These ten tested principles reflect the experience of 20 RCA parenting churches that pioneered the practice of “churches planting churches.”
Please prayerfully reflect on these principles as you consider planting a church.
- Encourage prayer and spiritual empowerment.
The Holy Spirit is the catalyst and true initiator for the church. Prayer releases the power of the Holy Spirit to grow the church. It’s important to have prayer teams interceding for a new plant. Trust in the Holy Spirit’s leading to empower your ministry and take care of every need. This well will never run dry!
Communication must be a two-way street between the parent church and the plant. There must be preaching, videos, and testimonies, all of which must continually communicate the vision of the church.
- Provide effective coaching.
The best coaches closely evaluate and understand the personalities, wiring, and needs of the planters. This kind of coaching allows for self-discovery, which is part of discipleship. The planter should submit to the coach’s leading and should demonstrate teachability and a desire to improve. The planter-coach relationship needs to be built on accountability and transparency.
- Cultivate empowering relationships.
There must be a strong, loving relationship between the leader(s) of the parent church and the new church leaders. Evangelism is most powerful when a community is close and there is an emphasis within it on working together. Good communication, trust, empowerment, love, and friendship are essential. Like the Antioch church in Acts 13, the parent church can give some of its strongest leaders to the plant.
- Offer resources of all kinds.
It’s important to have visionary givers who are willing to take a financial risk. But a church with well-balanced resources doesn’t just offer monetary support. It provides resources like coaches, models, and training. Prayer support, other gifted leaders, and people willing to share past experiences are also valuable resources. Sow generously and take a systematic approach.
- Select planters carefully.
A planter must be the right person in the right place at the right time. Planters should be selected for their leadership and communication abilities, teachability, and passion for evangelism. Potential church planters should be assessed before planting begins. Click here [link] to learn more about the planter assessment process.
- Consider demographics.
Many church plants seek to reach new communities. It is important that a planter is well-matched to his or her location. The plant’s vision must also be aligned with its location and with the people it hopes to reach—it needs to target the right group. Spiritual mapping and spiritual discernment can help you decide what groups to reach out to. View ethnic diversity and communities in transition as ministry opportunities.
- Lay out a vision and values.
It’s important to lay out the vision and values of a new plant. A new church plant’s values should include a love for the lost, cultural intelligence, and a commitment to move where God is moving. The vision should give a clear picture of the plant’s goals for the future, offer parameters within which the process of growth will happen, and serve as a guide when storms come along. It should answer the questions, “Why are we doing this?” and “How will we get to our goals?”
- Provide strong parent church leadership.
Parent churches are the initiators of the vision. They carry the responsibility for the plant. They should have a passion for the lost. They should also be able to fill a nurturing, birthing role and provide a model for the church plant to emulate. Parent churches are influencers that empower a plant to grow from its organization until it can reproduce new churches of its own.
- Build on a biblical foundation.
A biblical foundation is the map and compelling commission for starting a new church. Faith enables us to embrace the risk, accepting that we may not have every answer nailed down before we start the journey. The risk is so great that only God can take it on, so we must relinquish control to God.