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Month: September 2007

Are Church Plants the most Effective form of Evangelism?

"The most effective form of evangelism is church planting." If you are a pastor or church planter, you are bound to run into this quote.  The list of sources is endless, just do a search on 'church planting most effective evangelism').  In fact, many will even point to the apostle Paul going into cities to plant churches as the prototype way to reach cities and their suburbs.  This makes sense, since in Paul's day there weren't churches in these regions so he had to plant churches for the Christian faith to survive.  But today, there are many existing churches in cities, so pastors of established churches end up asking: Help – Why are church plants the most successful at reaching people and does my established church stand any chance of being renewed? (JollyBlogger)

Can established churches recapture the dna to reach people?  I believe church planting is the most effective form of evangelism only because in it's very nature it holds the ingredients that lead to being missional.   This means that established churches can re-capture these ingredients but by the nature of their history, organizational structure and emphasis they tend to NOT be as effective.  Here are some of these key ingredients I believe lead to greater conversion by church plants: (see my video that lays out some of the statistics of conversion in church plants vs. established churches )

1. Jericho Walls – Church planting requires a tremendous amount of faith and a slight bit of gospel insanity.  First, to believe you are called by God to plant a church is a pretty serious thing to say. According to a Psychology Today stat I read a few years back, most pastors surveyed said they were primarily a pastor as a line of vocation.  They didn't know what else to do.  They had become professional clergy without a sense of calling (which was one of the other options).  Church planters need to have a sense of calling because church planters have to look at the Jericho-sized walls of starting a church and addressing the world's unbelief and pray to God as desperate men who have to have God show up in order to plant a church.  And this is where God tends to arrive most, when there is a humble people lifting their hands desperate for Him to show up. 

Established Church Suggestions:  Change the vision of your church.  Has your church already arrived and accomplished what you set out to do?  (eg.  The unspoken contentment of wanting a nice big community that is 'house-broken'.)   What would happen if your churches vision expanded beyond the four walls of your building and including transforming the entire city you lived in?  In order for something of this nature to occur, God has got to show up.  This would require a change of heart of the people and the faith/desperation of seeking Him out.

2. Fat Cats Don't Hunt –  When church plants begin, there is a smaller number of people and they often have a much greater external focus.  Larger churches often see a great necessity for taking care of the people that are already showing up.  Therefore, a larger church tends to spend more time on internal programs.  Certainly larger churches may end of having more people visit each week, but these numbers are quite low proportionately to the effectiveness of church plants.  If you are a pastor of an established church, what % of your time as pastor/leader are you actively equipping others on external ministry?  Can you tell people to follow me and make disciples as you are?  If what is most important in the leadership of your church is becoming more wicked smart on the Bible or running church programs rather than being missional, why would you expect your church be missional?

Established Church Suggestions:  One of the areas I want to begin exploring more is the idea of equipping the saints for the work of the ministry.  Actively coming alongside people in the church who are already on mission and doing more Just-In-Time Theological Training.  Train them on mission rather than in a cul de sac Bible Study.  This would be in juxtaposition to creating 'church program' to equip people, a post I discussed in You Can't Program the Gospel.  A few of the suggestions I've unpacked in prior posts: Leading a Transformational Community, the Call to renew your Church’s Ecclesiology and Leading a Movement Not an Institution.

3. Risk & Reward – New churches have greater freedom to be flexible, change on the dime and try new things.  This means they can experiment with new methods, sounds, styles and often this can reach untapped people groups.  The same principles are seen when start-up companies are more innovative and surpass the larger bureaucracy-laden companies in tapping new markets.

Established Church Suggestions:  Prevent your church from becoming a bureaucracy.  Church plant, go multi-site do whatever it takes.  Create a missional mindset in your people. 

Other Resources: Thom Rainer wrote Breakout Churches: Discover How To Make The Leap, pick up Ed Stetzer's Comeback Churches: How 300 Churches Turned Around and Yours Can, Too or The Missional Leader: Equipping Your Church to Reach a Changing World by Alan Roxburgh & Fred Romanuk.

NOTE TO CHURCH PLANTERS: All of these three points are important for church planters to think through, because we are
already seeing several church plants become more established. 

Exponential Church Planting Conference 2008

exponential.jpgThe 2008 Exponential Conference (National New Church Conference) website has launched.  This year's theme: The DNA of Reproducing Churches.

