MULTIPLICATION & 5 Reasons Churches Should Balance Their Internal & External Church Planting

by Bob Whitesel, D.Min., Ph.D., 2/19/17.

I want leaders to consider “external” and “internal” planting a bit more as they strategize the future of their ministry.  External planting is a somewhat typical semi-autonomous church plant by a mother church.  Internal planting is supporting sub-congregations of different cultural behaviors, ideas and styles within the mother church.

And, we need both. But usually when you hear “church planting’” you think of the former, the autonomous or semi-autonomous church plant: organizationally and locationally removed from the mother church.

But I want leaders to grasp the strategic idea of balancing external plants with internal plants.  We should have both and perhaps even balance them: 50% internal plants and 50% external plants.  To explain why, let me share some questions a student once asked about this.

The student said, “In the Missional Church course we learned that planting a church was one way to rejuvenate a local church’s lifecycle, and promote growth. Your response makes me think you disagree with that. I see how growing an internal sub-congregation will grow the main church, but isn’t the process of loosing members to the daughter church, and the daughter church having to learn to make its own way, what stimulates innovation, change, and growth in both churches? Perhaps I am just being too optimistic. I do not know the actual statistics for church plant survival, but I’ve read that it is anywhere from 50%-80%. People seem to get more excited about planting a church than adding a new service (even though adding the new service may cause more growth?). It may also be the denomination’s mindset. I get the impression that the number of churches (especially new churches) a denomination has is sometimes trumpeted more than the number of members. Which sounds better, ‘We have 100 churches with average attendance of 100 people at each’ or ‘We have 10 churches with an average attendance of 1000 people each.’ 100 churches could mean more communities being reached, while 10 huge churches could mean more work actually being done. When I read the core values and core scores of my denominational department of evangelism it seems more directed at planting new churches than growing existing ones.”

These are important questions. And here are my responses.

1. Yes, I disagree (as does Eddie Gibbs in I Believe in Church Growth, 1981, pp. 282-284) with solely external planting.  As a consultant I see the damage it does on a local level when we create an external plant without regard to fostering an internal plant in a nearby congregation (external plant cannibalizes local churches, while birthing competitive and weak plants).  I think you can see that internal planting is much better for the rationale I outlined.

2. Plus, an internal plant can have the same amount of innovation, change, and growth as does an external plan (look at how innovative youth ministries can be).  The internal plants also create an “economy of scale” as a church grows into a larger church with multiple sub-congregations (creating multi-cultural acceptance too).

3. And, I think you are right that external planting is more popular from a denominational perspective where the number of churches trumps health.  The Church of the Nazarene emphasizes internal planting more than Wesleyans and their churches are on average much larger than ours (creating sustainability and an economy of scale = they can do more).

4. You asked, “Which sounds better.  ‘We have 100 churches with average attendance of 100 people at each’ or ‘We have 10 churches with an average attendance of 1000 people each.’ 100 churches could mean more communities being reached, while 10 huge churches could mean more work actually being done.”  Because in my consultative experience I’ve found that you need on average 175 attendees for a church to have the range of ministries people have come to expect, those 100 churches of 100 people are likely struggling and not healthy. Thus, they are usually not reaching people anyway.

5. It seems to me that in 50% of these situations it might be better for the larger church to have a sub-congregational “venues” in these neighborhoods.  The venue could be a culturally distinct sub-congregation, but would have all of the financial and staff backing of the larger church.  The business world understands the importance of an economy of scale, but the church misses it and creates networks of struggling congregations.

A name for this type of church is The Multicultural Alliance Model.

See all five models here: MULTICULTURAL CHURCHES & 5 Models: A New Paradigm Evaluated and Differentiated #AICR #AcademyForInterculturalChurchResearch

MULTIPLICATION & Instead of planting an independent new church, what about planting a new venue instead? Pros & cons considered.

by Bob Whitesel D.Min., Ph.D., 2/19/17.

A student once asked, “I am picturing a situation where a large church wants to plant an (independent) daughter church because they have a growing sub-congregation in the church that is mostly Hispanic, or Gen Y.  Is that a better way to help them, by launching them as an independent church plant?  Or can we help them better by offering to share the church with them as a venue or sub-congregation in the mother church?”

I replied …

What we often do when we launch a typical church “plant” is to create an “external” sub-congregation.  And, this is okay. But, I think it is usually not the best way to proceed.  Rather, the “internal planting” of a sub-congregation (fostering the growth of a sub-congregation that remains part of the church) is a better strategy.

