Starting a New Church …right person, place, PLAN, time
How will you know you got there unless you have a plan! I remember as a boy my dad explaining to us why we had not made it to our Aunt and Uncle’s home…he said, “we’re not lost we just don’t know where we are at.” Sometimes it’s even worse…some churches don’t know where they are going, it’s a bit like shooting an arrow at the side of a barn and then drawing the target around the arrow. The Mission Plan should plan from the beginning with the end in mind.
The Mission Advisory Council (MAC) awards and evaluates funding based on a viable MISSION PLAN that includes;
- Demographics which identify a target area and people group(s) you will reach
- Church Planting Model – Stand Alone, Mother Daughter, Satellite, House Church, Preaching Station
- Outreach Plan
- Stewardship Plan – including support of our mission work at large through District and Synod
- Budget & Funding Strategy for the Mission
- Timeline of major steps
o Discipleship and Spiritual Growth Stage
o Exploration Stage
o Preparation Stage
o Implementation Stage
o Launch Stage
Sample Mission Plans …
FLGA District – Mission Advisory Council
This document provides the steps which should be followed by congregations and other entities desiring to enter into a partnership with the Florida-Georgia District in planting new churches. While these steps are not exhaustive, they are helpful in the church planting process.
1. Discipleship and Spiritual Growth Stage
A. Our Pastor has been spiritually preparing his own heart for mission.
B. We have worked toward discipling our people for mission.
C. We have spent time in prayer and conversation to hear and see God’s vision.
D. We have met with our Mission Executive to prepare our leaders and members for missional thinking and action.
E. Our leadership has a clear sense of God’s call for our church to plant a church.
F. We have a Church Planting Parenting team in place. (See The Ripple Church, by Phil Stevenson)
G. We have a Mission Prayer Team in place.
2. Exploration Stage
A. Our Planting Parenting team has prepared our membership for church planting both spiritually and with adequate information to make a Spirit led decision.
B. We have done initial demographic studies of potential church plant locations.
C. We have determined the initial target population for this plant (e.g. language group, geographic group, age range, demographic / mosaic group(s), socio economic.)
D. We have a GO from our leadership team (both staff and lay leadership).
E. We have a Go from our decision making body (Church Council; Board of Directors; Voters).
F. We have determined that we wish to partner with the FL-GA District through the MAC and have begun working with the Mission Executive toward creating this partnership agreement.
3. Preparation Stage
A. We have given an initial verbal request to be included in mission funding with the FL-GA District.
B. We have determined what general style must characterize our ministry in order to effectively reach our target group.
C. We have developed a first draft of our Mission Plan (including right person, right place, right plan and right timing) and submitted them to our Mission Executive.
D. We have communicated our readiness to enter into the Church Planter Assessment process for interviewing and assessing church planter candidates.
4. Implementation Stage
A. We have interviewed approved Church Planter candidates from the Church Planter Assessment process and have made our recommendations to the appropriate decision making group(s) at our church.
B. We have issued a call (if on the Ordained or Commissioned roster of the LCMS) or provided training and licensing through the District President’s Office for workers engaged in a Distance Learning model.
C. We have submitted our formalized Mission Funding Request to the FL-GA District (see appendix- Mission Funding Agreement).
D. We have worked with our Mission Executive to secure a church planting coach for the first two year for our church planter.
5. Launch Stage
A. Church Planter works with Mission Executive to determine what Mission Planter Training would be beneficial.
B. Church Planter has read “best practices,” books on church planting such as; Launch: Starting a New Church from Scratch by Nelson Searcy, Regal Books, Planting Missional Churches by Ed Stetzer, Broadman and Holman; Breaking the Missional Code by Ed Stetzer, Broadman and Holman.
C. Church Planting coach is assigned and begins meeting with the Church Planter.
D. Church Planter explores potential church planting locations identified in the Mission Plan and by the Church Planting Parenting Team to best determine, “RIGHT PLACE.” PRAYER TEAM prayer walks the area(s).
E. The Church Planting Parenting Team disbands. Some may be a part of the Launch Team. Strive for at least 50% of the Launch Team to be comprised of those coming from community contacts.
F. The Church Planter begins formation of a Launch Team. Roles and job descriptions have been created.
G. If Church Planter is lay or commissioned, he begins the process of moving toward ordination through a distance learning model.
H. Church Planter and Launch Team develops appropriate systems preceding first monthly worship (recommended first six months) including
a. Worship Team
b. Witness Team
c. Word (Christian Education) Team
d. Fellowship Team
e. Stewardship Team- including legal filings, bank accounts if needed, spiritual gifts identified and tracked, financial records for offerings, bills, etc.
The goal is to be a fully functioning church from day one!
I. Community Survey of leaders, residents, and business owners. Survey of other churches to determine what “needs,” are being met. GAP analysis.
J. Church Planter plans first three months of launch team “preview worship,” services.
K. Church Planter and launch team invite others to monthly “preview worship,” services.
L. Church Planters and launch team design monthly “splash events,” in the community to serve and get know the community.
M. First regular every Sunday worship launched within first six to nine months. Goal of launching large.