Posts Tagged church planting models

Major Objectives

This plan covers the first four years of the program. Years 1 through 3 cover the “infancy” phase of the congregation up to the end of outside financial support. The first year (“Year 0”), which is laid out in more detail and is broken into three phases (Prelaunch, Launch, and Postlaunch), centers on the activities during the “birth” phase necessary to ensure a healthy start to the congregation.?

Prelaunch > LAUNCH > Postlaunch > Year 1 > Year 2 > Year 3

[This is from the Launch Plan for New Way Church in Austin, TX. Yesterday: Launch Team / Core Group. Next time: the Calendar.]

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No Premature Real Estate

Another new component of this church planting model is the avoidance of long-term commitments to real estate. New Way Church will be technically nomadic for the first many years of its existance. This not only reduces costs significantly, but it also helps in a number of other ways. There are a number of different ways of doing this. Primary venues (following recent studies of successful church plants) include movie theaters, school auditoriums, and other community centers. Currently we are looking at the Regal cinema at the Gateway Mall.

New churches often become hyperfocused early on on building programs. The good thing about a building program is that it gives the community a goal. But there are costs that come with this goal.

First, it is a self-serving goal and so tends to turn a community inward. Second, it locks the church in with regard to worship gathering size far too early. Third, it saps all the financial, emotional and physical energy of the congregation, preventing that energy from being used on more outward-facing programs. Fourth, it creates a long-term burden—in the form of maintenance and sometimes debt service—that not only draws money and energy away from outward-focused programs, but (when debt or additional grants are involved) it robs the congregation of an important sense of self-sufficency, making them into wards of the denomination. Finally, building programs encourage a “work hard today, so eventually everyone can stop working so hard altogether” mentality. The building of a building has no obvious followup goal to inspire and lead a community. Better long-term goals include things that will always need repeating—like sponsoring the planting of daughter churches. (See “Daughtering”, below.)

[This is from the Launch Plan for New Way Church in Austin, TX. Last week: Street to Kitchen. Tomorrow: Marketing Philosophy.]

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Street to Kitchen

Using an adaptation of the “Foyer to Kitchen” model of church program planning, no new program will be started that does not have a clear goal that assists in progressing participants a step closer to experiencing the Lord in His Second Coming. We call this “street to kitchen” because we feel that the church’s behavior in the public commons is as significant as its behavior with those who have entered its doors. So the metaphorical progression is Street -> Foyer -> Living Room -> Kitchen Table.

[This is from the Launch Plan for New Way Church in Austin, TX. This is after a long hiatus of posting. Last post was on the Crowd to Core model. Next week I will post a section titled No Premature Real Estate.]

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Crowd to Core

The growth model will focus not on the core (the dedicated leaders within the congregation), but on the crowd (newcomers and potential newcomers). Traditional church planting focuses on core development, followed by slowly sending the core out to invite new people from the crowd to the congregation. But the problem with this approach is that the core tends to develop a powerful sense of identity that inevitably feels at least unconsciously threatened by the growth of the congregation.

This newer approach views the preexisting dedicated members not as a core to be nurtured, but as a potential leadership team to be immediately empowered and turned outward toward the crowd. Focus then becomes quickly identifying new potential leaders from the crowd of newcomers and carefully progressing them into positions of responsibility at a higher rate than in traditional church settings.

So rather than first meeting for worship in living rooms and doing pastor-led doctrinal studies, we will go immediately to worship in rental facilities, with small groups led by volunteers.

For six months leading up to the public launch date, we will have monthly “preview” services. A preview service is a regular worship service at which everyone is “practicing” for when we invite the general public on launch day. However, after the first one to three preview services (once the roughest edges are knocked off) we will begin inviting personal friends and doing some early advertising. With each service we will build momentum by increasing our connected outreach efforts.

Everyone who attends a preview service is then invited to a “comeback event” two weeks later. These six comeback events are social events at the pastor’s house, at a park, and in other locations. Here the vision for the church is cast, community ties are built, and all attendees are invited to help put on the next preview service.

All this leads to a large marketing push combined with a big invitation program for the launch day, which kicks off regular full operation of the church with weekly public worship gatherings and small group meetings.

[This is from the Launch Plan for New Way Church in Austin, TX. Yesterday: Church Systems. Next time: Street to Kitchen.]

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