs us to plant something else. (another community of faith that looks nothing like a church, but still serves Jesus).

Continued Day 2 – Summary (November 2013)

  • Insights
    • In order to be more successful, church planters needed more support
  • Proposed Projects
    • Proposed Actions: The people best able to give support to local church planters are Regional Executive Ministers. We will be calling and e-mailing the Executives to see what their current relationship is with new church pastors and congregations. We will suggest that they provide improved support through:
      • advertising for new churches within their region (in regional newsletters, via e-mail blasts, at regional events, etc.)
      • communicating to existing churches our joint responsibility for the success of new church plants, emphasizing that a new healthy church helps everyone in the region
      • connecting resources between churches within the region so that things like sunday school curriculum, sound equipment, furniture, etc can be recycled to a new congregation that needs it after an existing congregation has upgraded or no longer needs it.
      • finding mentors and advisors within the region who can coach and support the new church planter, and finally
      • being the champion of the new church- bragging about it, expressing pride in accomplishments, and rallying others around the new church members so they know that they are held up in prayer and in high esteem.
    • An e-mail to this effect will be sent out this month to all Regional Executive Ministers.
    • Secondly, the group decided that the most efficient way for ABC churches to share resources would be through an online network similar to Craig’s List. Churches could post items they would like to give away or sell and other churches could post items they need or want. Though none of the people in the discussion group have the technical skills to create such a website, we are searching for someone who does. When the site is up, all Executive Ministers and church planters will receive an e-mail notifying them and encouraging them to post.

Read the full notes:

Mission Summit Conversations:

Mission Table:

Views expressed are the sole opinion of conversation participants. They do not express the views of American Baptist Churches USA, or individual American Baptist churches. Conversation notes and summaries are shared to allow American Baptists and friends to easily review and use these Mission Summit Conversations and the Mission Table learnings as they wish.