The Send Network Church Planting Blog

Why the Send Network: Discover

January 16, 2018 by Shane Critser

As a pastor, the thought of starting a new church can be a daunting and overwhelming. A lot of work goes into planting a new church, for sure, but the good news is you don’t have to do it alone, especially if you’re part of the SBC family! The real beauty of this family is that we are able to accomplish a lot more together than we can separately. The Send Network is designed to come alongside you, the Sending Church, as you embark on this great endeavor.

Planting a new church starts with discovery: discovering where to plant a church and who to send. Sometimes God first reveals the “where,” and sometimes He starts with the “who.” Neither is necessarily better, but here are three things to consider and some ways the Send Network can help as you discern God’s leading.

  1. Begin with prayer. The pastor(s) of a Sending Church should start by asking God to lay a place or a person on your heart. The senior leader(s) of the congregation will need to be senior cheerleader(s) of the plant. Pray that God will give you a clear sense of direction and conviction to lead.
  2. Engage your leaders. Don’t discern this leading in a vacuum. Bring your key leaders along with you in the discovery process. Ask them to pray and guide them to be on the lookout for where God is at work. You may be surprised how God reveals a place or a person you had never previously considered. Maybe someone in your church is from a different part of North America (or the world!), and they begin sharing with you their desire that their hometown had a church like yours. Or maybe a volunteer on your team expresses interest in pastoral ministry and would be open to being developed. Follow those leads and see what God does.
  3. Use every available resource. Practically, the Send Network is poised to help in this discovery process. Here are just a few of the ways. To plant in an area, you need to understand the population and culture. Demographics can help significantly in this endeavor. The research department of the Send Network can provide free-of-charge demographic information on areas in your community and across North America.
  4. Don’t sense a leading in any particular direction? The Send Network can help you connect with church planting in one of 32 Send Cities. These are cities across North America where we find the greatest concentration of lostness. We know communities in each of these cities that need new churches. We also are working with hundreds of church planters in Send Cities, and many of them still need partners. One of them may be the guy you’re looking for. A Catch the Vision Tour may help you determine if one of these cities or one of these planters are right for you.
  5. Lastly, we need more churches who will take the steps necessary to send their best people to plant in North America and beyond. The Send Network has created the Church Planting Pipeline to help your church implement an intentional process for discovering and developing future church planters and team members to be sent out from your church. The Pipeline provides three years of content and an online training platform that is free to SBC family members. Church planters aren’t growing on trees. They are in your churches right now. You simply have to identify them and help them discern God’s leading in their lives. We want to help.

The commission of Christ is clear: All disciples are sent to make disciples. Local churches in the New Testament sent their best to make disciples by planting churches where there were none. How will your church take a next step along this biblical pathway? Maybe you need to start by discovering “where” God is leading you to plant or “who” among you He is preparing to send. Either way, the Send Network is here to help.

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