A Question I Hear Quite Often
"My wife and I have recently felt called to look into church planting, but we don't know where to get started. How are these teams formed? How do you pick a city? How do you raise support? Any discussion on this would be a great help to me. Thanks."
If you are asking this question, hey, you have joined an exploding crowd! Nearly every day someone contacts me regarding church planting. Dozens of church planting organizations are at work today, domestically and abroad.
Here are four ways to get started planting churches
As of January 1, 2005, I will be working 1/4 of my time with STADIA networking planter churches, planter partner churches, planters and planter partners. So I am most familiar with STADIA. However, along with information on STADIA let me include contact information on the three other church planting organizations with which I am most familiar, KAIROS, MISSION ALIVE, and IMAGINE A CHURCH. Here is some introductory information on each:
Beginning in 2002, Stadia began to reach North America with the gospel of Jesus Christ. The goal is to see more than 5,500 new churches started on the North American continent by 2025.
Stadia came into being as the Northern California Evangelistic Association became a part of the Church Development Fund family. NCEA had planted over 50 churches from 1984 through 2002. The Northern California region is acting as a model for this church multiplication movement. They continue to lead in developing new and challenging models for church planting.
No movement can be sustained without a solid foundation. Here are some of the basics Stadia holds as foundational truths.
"It has always been my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ was not known, so that I would not be building on someone else's foundation." (Romans 15:20)
Our Core Values:
We believe these values are key to a church planting movement
- Biblical integrity — We submit to the Bible as God’s standard.
- Leadership — We empower leaders to lead.
- Development — We invest in people to help them be their best. We value relationships as important to God and to us.
- Innovation — We are always looking for a better way. We do what needs to be done in the best way we know.
- Ownership — We will drive the church planting vision to the local level.
- Teamness — We believe a team will always outperform an individual.
- Multiplication — We will plant churches that multiply. We only use methods that are reproducible.
- Risk — We embrace risk-taking faith.
Stadia exists to find, train, deploy, and support church multiplication leaders. These leaders will build regional networks of planters, multiplying churches, and support personnel who will build a church multiplication movement that is sustainable and reproducible.
Stadia will develop a North American church multiplication movement which will result in 5,500 new, vibrant churches by 2025.
We believe this will be done most effectively through a church multiplication movement that stresses each church giving birth to multiple daughter and granddaughter churches through local and regional leadership teams.
Our Vision Thrusts:
We have determined that five new areas of emphasis are needed:
- Develop farm systems for leaders (church planters, coaches, mentors, and regional "apostolic" leaders).
- Develop models for cities and ethnic communities.
- Develop funding sources that will enable a church planting movement.
- To encourage multiple church plants in every state in the United States every year.
- To develop internet resources that will change the way we do church planting in the US and around the world.
Kairos is the Greek word meaning "the opportune or seasonable time, the decisive epoch waited for, the right time." (Thayers Greek-English Lexicon)
For he says, "In the Kairos of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you." I tell you, now is the Kairos of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation. (2 Corinthians 6:2)
The Kairos Mission:
The Kairos mission is to recruit, equip and support church multiplication leaders to strategically plant new church planting churches of Christ in order to produce regional church planting movements.
For multiplication: New Churches in New Places for New People.
For church planters: No One Plants Alone.
The Kairos Vision:
By the year 2016 Kairos will have:
- built a recruiting, equipping, and supporting system that produces and places in the field over 12 church multiplication teams each year equipped to plant multiplying churches of Christ in the Northwest.
- planted 60 churches of Christ in the Northwest with over 18,000 attendees.
- developed a church multiplication ministry model that has generated similar church multiplication movements in other areas of the US and the world.
Geographic Service Area:
The initial focus area is the Northwest United States where 5 church plants are currently preparing for launches. A regional coordinator is committed to begin developing a second focus for the Southwest, particularly southern California.
The initial idea was to focus on church planting in the Northwest United States. The name CPNW (Church Planting Northwest) was used to identify this focus. The church planting ministry idea has generated such interest from other regions of the United States that the regionally generic name Kairos has been selected for the parent ministry, under which geographically focused works can be supported.
Funds are needed both to finance the Kairos ministry and to provide basic salary and benefits for church planting couples. A financial base for the ministry will be built from new church plants, which are asked to give 10% of their monthly contributions to support the ministry, and from churches interested in supporting church planting.
