In most churches, there are a few ministries that in which only a handful of people participate. Usually, those ministries are driven by one person with a clear passion. Nearly every member of the church knows about it, but very few will ever participate in it. Maybe your church has a ministry to the homeless, widows or people with special needs that only a handful of people participate in. Obviously, there is no problem with this, but this is not what you want the church planting initiative of your church to become. The Great Commission is a call to plant new churches and is for every Christian and for every church. Your goal should be to get every member involved in church planting in one of the following eight ways.
1. Developing leaders
What is the goal of your church’s music ministry right now? My guess is that it probably has something to do with effectively leading your congregation in worship. What if the primary (or even secondary) goal of the music ministry was to produce new worship leaders? Instead of thinking mainly about the quality of our worship leader, what if we thought about the quantity of our worship leaders? Your quality might go down slightly, but you would probably have a deep bench of worship leaders. Think about what could happen if every ministry had this goal.
Question: What would it be like if your church was teaming with trained leaders?
Answer: Members would feel greater freedom and responsibility to go serve Christ elsewhere and the church would be less concerned about losing leaders. This is, perhaps, the most meaningful and significant way one church can support another. Sending Churches should do everything they can to support and encourage the church planters and missionaries they send out to start new churches.
2. Starting a church planting care team
A church planter care team is specifically responsible for supporting your church planters and their families. Here are a few ideas about how a planter care team can support church planters:
- Stay in touch. Have members send encouraging notes to the church planters and their family.
- Pray for them. Regularly ask your church planters for prayer requests, so they can be prayed for publicly in worship services.
- Remind your church throughout the week. Use your church’s social media accounts to encourage others to support and pray for your planters.
- Celebrate together. Celebrate milestones and important successes of the church plant in your worship services and prayer meetings.
- Use visual reminders. Show pictures and videos from successful outreach events and baptisms.
- Invest in your planter’s marriage. Periodically send your church planter and his wife on an overnight getaway, and provide babysitting and a gift card for date night.
- Go in person. Encourage members to visit their worship services to offer encouragement on behalf of the church.
3. Advocating prayer
You know the old saying, “out of sight, out of mind.” It is definitely true for church planting. Once your team is gone and the newness has worn off, it will be hard to remember them in prayer. For this reason, you should create some “reminders” in the regular rhythms for your church to pray for your church plant.
- Show their faces. Hang pictures of your planters on the walls of your facility, put them on the back panel of the bulletin, put them on a slide in your announcement rotation or feature them on your website and on social media.
- Add them to the service order. Add an element to your worship service called, “Church Planter of the Week.” Simply put up the picture of your church planter on the screen and, and pray publicly for them.
- Make them a staple in your prayer meeting. Collect prayer requests and praises ahead of time.
- Have them fill the pulpit. Make a plan to have your church planters preach and give updates periodically.
4. Providing resources
There are some members of your congregation that have the ability to be extra generous financially to the new church. Ask members to consider giving a one-time donation or pledge support the new church monthly.
5. Joining the team
Before his departure for India, William Carey famously said to his friend Andrew Fuller, “I will go down the well, if you will hold the rope.” That famous quote has done much to inspire men and women to support missionaries and church planters around the world. In church planting, Christians have the amazing opportunity to not only support missionaries, but also become missionaries themselves. Encourage members to consider joining the planting team.
6. Supporting events
Most church planters want to reach out to their communities with special events and ministries but have a hard time doing it due to a lack of resources and people to accomplish the ministry. Your members can support church planters by organizing an outreach event or ministry to benefit the new church.
7. Filling vacancies
As members and leaders leave to form the core team of the new church, important vacancies will remain. Encourage your members to support the church planting initiative by taking over responsibilities previously held by someone going with the church planting team.
8. Lending expertise
Members of your church have experience that could benefit a church planter and his team. Maybe an accountant could handle the church finances, a musician could lead worship, a graphic designer could design the churches logo and marketing materials, or a web developer could build the church’s website. The goal is to get every member on mission so church planting does not become an obscure ministry of your church.
This blog is an excerpt from Clint Clifton’s e-book, Deploy to Multiply. Get the entire e-book here.
Published July 31, 2017