Tag: church planters

4 Ways Church Planting Training Must Change

With missional ecclesiology in full swing, many of the current missional training structures are becoming outdated. If church planting networks and organizations are going to continue to stimulate deep, sustained mission to all kinds of peoples, then some our training structures will have to change.

1. We need to offer both information and experience-based training. Much of the church planting training today is based on theological and missional podcasts, talks, and breakouts. If we are to train a new generation of missional leaders that dive deeply into the 100s of American subcultures, training will have to be based in an experience of their missionfields. We need to offer training that sends church planters into their fields during their training. For instance:

  • Half a day is spent learning principles and half a day is spent in coffee shops and clubs getting to know the values, beliefs, and culture of hipsters
  • Half a day in a immigrant neighborhood knowing on doors, visiting ethnic restaurants, to learn values, beliefs, and objections to Christianity among ethnics groups
  • Half day spending time downtown among professionals, going to happy hour, and attending their power lunches to understand the demands, aspirations, and values of professional life.

2. We need to train planters on both traditional “core teams” and non-traditional missional teams. If we are to reach the increasingly divided people of America, we will need not just missional core teams that gather in living rooms to train, but missional teams that start workshops for the poor, new music venues among artists, new buisness ventures among professionals. Missional teams that create value, good will, and community around the felt and exisiting needs and working places of unreached peoples in the U.S. In some cases, it will be better to “launch” a business or venue before “launching a church.” For example:

  • Starting a workshop to train homeless in microfinance and job skills
  • Starting a music venue to engage musicians and artists
  • Starting a thinktank discussion group to address neighborhood issues

3. We need to equip planters to preach and to cultivate gospel-renewing environments. We need to think through how we not only launch services and small communities, but also how we sustain those people over a lifetime of suffering, adversity and change. This will require a depth of understanding in how the gospel addresses their whole human experience–family, vocation, stage of life. We will need gospel-shaped environments that foster personal and communal renewal over a lifetime not just over a meal or a meeting.

4. We need to cast vision for planters who plant not isolated churches but networked churches that partner for regional and urban renewal. Church planters need to mobilized to think beyond “their church” in order truly plant, multiply, and grow God’s church. If church plants are to effectively renew cities, they must think and plan well beyond their own borders. They will need to partner with other churches in order to effectively address the whole of city and region needs. Urban renewal will not happen one church at a time, but many churches working together at a time. Only then, collectively, can we leave an indelible gospel mark in history for the good of our cities.

Church Planters Keep Austin Wierd

Here’s an unsolicited reflection on Thursday’s PlantR meeting:

Yesterday, I walked into a room full of men hell-bent on changing their city.  Correction:  my city.  This passion mixed with their unabashedly unashamed willingness to promote a plan not their own floored me.  And, the weird part is how completely different each one of these men seem to be…

Read the rest at Lynde’s blog.

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Augustine & Church Planting Proposals

Occasionally I am asked how to prepare a church planting proposal or prospectus. In this post, I want to tell you not to write a church planting proposal. Some of you may feel excited about planting a church, about making an impact in a city or community. Perhaps you have some friends who are excited with you, ready to risk all possessions and security for the sake of Christ. You have been talking with some guys about what the church would look like, where it would be, what kind of theology it will espouse. You envision a tight, missional community. You have some of your pastoral team picked out. Your dreams are starting to get onto paper.

St Augustine experienced a similar thing. He discussed and deliberated over the troubles of life with his friends. A group of them decided that they would form a community. This community would share possessions and would be significantly funded by Romanianus. They selected two officers and were ready to initiate this new community, and then they considered their wives. Augustine writes: “As a result, the whole project, which we had worked out so well, collapsed in our hands; it was completely broken up and thrown aside.” (Confessions, VI.14)

Some of you need to consider your wives as you consider church planting. Your calling is to your household first (1 Tim 3:4-5; 5:8). If your wife is not ready for church planting, you are not ready for church planting. Honestly explore any reservations your wife may have about your vision, your dream. Submit to her in love and listen closely to God. Some wives, however, will approve of your vision to plant a church but not have a clue what it really takes. Just because you have spousal support doesn’t mean that God has called you to plant a church. Like Augustine, you may already have your prospectus but you have neglected your wife, the Church, or God in honestly discerning a call to plant. Save yourself some serious heartache and converse deeply with your wife, speak honestly with the church, especially a group of men who can wisely assess you for gifting and calling to church planting. And don’t project your pipe dreams onto God.

Even if you are not called to plant, your preparations do not have to be in vain. Like Augustine, you can respond to this realization by resting in Proverbs 19:21 “Many plans are in a man’s heart, But the counsel of the LORD will stand.” Don’t cling to your plans; cling to Christ. Cherish the perfect counsel of the Lord, which may be discerned through spouses, assessors, blog posts, circumstances, failure, or private encounters with the Lord. In doing so, you will position yourself for greater joy and purpose in the kingdom of God. Like Augustine, you will be able to conclude: “Out of that counsel you derided our plans and you prepared your own, according to which you were to give us meat in due season, and to open your hand and fill our souls with blessing.” Heed the counsel of the Lord; put down your church planting proposal and receive the meaty blessing God has for you.