Research reported by the Glenmary Research Institute in 2002 on the status of churches in America showed that the growth of the Churches of Christ in the United States for the twenty years from 1980 to 2000 is close to 0% (a full report is available at www.churchplantingNW.org). Membership of the Churches of Christ peaked in 1990 with 1.29 million members in approximately 13,000 churches. The growth in membership of these churches shifted from a growth trend of just over 3% in the 1980s to a decline trend of slightly more than –1% in the 1990s. During this same period denominations such as the Southern Baptist Convention and the Assemblies of God, which were involved in strategic church planting, experienced significant positive growth rates in both decades.
Membership of Churches of Christ in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Alaska from 1980-2000 was consistent with the rest of the country. There were twenty fewer members in these Northwest states in 2000 than there were in 1980. This state of non-growth is difficult to accept when Oregon and Washington are the #1 and #2 least churched states in the United States. Only 31% and 32% of the populations of these States respectively report any church attendance. Meanwhile, the population growth of these states in the 1990s was over 21%, well above the national growth rate of 13%. These people, while unchurched, are not unreceptive. Seventy percent of people in a recent survey gave Christianity as their preference for a religious choice. The Stadia: New Church Strategies ministry has been very successful planting new churches in northern California. People in the Northwest are willing to consider Christianity when it is presented to them in relevant, practical ways.
Two questions are raised by these growth numbers for the Churches of Christ from 1980-2000. The first question is, "Can the Churches of Christ expect to see any significant advance in the next twenty years if we do not make any significant change in the way we approach our evangelistic efforts?" The second question is, "Can we afford forty years of zero growth and maintain any sense of vitality and relevance to the communities in which we exist?"
Our Answer and Strategic Response:
Our answer at Kairos to both of the above questions is NO. We believe that the Churches of Christ in the Northwest, and indeed the US, must do something different if we expect to exist as lively, relevant churches in this the 21st century.
Peter Wagner, former professor of Church Growth at Fuller Theological Seminary has stated that the most effective means of evangelism across the history of Christianity is planting new churches. This statement has been proved by denominations such as the Assemblies and Southern Baptists which have focused on the strategic planting of new churches. Stadia has successfully planted almost ninety new Christian churches in northern California since 1986. Stadia accomplished these results using a church planting support system for planter training and care. Kairos is working with the Stadia ministry to develop a similar church planting system capable of creating a church multiplication movement among Churches of Christ based on recruiting, equipping and supporting church planting teams to strategically plant church planting Churches of Christ in the Northwest.
Why do we consider the Northwest United States as a prime region in which to locate this church planting ministry? First, as mentioned above, these states are the most unchurched in the nation, yet they are also receptive. Second, the main stream Churches of Christ in the Northwest in general, and in Portland specifically, demonstrate a high degree of acceptance of church differences. The PUMP inner city church (Portland Urban Mission Project) and the Living Streams church are both new churches with non-traditional approaches to their ministries, yet they have been well received in the Church of Christ community. The Kairos ministry should find acceptance here. Finally, to be outside the main concentration of Churches of Christ in the south will provide room to explore ways to plant new churches in new places for new people without undue critique.
Kairos will accomplish its purpose by doing the following:
- Kairos will work with potential church planters to prepare them for and support them in their church planting work.
- Kairos will work with existing congregations to train and support them in the work of sponsoring new churches through daughter church planting.
- Kairos will develop a model of church planting and planter care that will be reproducible in other urban areas of the nation and the world.
Our Strategic Plan to Meet the Need:
Kairos intends to promote evangelistic growth among churches of Christ by recruiting, equipping and supporting church planters who will strategically plant new churches which will in turn plant more new churches. Our functional model will adapt the model of Stadia ministries (www.stadia.cc) which has successfully planted almost 90 churches in the past 15 years. The heart of this model is a team of coaches, mentors and peer relationships who support the church planters as they start their churches.
Kairos will act as a support ministry for church planting. The first and primary support will be to the planting couples and their planting teams. The ministry will recruit and assess potential church planters through an assessment process. People who are accepted into the program will be provided a program of reading and training opportunities which will prepare them for the evangelistic process of church planting. The church planter will be assigned a coach who will work with the planter as he prepares a two-year ministry plan for the church plant. A spiritual mentor will also work with the planter. Where the coach helps the planter improve his performance, the mentor helps the planter develop as a person. The mentor is a spiritual safety net who provides personal care to the planter. Kairos also helps the planters select their target areas and provides basic demographic data to the planter.
The second area of support Kairos will provide is to churches who desire to plant a daughter church. This support includes help to the congregation through seminars, identifying a compatible church planting couple, and supporting both the planting church and the planter couple through the planting process.
Funding for the ministry will come from two primary sources. First, churches which are planted within the ministry system will return 10% of their monthly contribution income to Kairos. Second, churches which are daughter church planting through Kairos will provide the ministry 10% of what they support their church planter for that service. In addition, Kairos will seek funds from individuals and organizations. Church planting couples will be supported according to a declining balance sheet for 3 years, at which time their churches are expected to be self-supporting.