This is because external plants have the following PLUSES (strengths) and NEGATIVES (weaknesses):

Short/long-term growth?

Pluses: External plants (in my consulting practice) grow quicker than Internal Plants (developing a sub-congregation and a venue), because they are homogeneous (i.e. largely attracting one culture).

Negatives: External plants (in my consulting practice) die quicker. They are smaller and often don’t reach critical mass for long-term sustainability.

Leadership?

Pluses: External plants have experienced leadership, because the leader has been trained in the mother church.

Negatives: External plants often lack good accountability and thus succumb to leadership/ethical weaknesses.

Attraction?

Pluses: External plants attract people who do not have a church home and/or who are dissatisfied with the church they attend.

Negatives: External plants often attract disgruntled people:

  1. Who don’t like the church they attend
  2. And/ or who do not want to rub shoulders with another culture (generational, ethnic, affinity, etc.). Thus, reconciliation does not take place.

More churches?

Pluses: External plants create more churches, though they may be smaller and not healthy for many years.

Negatives: External plants often kill existing churches, when the people who are attracted to the external plant leave the mother church, and other churches, weakening the churches they left.  This is the main reason pastors of established churches don’t like external plants, it cannibalizes the people they need to survive.

Diversity?

Pluses: External plants cater to a specific cultural market.  This creates a like-minded community that grows because of the things it holds in common.

Negatives: External plants don’t promote inter-cultural understanding.  This would be like the second-generation Koreans wanting their own church. The first-generation Koreans would feel abandoned and disconnected. And the externally planted 2nd-gen congregation might develop distain (due to distance) for the 1st-gen culture.

This illustration highlights the differences between first and second generational cultures.  But it happens in even a more damaging fashion between ethnic cultures.

The result of a good work, like church planting, can be that the cultures are distance organizationally and physically from one another by the planting of a separate congregation.

But it often makes the mother church feel good, because it can say, “We planted another church.” But in reality they often push them away because of their differences.  This creates distance between them and us. In my consulting work, no matter how much churches protest they … “Will stay connected to our daughter church,” they never stay as close as they would if they were sharing the church as fellow sub-congregations.

Thus, if a church is really committed to reconciliation and multi-culturalism (as I am) then Internal Planting is the better choice. Thus, with Internal Planting the church becomes in a community the main avenue for building multi-cultural understanding and tolerance, e.g. unity building and changing biases.

A name for this type of church is The Multicultural Alliance Model.

See all five models here: MULTICULTURAL CHURCHES & 5 Models: A New Paradigm Evaluated and Differentiated #AICR #AcademyForInterculturalChurchResearch

PLANTING & Tomorrow’s Church Planting by #DanielIm w/ #EdStetzer

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.

By Daniel Im, the post Tomorrow’s Church Planting appeared first on Daniel Im.

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

The post Tomorrow’s Church Planting appeared first on Daniel Im.

MULTIPLICATION & For Church Planging Here’s the fastest growing town in every state #USCensus

by ANDY KIERSZ, Business Insider Magazine, MAY 21 2015.

The US Census Bureau just released estimates of the population in every town, city, and village in the United States as of July 1, 2014. Using those estimates, we found the town in each state with the largest per cent increase in population between 2013 and 2014.

Here’s the map of the fastest growing towns in each state (click to enlarge):

image.jpg

There’s an asterisk next to Honolulu, and this is because that city is the only town in Hawaii measured by the Census Bureau, making it win by default.

Here’s a table showing the fastest growing towns in each state, ordered by their year over year population growth rates (click to enlarge):

image.jpg

Read more at … http://www.businessinsider.com.au/fastest-growing-towns-map-2015-5

MULTIPLICATION & 40 Business Books Every Entrepreneur Should Read Before Setting up a Startup #BusinessNewsDaily

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: “Having coached many, many church plants, I’ve discovered their mistakes were often made due to a lack of basic business and management skills. This list of business books will provide the business foundation that ministry entrepreneurs need. Business News Daily put together this list of 40 books after asking management professionals what every entrepreneur should read. You will find many of these are recommended readings for my Doctor of Ministry cohorts.”

Read the list at … http://mostread.in/40-business-books-every-entrepreneur-should-read-before-setting-up-a-startup/

CHURCH PLANTING INTERNALLY & A Student Responds: If They Invested Church Planting Money In Us … We’d Be Growing Too!

by Bob Whitesel, 5/19/15.

