There are 12 to 14 models for beginning new churches and we have discovered through the creativity of God and His people that the possibilities are unlimited. The procedures described below have been a faithful method for a church planter not having a core team or only having a few families in place.
Five Non-Negotiables As You Plant
- Every planting missionary must go through several assessments, including a written Behavioral Assessment. The Behavioral Assessment takes at least 3 hours by a group of trained assessors in are district. These people have church planting experience.
- Every planting missionary must be willing to go through the process of being licensed or ordained.
- Every planting missionary must attend the EFCA's Church Planter's Boot Camp before beginning their new ministry.
- Every planting missionary must be coached by an experienced church planter. We do not want anyone planting a church alone. Those days are over!
- Every planting missionary must sign a Church Planting Covenant before allowed to plant a church.
Procedures and Process for Beginning New Churches
These pages were complied to help people understand the steps being taken in our region for beginning new churches. Our experience has witnessed successful starts for these new churches. Please read through the information, and then ask questions and the missionary church planting pastors are available if you would like to talk to them.
The reality most church planting couples will go to an area where there are not a lot of people so we have developed a process we feel God has led us to do that has been used in over 30 new starts. It is kind of a "modified" Pioneer planting experience.
The process for developing a so called "Pioneer" Plant
There are several steps we have developed and have followed over the last 7 years to ensure healthy beginnings for the pastor and their family as they begin a new church. The process for beginning new pioneer church plant projects has followed these steps as much as possible. In the Church Planter's Tool Kit written by Bob Logan and Steve Ogne, it discusses the "Farming and Networking” methods of beginning new pioneer churches. We are using a combination of both in each church start to gather people to build the initial launch team. Critical mass at we call the public launch is important. The public launch service has been happening about 10 to 12 months after beginning to gather people for the new church. Here is what we have experienced and God seems to be blessing these steps right now.
Identifying the Pastor
The pastor's resume, the self assessments, references, and a behavioral assessment interview are collected and conducted before a pastor and his family are given the green light to begin a new church. Healthy churches begin with healthy pastors and families. Pastors must be credentialed through licensing or ordination transfer before beginning their ministry. The pastor must agree to some foundational principles and signs a Church Planting Covenant. The purpose behind all these steps are to ensure consistency, agenda harmony, ease in coaching and recognizes each new church as an EFCA plant project from the beginning. The final approval for the church planters is the responsibility of SED staff and the Director of Church Planting.
Transitioning the Family and Gathering Interested People
We have been able to transition the pastors over a time span of several months with good success. Two of the pastors have been able to help their previous ministries locate another pastor to replace them before they left. This is a wonderful process, which leaves the established church with a good experience when their pastor feels called to move on. The pastor is flown to the planting area over a 4 to 5 month period. Each month the pastor comes for 4 days, prior to moving his family to the site, so he can gather the names of interested people. The gathering of people has been primarily through the consistent monthly distribution of brochures door to door and networking with other believers in the community. Referrals from others that know people living in the targeted area helps allot. During this time of transition the planting pastor is able to raise the needed financial and prayer support. We encourage 12 to 18 months of finances to be raised, but most of the families are off of support within the first 10 months after they arrive. The pastor and his wife is required to attend the EFCA's Church Planter's Boot Camp for fine tuning their skills before they begin the process.
Identifying and Establishing a Proper Foundation Before Gathering People
Establishing the new church plant's mission statement, core values, the distinctives that will define what the new church will look like and the strategy for beginning the new church are developed by the planting pastor before he begins gathering people. This step enables the pastor or the launch team to encourage people to commit in harmony. If there isn't harmony then the people are encouraged to attend elsewhere. The purpose of having the pastor on the planting site first is primarily preventive and it has cut down on potential conflicts as the church develops. This process has worked well, with the pioneer church starts and mother daughter plants. The church plant will transition to a congregational rule/elder led government at the 2 year mark.
Training and Resources for Skill Development Being Used
Church Planter's Boot Camp: The primary training vehicle for church planting coaches and planting pastors has been the EFCA's Church Planter's Boot Camp. This four day, 9 to 6 training equips the pastors and their wives with the practical skills to see a new church begin. The EFCA conducts this training throughout the USA. You can visit the National web site www.efca.org/churchplanting to register on line.
Church Planter's Took Kit: This audio series is a must and every planter is required to listen to the series by Steve Ogne and Bob Logan. The instruction is very practical and helpful in understanding how to begin a new church. It offers allot of resources in beginning a new church. Check it out at NEXT STEP RESOURCES at 1-800-745-2202. the cost is $71.25.
Church Planting Workshops: This workshop was developed for people who want to begin a new church when they have not identified a pastor yet. The first field testing of the workshop was completed in the fall of 1999 and it went well. The EFCA traditionally has begun new churches through groups of people in communities over the years. This training can help build a foundation for building harmony within the launch team of people and identifying a first pastor.
Coaching and Networking: We are able to offer coaching and networking among church planting pastors and needed fellowship for their wives. This facilitates accountability, creativity, and resources for the new churches in various stages of beginning. Planters are called weekly, emails; we try to meet monthly with each missionary. Mentoring opportunities are available through the district staff.
Church Planting Web Site: This site offers resources, information for potential pastors and people interested in beginning a new church in their community. All the plant projects have web sites for gathering people. (I.e. aspenridge.org; graceinpagosa.org; founatincreekchurch.org; larkridgechurch.com; blueskychurch.com; mesaviewchurch.org; these are just a few for you to check out). Also, check out our district's web site for more links at sed-efca.org. If you have questions, please call me at 719-331-2729 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. God's blessings as you seek Him for direction.