12 pre-conference intensives.   Over 30 national church planting leaders including Tim Keller, Andy Stanley, and Alan Hirsch.  Over 35 denominations, networks, and heritages.   6 main tracks including pre-launch, post-launch, reproducing churches, multi-ethnic, missional, and nuts and bolts.  Over 40 sponsors representing the best services available to planters.  Over 2,000 church planting leaders in one place.   Orlando, Florida.  Sun.  Disney World.   Super Early Bird Rate… under $100 (for a limited time).

Church & Ministry Credit Card Processing

simplefy.jpg The Tentmaker Group has teamed up with Simplêfy, Inc to offer churches, ministries & companies the best credit card processing rates available.  

Simplêfy is a consulting arm for First Data.  In our unique partnership we are able to leverage and negotiate the best pricing for our prospective clients.  Typically, the merchant processing and the management of the processing portfolio of any company are handled by an Independent Service Organization or "ISO".  This "third party" vendor, be it Chase Merchant Services, Wells Fargo etc purchases the processing from First Data and resells it to the merchant.

Simplêfy can provide the most cost effective pricing for prospective clients because they literally usher the merchant directly to the source, thus the merchant receives their processing and contract from a FDMS (First Data Merchant Services) alliance bank.    Simplêfy/FDMS conducts an audit of the prospect's current fee schedule and exposes compliance issues that cost the merchant even more money, i.e… Downgrades, EIRFs and any other compliance issue.  Most ISO(s) encrypt day to day processing to make such compliance issues invisible to the untrained eye. We are committed to illuminating such fees and eliminating the "fat and gristle" in your merchant portfolio.

Not only are churches/ministries able to go with the global leader of credit card processing, but Simplefy will invest monthly on new accounts into Tentmakers.  In turn, Tentmakers will use the money for church planting and city transformation.

Churches & Ministries:  Receive a free credit card processing audit for your church or ministry.

Companies: Receive a free credit card processing audit for your company.  Learn why companies like Walmart & Disneyland go direct to First Data to save the most money and be supported directly by their processor.  

Church Planting Discounts & Offers

It pays to be a church planter.  Church Planting Resources has a limited time offer of (requires registration):

50% off all purchases at Highway Video for a limited time! Biblically based and artistically inspired, Highway Video's top-quality sermon and worship videos edify believers and build bridges with unbelievers. With hundreds of finished-films and almost a thousand spiritual stock motion clips, Highway Video is widely recognized as a key innovator and leader in the church video market.

Visit: Discounted Sermon & Worship Video  

$20.00 off ANY order at Christian Audio for a limited time! Christianaudio has created a thriving and growing audiobook publishing business and the largest Christian audiobook website on the Internet. digitally distributes hundreds of audiobooks from publishers like Tyndale, Oasis Audio, Baker, Regent, Blackstone Audiobooks, and Naxos Audiobooks. Moreover distributes audio for ministries such as John Piper’s Desiring God Ministry, John Eldridge’s Ransomed Heart Ministry, and Richard Foster and Dallas Willard’s Renovare Ministry.

Visit: Free Christian Audio Book Deal

25% off display orders at Group Imaging for a limited time!  Group Imaging manufactures a line of affordable displays for churches. Some examples of what their displays can be used for include (but aren't limited to); information tables, childcare, classroom, parking & directional signs. They make these displays from start to finish and have patented the designs for their stands. Group Imaging is able to make Roll-up displays from as small as 18 inches wide to as large as 7 foot wide and up to 10 feet tall. If you are in need of something larger then their Fold-up displays are the solution for you. These displays can be joined together to make a display of any width and going as tall as 16 feet. All of the displays are designed with replacing the graphic in mind without the use of any tools.

Visit: Discounted Custom Displays for Church Plants  

Church Planting Research & Presentations

report.jpgEd Stetzer has posted a fine selection of research, best practices and presentations on church planting on his blog .  Including:

A presentation of the best practices research that I recently gave at the NAMB State Summer Leadership Conference. It is a big download, but you can get it here.

In that presentation, I combined the presentations of 4 denominational leaders who shared their best practices in the areas we found statistically significant. Each network or denominational leader presented their overall church planting system, then presented their specific best practice as determined by our research. Each of them gave their permission to share their presentation. The presenters were:

Steve Childers presented the Presbterian Church in America assessment system.
Rod Koop presented the Foursquare peer support / mentoring system.
George Klippenes presented the Evangelical Free team approach and funding system.
Steve Pike presented the Assemblies of God community minsitry approach.
Tom Nebel and Gary Rohrmayer presented the Baptist General Conference training for local church giving.

Read his Church Planting Research post.

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