Here is the basic flow and diagram of the church planting process in the paradigm we used to plant our first church.
- A coalition of churches (e.g., our denomination/movement) sponsored us as …
- The leaders of …
- A new church plant that would be focused on
- Making disciples
After 12 years of ministry following our first church-planting experience, we personally gave around $100,000 of our own money to the church we started. The total income over our 12 years was about 3.5 million dollars, and we spent about 3.2 million of that on the functions of the church organization, and put the rest in the bank. We probably baptized about eight to 10 people per year (maybe 100 people during our 12 years), and saw a few dozen people make first-time commitments to Jesus (though it’s impossible to really count how many there were). We spent tens of thousands of dollars on office rentals, tens of thousands of dollars on vehicles and trailers and equipment, supplies, and utilities, tens of thousands of dollars on rental space and equipment for our Sunday gatherings, hundreds of thousands of dollars on payroll and benefits for staff, and tens of thousands of dollars on missions (largely through missionary sponsorship through our denomination—though a few people took missions trips in the church). We also spent tens of thousands of dollars on benevolence for members of the church. What’s the point? It was very expensive. I’m not sure how many people we lead to the Lord who actually became fully devoted followers of Jesus and eventual leaders who could reproduce disciples I know there were a few, but in all, our emphasis was on ministering to our members through our Sunday gatherings, men’s, women’s, youth and children’s ministries, and weekly small groups and classes. No other successful churches were planted out of our church, and at our largest, we had about 300 members. When I left, we had about 150 people in regular worship attendance, though our giving was pretty consistent and we never functioned in a financial deficit during my entire tenure in the church. By the basic measure of success in this paradigm, we were moderately successful. The church was larger than the national average, was financially solvent and was redirecting funds back to the parent organization.
Church Planting Model #2:
In February of 2014, nearly four months after we completed our pastoral assignment in the church we planted in 2001, my wife and I heard about another church-planting workshop being held in Arizona. We read the description of it online, and it intrigued us. We had read a book by the author who developed the material, and we really liked it—so we decided to take a road trip and spend two days learning more about it. We paid for our own gas, hotels, meals, registration, and materials and jumped in. This was our first 180. In the first scenario, we were sponsored by an overseeing organization. In the second scenario, we sponsored ourselves. When we walked into the first session on Friday night, the seminar facilitator began by saying …
“We are not going to give you a methodology or any ministry techniques in this seminar. The Bible does that already, and it’s the same for every Christian and every church. We simply want to give you the mindset behind this mission, and then you can work out how that will shake out in your own context.
This was our second 180. The first group told us, “No mindset, only method.” The second group told us, “No method, only mindset.”