Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: Daniel Im and Ed Stetzer have updated their book which I use in my courses titled, Planting Missional Churches: Your Guide to Starting Churches that Multiply. Read this overview of the updates in Daniel Im’s posting.
Church planting today is not what it used to be.
Before, church planters were the ones who couldn’t get a “real ministry position” at a church, so they started their own. Albeit, there were those entrepreneurial few who defied all odds and started churches on their own, by and large, being a church planter wasn’t what it was today.
Now, being a church planter is the thing to do.
Church planting is getting the attention of the masses. In fact, many church planting conferences are now larger than typical pastoral conferences…
…There are a few trends … these trends were the focus of Ed Stetzer’s and my writing in the newly updated edition of Planting Missional Churches: Your Guide to Starting Churches that Multiply. ..For this article though, I want to focus on three of the major trends …
Trend #1: Kingdom Collaboration
Together we can accomplish more than we can ever do alone.
This is the buzz phrase of the new generation of church planters. Tomorrow’s church planter will be less focused on building their kingdom and more focused on seeing Jesus build God’s kingdom. They will be less focused on denominational lines and rules, and more focused on reaching their city. They will be less focused on the superman model of leadership, and more focused on team leadership.
A Focus on God’s Kingdom.
Tomorrow’s church planter will have a strong foundation in missiology. They will understand that their mission in life is not to plant a church and grow it by sheep stealing, but rather, their mission is to join God on his mission, and do whatever God wants them to do to reach and disciple the nations. As a result, instead of turning to church growth books, they will read missiological books like, The Mission of God by Christopher Wright, Transforming Mission by David Bosch, and The New Global Mission by Samuel Escobar. For tomorrow’s church planter, when someone mentions the name Ralph Winter, they will think of the missiologist, rather than the X-Men movie producer…
A Focus on Reaching Their City.
Tomorrow’s church planter will be so focused on reaching their city, that they will not allow denominational lines to keep them from discerningly working together. In
A Focus on Team Leadership.
Tomorrow’s church planter will understand that their greatest contribution to the kingdom will be when they focus on their strengths, and manage their weaknesses. As a result, they will lead with their strengths, and staff to their weaknesses. They will build a team around them, and treat them as co-equals, rather than as hirelings…
Trend #2: Bivocational Ministry
A Missiological Strategy.
Tomorrow’s church planter sees bivocational ministry more as a missiological strategy, rather than as an alternative way to fund themselves…
First Resort, Not Last Resort and Reversed Tier Funding.
There will be church planters who will initially plant their church fully bivocationally, but then slowly transition to taking a salary as the church grows. I talk about this in Planting Missional Churches as an alternative way to approach church plant funding.//
Trend #3: Residencies and Theological Education
When it comes to theological education, the pendulum has swung back-and-forth a few times over the last couple of centuries. From theological education being birthed out of the church, to it then being handed over to educational institutions, then back to the church and so-forth, we are at a time in history where the two sides are beginning to move towards an equilibrium. Seminaries are realizing that ministerial training happens best in the context of a local church, while churches are discovering that training someone theologically is completely different than training someone for practical ministry. Both seminaries and churches are looking to one another for help and for partnerships because both sides realize they cannot take on the task of theologically educating and pastorally forming an individual by themselves. The bridge that is being formed between churches and seminaries is called, “residencies.” While there are many different ways that churches and seminaries are approaching residencies, they all seem to share a common goal – to do a better job at integrating theology with praxis. Where they all differ in their model is their starting point. Let me share three out of five of them. You can learn more in the new edition of Planting Missional Churches.
Starting Point: Multiplication
In this residency model, tomorrow’s church planter will develop the knowledge, skills, and ability to infuse multiplication at every level of their church. They will be developed with the gradual release of responsibility model, so that their development is personal and hands on. By the end of this residency program, they will have developed a plan, not just to multiply the leaders and groups within their church, but also their church as whole.
Starting Point: Sustainable Ministry
In this residency model, tomorrow’s church planter will develop the five characteristics of a healthy sustainable pastor,.. They will grow in spiritual formation, self-care, emotional and cultural intelligence, marriage and family, and leadership and management.
Starting Point: Leadership
In this residency model, tomorrow’s church planter will develop the leadership skills required to successfully plant and lead a church. These leadership skills include vision casting, hiring practices, team ministry, strategic development, and conflict management…
*This was originally published in March-April 2016 issue of The Net Results magazine