The initial idea for Kairos began when Stan Granberg met Dean Pense of Stadia ministries (then the Northern California Evangelistic Association) in October 2001. In February 2002 Stadia invited Stan and Gena Granberg to participate in a 3 day church planter assessment lab at the Stadia ministry center in Vacaville, CA. This trip provided the Granberg’s an inside look at the Stadia planter support system. Dr. Granberg then planned the first Northwest Church Planting Workshop in March 2003, hosted at Cascade College, to promote church planting to Churches of Christ in the Northwest. To prepare for this workshop the Church Planting Northwest website was created (www.churchplantingNW.org) and an informational e-bulletin was produced which is now called Inside Church Planting (available on the website). These events demonstrated the viability of a church planting ministry and an interest in church planting among Northwest churches.
The second phase in the birth of Kairos began in August 2003 when the Granbergs were invited to attend the first Stadia directors’ lab for those who would be directing church planting associations across the United States. From this experience the following three key ideas formed:
- A strategic ministry to support church planting among Churches of Christ was needed and should be established.
- The vision for the ministry needed to be shared with individuals who had attended the first Northwest Church Planting Workshop and were interested in the church planting vision. If these individuals bought into the vision, the vision would pass an initial test and the nucleus of a ministry team would be formed. Both were accomplished.
- The ministry plans to begin with 3 church plants in or around the Portland, OR area within 2 years to establish an approach for church planting.
The current third phase in establishing the Kairos ministry began in November 2003 when Stan Granberg held a daughter church planting seminar for the Dalton Gardens Church of Christ in Couer D’Alene, ID. A Northwest focused ministry, called Church Planting Northwest (CPNW) was introduced and well received by the Dalton Gardens church. At the Pepperdine Lectureships in May 2004 CPNW hosted a breakfast at which the CPNW idea was presented to a broader group of people. The feedback from Pepperdine was that there was a need for a broad-based ministry that was not geographically confined. In response to this feedback the name Kairos was selected for this ministry.
Other organizations and how we relate to them:
The Stadia organization, as mentioned above, has been a model and mentor for Kairos and we expect that relationship to continue. In April 2004 Kairos and Stadia entered into a partnership agreement through which Kairos church planters will have access to Stadia administrative support and the 3rd party benefits vendor (CPI), through which health insurances, a cafeteria plan, 401k and tax services are provided. In addition, we are exploring the possibility of developing a church planting apprenticeship program with Harding University Graduate School of Religion. This program has the potential of training 4-6 church planting couples a year.
Our plan for future funding:
The long-term financial stability for the Kairos ministry will come from the monthly 10% contributions of the planted churches and the contributions made by partnering mother churches. Monies for expanding the number of church planters that Kairos can support will be sought from individual contributions and foundations.
Developing staff and churches:
Kairos is committed to developing church planters and church planting churches; this means we must model what Harvard professor Chris Argyris termed "a learning organization". One of our organizational values is to promote personal and organizational growth by providing learning opportunities via printed materials, seminars, expert advisors, etc. Kairos will work to bring growth opportunities to those in our influence network on a regular basis.
Dr. Stanley Granberg, Executive Director (503) 257-1220
11124 NE Halsey, PMB 497
Portland, OR 97220
Internship for Evangelism and Church Planting
Dr. Gailyn Van Rheenen
Insignia: A flame
Theme Verse: "His word is in my heart like a fire" (Jeremiah 20:9)
Purpose of Mission Alive:
Equipping evangelists and church planters through experiential training
Organization of Mission Alive
- A local church will oversee Mission Alive (See alternative option under Goals for 2004)
- A Board of Advisers will work with the Director of Mission Alive and the overseeing church in decision-making.
- A Director will coordinate the functions of Mission Alive and actively work as an evangelist and church planter in modeling incarnational ministry.
- Mission Associates will participate collaboratively with the Director in developing Mission Alive ministries. Mission Associates are mature leaders having the motivation and attributes to become leaders in new church plantings.
- Apprentices train to become evangelists and church planters within Mission Alive for one year or more. Many apprentices will grow to become church planters.
- Interns train with Mission Alive for a period of 3-4 months. Many interns will become apprentices at a later period of time.
- Equip 300 interns for evangelism and church planting by 2015
- Equip 100 apprentices for evangelism and church planting by 2015
- Plant 25 suburban and city-wide churches by 2015
- Plant 150 apartment and house churches by 2015
Goals for 2004
Develop the Overall Organization of Mission Alive — Two Options:
- Finding a supporting church to oversee Mission Alive with the guidance of a Board of Advisers (as suggested above).
