Posts Tagged church growth

Target Demographics

Open to all, focused on Austinites (within city limits): 20-somethings and 30-somethings, young starters, young professionals, tech workers, and students. Special focus on dissatisfied Christians and anti-baptist postmoderns. (See Percept data reports for detailed local breakdowns of demographic and psychographic distributions.) By having a “target”, we are not closing ourselves to other people; the purpose of having a target demographic is to provide focus and starting point for planning and outreach.

[This is from the Launch Plan for New Way Church in Austin, TX. Yesterday began this section on People. Next we’ll continue the theme with a post on the Initial Leadership Team.]

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A key component to this strategy is church daughtering, which we are defining as an ongoing strategy of local church societies planting churches that eventually become full-grown independent congregations.

The primary rationale for church daughtering is that a church community should follow the human form established by the Lord. This means that a congregation should be born, grow rapidly, attain maturity, serve a use in the world, and eventually reproduce.

Note that this will over time shift primary responsibility for church planting in the General Church away from the denominational center and more and more to individual societies. As one of the first General Church plants using this new model, we are using seed money from the General Church central budget to cover 50% of startup costs; the long-term vision is to have one third of startup costs directly from parent society budgets, one third raised by the church planter candidate from individual donors, and one third paid for out of either the General Church office of Outreach or from a special New Church affiliated para-church organization to be formed for the explicit purpose of training, funding and supporting church planters.

An additional consideration behind taking a church daughtering approach is its effect on the culture and direction of the parenting church congregation. A typical pattern in church starts is to focus on the establishment of a permanent physical location (see above, under, “No Permanent Real Estate”), as the major long-term objective for the community. Additionally, in the General Church, the establishment of a local church school is often a major goal for small congregations contemplating growth.

However, as noted earlier, goals that are inward focused and terminal (as opposed to ongoing) have a tendancy to deflate the momentum and neighbor-focused drive of a congregation once such goals are attained. By recognizing from the very birth of New Way Church, however, that all of us who participate in and benefit from its existence have a responsibility to give back by “paying it forward”, we will build into the DNA of the community’s culture an ongoing impetus for looking outward toward the neighbor.

Church planting is a sacrificial endeavor. We don’t start new churches to serve ourselves, but those whom we have not yet met that the Lord is nevertheless working to form His kingdom from. Selfless giving from outside of Austin will help make this happen, so selfless giving from New Way Church will contribute to future church congregations that have not yet been imagined.

To this end, a minimum of 10% of all revenue, straight off the top, beginning day one, will be put into a dedicated church daughtering account. The funds in this account are to be solely for the purpose of returning the gift given to us by sponsoring future church plants, locally, regionally, and (eventually) internationally.

You can see this fund in the accompanying budget workbook, as well as a separate line item, under the heading of “tithes”. Under this heading, in addition to the minimum 10% starting on day one, put aside for future plants, another flat 10%—once self-sufficiency is attained—will be given back to the General Church Office of Outreach budget. The GC Outreach tithe is a flat 10% starting in 2014; the daughtering “tithe” starts immediately (before self-sufficiency) at 10%, but may grow depending on the financial health of the congregation in future years.

[This is from the Launch Plan for New Way Church in Austin, TX. Yesterday I posted on Ratios. Next week I’ll post the section on Contingencies.]

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Assimilation goal: each newcomer should have 7 church friends in first 6 months.

Invite ratio: 14 personal invitations to get 1 long-term member.

Direct mail response rates: normally .5%, but in church world perhaps more like .25%.

Outreach/marketing budget: at least 10%.

Salaries/benefits: under 50%.

Second worship service: when 1st is 80% full AND over 100 people.

1st Worship space must accommodate at least 125, although it should be set up for less, so chairs get pulled out as people arrive. (Assuming portable chairs; if a movie theater, for instance, this won’t work, obviously. Movie theater strategy will probably be to go with smallest available auditorium: likely 100 seats.)

At least 2 Sunday a.m. services before services at other times/days.

At least 2 services, as soon as possible.

Hire full time ordained staff: 1 for every 150 Sunday attendees.

[This is from the Launch Plan for New Way Church in Austin, TX. Yesterday I explained Service Evangelism. Tomorrow will be all about Daughtering.]

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New Way Church, Austin, TX: Launch Strategy

Hey there! I have decided to start to share parts of my plan for launching a new church in Austin here on I’ll be releasing pieces of the plan serially, all under the Strategy subcategory of the Church Planting category. I’ll probably publish about one excerpt a day, at least on weekdays, and usually some time after lunchtime here on the east coast.

So over the next few weeks, here is a list of topics I’ll be posting on:

As I post on these topics, I’ll link them back to this outline to help you navigate among the sections.

Why am I doing this? To satisfy curiosity. To solicit support. To stimulate thinking. To encourage others to come up with their own, better plans, for their own, better projects. And especially to start a conversation. I am happy to answer questions as they come up. So if you know someone who is interested in the topic of church planting in the New Christian (Swedenborgian) context, invite them in. I’d love to hear from you all.

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The Most Effective Means

The most effective means of helping people find a path to God is a motivated community of people who recently discovered a path themselves.

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