A student once shared how he felt offended by the cold shoulder he received from pastors of nearby churches of the same denomination, when he went to raise money for a church plant.  He said, “When I visited with local church pastors to introduce myself and share my vision, almost immediately I sensed these pastor’s turn their focus on (their)self by their behaviors (the cold shoulder kind of treatment)…We heard statements like, ‘If they invested that kind of money in our established churches we would be growing too’.”

I responded with the following:

Healthy Church Cover smLet me explain what I see from the other side of the fence 🙂  And, please hear me on this, I do not feel this is often the fault of these pastors.  They are laboring for years in the field, and they need help. Then the denomination plants a church of the same denomination nearby.  This can overnight, decimate the older church’s long hard work.  That is what they fear.  They fear the sense of abandonment they see in the eyes of dear long-suffering and long-working saints, who are now eclipsed by a denomination that gives up on them.

I have worked with hundreds of these aging congregations, and many, many have life in them.  They just need the right leader to revise them.  One of my friends took a dying church in Tipp City Ohio with 40 people and grew it to a mega-church.

So, I do not doubt they have said these hurting things to you and others.  But, I don’t feel the problem is them … but the problem is our strategy.  In the business world we would never start a competing organization when we already have a product in that market that is on life-support.  It takes more money (and work) to start a new product line (or church plant) that to revitalize an aging one (aging churches have experienced leaders, assets, facilities, social capital, etc.).

But, granted planting a church is faster, for you don’t have baggage to deal with.  But in the process we jettison many senior saints who have labored for years in the field, robbing them of some steadfastness in their latter years.

I know you are a sharp student, and a gifted leader.  And, I ask you to look beyond those who have hurt you to those senior saints in these congregations that are finding their churches undercut and left behind.  They have great resident power, if only we will work with them too.

Now, I’m not suggesting we don’t do external plants.  I think we should!  But, we also must do internal plants.  Both are needed for healthy ministry.  Resentment only comes when one receives emphasis more than the other.

NEED MEETING & Find a Need and Fill It – The Erstwhile Motto of a Mega-Catastrophe

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel:  “While probably not the originator of the phrase “find a need and fill it,” this was the principle that built The Chrystal Cathedral (formerly Garden Grove Community Church) in its early stages before other (and less organic) building and media emphasizes became the foci. In his book, “Your Church Has A Fantastic Future” (1986) Robert Schuller tells of planting a church in Southern California on the principle of: “find a need and fill it.”  This attention to “need-meeting of non-churchgoers” grew the church.  One day their usual rented space was no longer available to them and they had to temporary use a outdoor movie theatre.  The media soon latched on to this emerging church seeming to play to the California image of automotive worship. Though fame and notoriety ensued, this interview with Robert Schuller shows he still credits “find a need and fill it” as the reason for the church’s growth (not the attractional lure that most people associate with it).  Read this interview to learn more.

Dr. Robert Schuller: A Legacy of ‘Power’

By Cheryl Wilcox and Michael Little
The 700 Club

CBN.com He is known all over the world as a possibility thinker. Robert Schuller was ordained in 1950 by the Reformed Church of America. In 1955 he headed west at the urging of his pastor and mentor Norman Vincent Peale. Schuller set his sights on California.

He preached his first Sunday service to 100 people all sitting in their cars. With only $500 to begin his ministry, Schuller rented out the Orange Drive-in Theater to have Sunday services. The location was affordable, available, and unconventional. It was perfect – church at a drive-in under the canopy of the California sun. Heaven smiled on their inauspicious beginning.

Fifty years later the sun is still shining on the believers worshipping at the Crystal Cathedral. The future holds great promise as the ministry team of Schuller and Schuller, father and son, work towards an eventual leadership transition.

Michael Little (CBN President): What is the key to your success?

Robert Schuller, Sr.: Anybody who succeeds is helping people. The secret to success is find a need and fill it; find a hurt and heal it; find a problem and solve it.

Little: What’s the hardest lesson you’ve had to learn in 50 years?

Schuller, Sr.: The hardest lesson is to continue to stay focused on the emotional needs of the non-believers…

Little: You’ve been the friend of many presidents of the United States along with heads of corporations? Has power been a temptation?

Schuller, Sr.: Oh no. Only if I need it to achieve my goal. Keep your eye on your goal and if you’re a Christian, as I am, then for God’s sake — literally, not profanely — you ask, ‘What is my calling?’ And then ‘What am I to do? What do I have to do?’ I want to build friendships. I want to come across as being a good illustration of what Jesus is like…

You can read more of this interview here by clicking:  http://www.cbn.com/700club/Guests/Interviews/Robert_Schuller050505.aspx