- Organize as a non-profit organization composed of mature Christian leaders like our Christian schools and World Christian Broadcasting.
Select Sites for Future Church Planting
- Develop criteria for site selection for urban church plantings in North America.
- Make a systematic analysis of the Dallas-Ft. Worth metropolitan area through demographic and cultural analysis
- Select five sites (based on goals B. #1 and #2) for church planting within the Dallas-Ft. Worth metropolitan area
Recruit Interns and Apprentices
- Develop relationships with Christian schools for the purpose of recruiting future interns and apprentices
- Recruit 15 interns and 5 apprentices to enter training in 2005. Develop a weekly prayer and equipping time for future church planters in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area
- Develop modules of training for interns and apprentices
Network with Churches of Christ about future church plantings
- Meet and counsel with evangelism and mission ministries of Churches of Christ throughout the Dallas-Ft. Worth metropolitan area.
- Advertise Mission Alive among Churches of Christ
- Meet and counsel with ten evangelism and mission ministries of Churches of Christ to help them facilitate church planting.
Goals for 2005
- Implement the plans developed during 2004
- Equip 15 interns and 5 apprentices.
- Develop weekend orientations for future interns and apprentices during both the Fall and Spring semesters
- Develop structure for the on-going mentoring of church planters by training coaches, mentors, and financial managers of church planting teams
- Recruit 20 interns and 7 apprentices for 2006
- Simultaneously plant two churches with interns and apprentices in different contexts in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area
- Continue to meet and counsel with evangelism and mission ministries of Churches of Christ throughout the Dallas-Ft. Worth metropolitan area
- Continue to advertise Mission Alive among Churches of Christ
- Meet and counsel with ten evangelism and mission ministries of Churches of Christ to help them facilitate church planting
IMAGINE A CHURCH
From Roger: Over the last few months a lot has happened with me personally and also Imagine A Church Network. Since the time we organized as a 501 3c organization and really started getting serious about making a difference, God has opened many doors for IACN. Our board of directors are all working hard at helping move this ministry forward and together we are seeing fruit. IACN focuses on three main things and has developed process for each of these:
- Redeveloping Church Networks (RCN), where we work with plateaued or declining churches to lead them through a 15 month process of redeveloping.
- Just In Time Church Planter Training, where we work with church planters, training them through a 1 year process while they are planting their churches. We come along side of them during this year with coaching and training.
- Coaches Training, this is training coaches worldwide to come along side of church leaders to help them with strategy and process. We do this coaches training with Denominations, churches, and organizations to help them build a coaching system.
The following are some exciting things that are happening:
A door has been opened to us through one of our board of directors with the Free Methodist denomination. I took a trip to Indy to meet with a number of pastors and leaders from that region and a significant relationship was built. I then met with one of their bishops and began a working relationship with the denomination. We are going to be doing multiple RCN’s with their churches starting this fall. I have been attending their annual conferences around the Midwest sharing with them and building a relationship for IACN. I have been invited to be the speaker/trainer for their National Leadership Conference in Oklahoma City in January so that I can have contact with their leaders nationally. We are beginning to work with their Hispanic churches and church plants as well.
There are a few other denominations that we are beginning to work with using the RCN process and starting Church Planting Centers. We are working with 2 large churches helping them develop a reproducing process so that they can plant their first daughter churches. I am starting 2 other RCN of multiple denominations in the fall that will impact communities. We have been asked by some small colleges to use our church planting material and training as curriculum for their church planting majors.
Something has happened that we did not expect to happen so fast. We met with some leaders in Mexico last week that are representatives of Christian Swartz (NCD). They are the NCD representatives of Mexico. They heard about our RCN process and really feel that this process will give them what is needed to impact churches in Latin America. Therefore we are partnering with them so that IACN will have a presence in Mexico as IACN of Mexico. At the present time we are having all of our material — RCN, Church Planting, and Coaching — translated into Spanish. This will also enable us to do work here in the US with Hispanic works in all areas. We have a guy who is working with us that will do the presenting in that area as he has extensive cultural background in that area.
A representative from International Leadership Academies contacted me to see if we would consider working with them to help establish a church planting initiative and training in India. We are going to be talking with them.
As you can see IACN is growing and taking steps to help build the Kingdom Worldwide. Therefore we have recognized the need to multiply ourselves in terms of presenters, coaches and trainers. We have quite a few individuals who have worked with us over the past year or so and we are now asking them to step up their involvement a little so that we have qualified trainers nationally
and regionally. We are having a presenter training for the U.S. sometime in August to train these people in all of our material.