Home Outreach Leaders Articles for Outreach & Missions What Is the Ideal Church Planting Model?

What Is the Ideal Church Planting Model?

When we left that event we had …

  • A fresh commitment to center our lives on learning the ways of Jesus and following him as King.
  • A re-ignited passion for one-on-one relational discipleship.
  • More ideas than we could count about what we could do with our money now that it would be 100 percent focused on mission and discipleship.
  • A renewed passion for sharing our faith with friends and family who would never “go to church.”
  • A strong commitment to live in the world as missionaries, whether we were working for a church or not.
  • A simple return to the value of making disciples, leaving the building of His Church to Jesus himself!

In short, we spent the entire weekend focused on the mission of Jesus to bring the nations under his Kingly reign through teaching them his ways and calling them to live for him (largely by living for him in front of people). We were not assigned any overseer or coach, but were told that all of the DNA—the SEED of the Kingdom of God was resident within us, and within every other Christian, and we were sent back home with prayer and encouragement to start making disciples as the Great Commission directed all believers to do. In this phase, we have only one goal. Make disciples. Period. That’s it.

Here is the basic flow and diagram of the “church planting” process in the paradigm we learned at this seminar:

  1. A christian helps another person to become a follower of Jesus, and
  2. if he/she does this effectively, a “leader” emerges and helps the other Christian grow in faith.
  3. Jesus will meet with those two or three (or more) as His own church whenever they gather together in His name, under His Lordship.
  4. If they continue to do this, and this process multiplies over and over, the Christian movement will continue to grow on the Earth until every person is reached.

Jesus-followers who function in this paradigm can spend 100 percent of their tithes and offerings on whatever Jesus is doing through them and their families. That might involve getting training (like the seminar we went to), helping friends with their bills, feeding, clothing and visiting people in need, buying Bibles for friends who don’t have one, buying meals or food to share with other friends with whom they gather to be the church of Jesus, and even taking missionary excursions to places far and near to share the good news about Jesus. If there is a need among this group, they can simply decide how to help one another. If the group really grows and disciples multiply, they can—if they wish—rent a spot to have a large gathering every once in a while for teaching and worship, or whatever. But if they never do this, their movement will not suffer either the threat or the reality of catastrophic failure or death because it is only dependent on their willingness to continue to live in relationship with each other, with Jesus and with the lost people they’re sharing with. No one in the group is dependent for their livelihood on the rest of the group, and the group is not bound to purchase or maintain real estate or properties. They are not required to file papers with the government, nor are they required to pay an organization an annual fee to license their leader(s) to officially perpetuate the Jesus-movement (e.g., ministerial ordination). That’s it. Their ministry rhythm fits with the rhythm of their everyday lives and relationships. There is no going to church, there is primarily being the church. Churches are “planted” organically and naturally when there are two or three Christians who agree to follow Jesus together and continue to disciple others as a group. If a disciple decides to venture out and begin the process elsewhere, the movement continues and grows, and new churches (of two, three or more Jesus-followers) can keep growing, and the mission of God continues. This paradigm is 100 percent sustainable and reproducible by any Jesus-follower regardless of their income, their age, their gender or their social status. It takes absolutely no organizational infrastructure to begin it or to maintain it. It only takes commitment and consistent intentionality, making the mission of Jesus to reach people a life-priority.

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Kenny Burchard (M.A. New Testament), his wife MaryJo and their son Victor live in Virginia Beach, VA. Before his family's journey of reconciliation with the Catholic Church Kenny served for 20 years as an ordained Protestant pastor, worship leader, church planter, and Bible teacher. Kenny is the host and curator of the Metastory.org podcast and blog, and is a regular blogger at ThinkTheology.org. You can follow him on twitter @kennyburchard.