Plant the Church—Better
Should more churches be engaging in church planting?
Ed Stetzer: Definitely. I think more should be involved. I think 3 percent have taken the responsibility to start a new church, and that’s a remarkably low number when you think about the engagement level of churches. When you have healthy denominations, you can get as high as about a 6 percent planting rate, and that will be about 10 percent of their churches involved. So I would say there’s a lot of space for growth in the involvement of mother and partner churches here.
Greg Surratt: I definitely think every church should at least consider becoming a part of a church planting movement. Sometimes we're held back by a perceived lack of resources—money, time, expertise, etc.
Geoff Surratt: Counterintuitive to conventional wisdom, more resources does not have a direct correlation with successful church plants. Many church plants that fail are lavishly funded, and many church plants that thrive begin on a shoestring.
Matt Chandler: My heart is for larger, wealthier churches to get into the game of church planting for the good of the kingdom of God. I know several churches with 15,000 to 20,000 who do no church planting. The best thing we’ve done at The Village Church is to give people a heart for those beyond just The Village Church.
Greg Nettle: Every church should be engaged in new church planting. Healthy organisms reproduce. Healthy churches plant new churches, and planting new churches will help already existing churches become healthy.
What is a good first step to finding out if church planting is right for a church?
Greg Nettle: A great first step for any church interested in church planting would be to contact Stadia and become involved in a church planting network.
Matt Chandler: If you’re in a denomination, I would look to how your denomination does things. If not, you can check out some of the networks out there that look like what you want to look like. If you have a church in mind that’s in your heart, find a network that sees it the way you do. Plug in to that network, and let them guide you into their process.
Kyle Costello: The Orchard Group and Imago Dei worked hard to make sure I understood just how "real" this experience was going to be. We had almost 30 people leave Portland and join us in our move to Salt Lake City, and although that was a beautiful picture of the Gospel, it was also true that once we got here, we would have to learn how to live. Jobs would need to be had, schools researched and new relationships formed. As humans, we are often good starters but not always good finishers. Both Imago and Orchard prepared me for the reality of us just living life.
What are some of the best resources you’ve seen for church planters and churches that want to foster church planting initiatives?
Ed Stetzer: I have an annotated bibliography in the back of my book Planting Missional Churches.
Brent Storms: I don't know of a better place to start than the Exponential conference. Anyone who is interested in church planting at any level will find inspiration, practical help and connections with service providers who make it all possible.
Greg Nettle: CPAC—Church Planters Assessment Center.
Matt Chandler: Darrin Patrick’s book Church Planter: The Man, the Message, the Mission. He does a good job with being very honest about what church planting really looks like.
A frequent contributor to Outreach, Christy Scannell is a freelance writer and editor based in San Diego.
This article originally appeared in the July/August 2012 Small Church America special issue of Outreach magazine.