Supporting Churches are essential for church planting to be fruitful. Church planting is far more difficult and dangerous when there are no supporting church partnerships. Healthy church plants will testify to the vital impact of supporting church partnerships in their journey to self-sustainability.
A supporting church can partner with a church plant through prayer, participation and/or provision. Here are five considerations for supporting churches who are partnering through participation:
1. Understand the context.
If you are partnering or considering partnering, make it a priority to visit the church plant, preferably with a team of people from the partnering church. Understanding the context is essential for healthy partnerships. Seeing on the ground conditions will shape how you view and support the church plant as you lead your church to participate.
2. Don’t hijack the vision.
What might be working for you in your context is probably very different from what will work in the church plant’s context. Be careful you don’t hijack the ministry and vision of the church plant by forcing the planter to conform to the ministry and vision of your church. Commit to learning about the mission and vision of the church plant and look for ways you can partner to make it happen.
3. Be generous.
Have you ever had the cheap, cheap, cheap, red hot dogs? The ones that turn your hot dog bun and hand red? Don’t be the church that buys those for the block party because you are too cheap to spend an extra couple of dollars for real hot dogs. Be as generous as possible and look for ways to cover all the ministry expenses when you are participating with a church plant. If you are using the church plant facilities, consider leaving a financial gift to cover utilities and building usage. Plan to partner through monthly or yearly financial giving; this is a game changer for church plants.
4. Participate in a worship service.
Pastor, don’t be afraid to let your team stay over and worship with the church plant, even if it means missing a Sunday. Supporting churches can participate in a worship service by offering to serve in the nursery, preschool and children’s ministry for the day. This will be a much-appreciated ministry for the volunteer staff of a church plant. If you want to go all out, suggest your team give their tithe/offering that week to the church plant.
5. Prepare your ‘yes’ face.
Take time to equip your team to have a “Yes” face attitude and testimony. This simply means being willing to go all out with a positive attitude as you seek to carry out the mission and vision of the church plant while giving your best visible “Yes” face. Church planters are always in need of encouragement. Equipping your team to model a “Yes” face will have a tremendous impact on the kingdom and the planter.
These are helpful ideas to consider as you participate in supporting a church plant. Faithful supporting churches participating alongside church plants are the most effective and biblical means to advance the gospel in hard-to-reach cities. Do not think for a moment you are just taking a trip or serving at an event. The participation of a supporting church has eternal impact you may or may not see this side of heaven.
This article originally appeared on George Ross’s personal blog, is slightly edited and used with permission.
Click here to learn more about how sending churches can help support church plants.
Published March 24, 2021