What is church planting? I remember being in a conversation at one of our neighborhood parties and they assumed church planting was about, plants. Seems fair enough. I could see how it could be confusing. However, church planting is simply starting new churches.
It would be easy to easy to conclude we already have too many churches. Especially in Texas. It seems like every road we drive down we will see 3-4 churches, however, those are really more buildings than churches. Just because there is a building doesn’t always mean it is a church. My desire isn’t to see more buildings. We have plenty of buildings. My desire is to see more churches that are different. Specifically:
- Seeking an authentic relationship with Jesus
- Seeking authentic relationships with one another
- Seeking the benefit of the local community
- Seeking the spiritual care of the people in our relational sphere
Stages of Church Planting
I doubt this is exhaustive, but I have tried to keep a general awareness of the stages we go through as we started North Village Church:
Stage One: Discerning the Call
There are a million reasons why not to start a church, but the primary reason is the call. When Jesus calls us to something He will empower and equip us to fulfill that call. No matter how unequipped we might feel. See Why Not To Start A Church.
Stage Two: Affirming the Call
Participate in an assessment. Open your life to others to challenge, probe, and speak truth. This isn’t something you want to walk into alone. Acts 29 and Hill Country Bible Church NW are two that I experienced and would recommend.
Stage Three: Defining the Vision
This is often times something that is tweaked and changed over time, but as soon as you can begin to put those dreams, desires, and passions on paper. See Our Strategy.
Stage Four: Gathering a Team
This isn’t something you can do alone so it is paramount to have a team. If Jesus has called He will also provide a team. See Getting Started, Team Development.
Stage Five: Raising Financial Support
It might feel awkward, but it is going to take finances to start a new church. It might not be a huge amount of money, but you will want to see others believe in the vision to a point that they will give money to the vision. See Raising Support.
Stage Six: Mobilizing the Team
There are plenty of people gathering in buildings around the world referring to themselves as churches. We don’t need more of those. We need churches that are living on mission with God. It starts with the team. Begin to mobilize them to live on mission (see 4 characteristics at the top of the page). See also 3.2.1 Cards, Sharing the Gospel.
Stage Seven: Go Public
At some point relationships need to come together and experience the synergy of church family. It is awkward, but it needs to happen. See Church Name, Practice Gatherings, Creating a Worship Gathering, First Three Months, First Nine Months, First Year Celebration.
Stage Eight: Clarifying Vision
The vision cannot stay with you or even the initial team. It has to be communicated in a way that trickles down to other people. It needs to be so that the average person would know the reason for existing and what everyone is trying to accomplish. See also North Village Church 2011
Stage Nine: Developing Leaders
There has to be multiplication. It has to progress through others as everyone takes ownership.
Stage Ten: Yet to be determined 🙂