In Church Replanting, what is a ‘Sending Church’?

By Mark Hallock

In church replanting, what exactly is a “Sending Church”?

This question pops up frequently in conversations surrounding replanting and revitalization. Simply put, a Sending Church is a congregation that agrees to come alongside and help replant a dying congregation over the long haul.

In a very real sense, the Sending Church serves as the sponsor or mother church for a replant. The role of this church is to pray for, encourage and serve a declining congregation however they can, leading them toward renewed, sustainable health.

“Sending Church” is most commonly heard in the context of church planting. After all, many recognize that for a church to succeed it needs more than a high-capacity pastor or compelling outreach strategy. It needs a healthy church to foster and champion its growth. In fact, we see in the Bible that since the church first began to multiply, churches have been planting churches.

I think we have just as many reasons, perhaps even more, to argue that churches should replant churches as well.

Consider this analogy. You may have been in a serious accident or know someone who has been. What did the road to recovery look like after such a significant event? Who played a role in bringing you or your friend back to health? Let’s list some of these people:

Trauma surgeons – practiced professionals trained to identify the most serious threats to your life and to bring you out of critical condition.

Nurses – agents able to offer both physical and emotional care, advocating on your behalf as you journey toward recovery.

Physical therapists – coaches who push you further than you wanted or imagined you could go, in order to restore strength and mobility to muscles that had atrophied.

Family members and friends – loved ones who bring you meals, send you cards, mow your lawn, make you laugh and meet your needs – especially on your hardest days.

Counselors – wise guides who help you process the reasons for and implications of the events in a context of safety, empathy and correction.

Just as physical recovery takes a community of care, so does church recovery. If your congregation desires not just survival but vitality, it takes more than some paint on the walls or a new voice in the pulpit. It takes guidance, shoulder-bearing, correction, provision, encouragement, protection and time.

Your congregation, however, isn’t the only group in need of long-haul care. Your pastor and his family need it as well. They need coaches and cheerleaders outside of your church body, particularly in the first few years. Instead, many churches fail because they put it all on the pastor, who should never have to carry this kind of burden alone.

As churches, we need one another more than we realize. This is particularly true in church replanting. For this reason, a Sending Church is absolutely critical in helping give a dying church its best chance to thrive as a replanted congregation marked by Spirit-empowered hope, joy and renewal.

To learn more about how to either 1) become a Sending Church or 2) find a Sending Church to help your congregation, go to

This post originally appeared at Mark’s blog.

Published April 30, 2024

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Mark Hallock

Mark Hallock serves as the lead pastor of Calvary Church in Englewood, Colorado. He also serves as president of the Calvary Family of Churches, a group committed to planting and replanting churches for the glory of God ( His great desire is to see the gospel transform lives and neighborhoods through the planting of new congregations, along with the revitalization of declining congregations, throughout the city of Denver and beyond. Mark’s favorite hobby is hanging out with his wife, Jenna, and their two kids, Zoe and Eli.