Posted tagged ‘Church Planting’

Centrality of the Word in Church Planting

July 8, 2011

Mike McKinley, author of Church Planting Is for Wimps, answers the question about how God’s Word drives the agenda for church planting.

HT :: Crossway Blog

Give Them the Gospel, Yes, But Give Them You, Too

June 7, 2011

I have always admired and sought to emulate the pastoral heart and compassion found in C.J. Mahaney. Speaking to a group of church planters, he implored them to love, love, love, and then preach to their people.  When I first watched this, the following verses came to my mind . . .

7 But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children. 8 So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.
– 1 Thessalonians 2:7-8

Why Biblical Theology Matters for Church Leaders

May 15, 2011

Dustin Neeley recently sat down with Mark Dever and asked about the importance of biblical theology in the life and work of pastors and church planters. I appreciated Dever’s response.

Plant! Conference Audio

March 28, 2011

Sovereign Grace Ministries recently held their church planting conference, Plant! in Philly, and this was one that I really wish I could have attended.  The next best thing is to jump on the audio.  I thought some of you might be interested, too.  So here are the links to the audio:

Dave Harvey: “Sending Onesimus” (Philemon 1-25)
Panel Discussion 1: “Discipling, Assessing, and Training Men
Darrin Patrick: “The Call of Men” (1 Tim. 3:1-7)
Mark Dever: “The Great Commission and Church Planting” (Matt. 28:16-20)
Panel Discussion 2: “The Importance of Preaching
C.J. Mahaney: “Profile of a Church Planter” (1 Thess. 2:1-12)
Darrin Patrick: “Mistakes in Church Planting” (Eph. 6:10-18)

Top Issues Church Planters Face

February 14, 2011

Ed Stetzer has recently put together a great series of blogposts on the topic, “Top Issues Church Planters Face.”  I plan to interact with these articles through PLNTD in the future.  For now, here’s the list in the order Stetzer wrote them:

1.  Leadership Development and Reproducing Culture
2.  Financial Self-Sufficiency and Viability
3.  Launch Team Development and Mobilizing Volunteers
4.  Systems, Processes, and Cultures
5.  Casting Vision and Avoid Mission Drift
6.  Evangelism and Discipleship
7.  Spiritual, Physical, Mental Health Planter/Family
*.  Conclusions and Observations

POTW :: Tim Keller Reader

December 19, 2010

Last week, we had around 55 folks sign up for the Tim Keller Reading Group.  This is a picture of my reader (roughly 250 pages) that I had bound at the local OfficeMax.  Not bad for $5. I’ll be wearing this out over the next four months. If you’re interested and haven’t joined, go here for more information.

NEW Tim Keller Reading Group in 2011!

December 14, 2010

This morning, I announced on PLNTD a training opportunity for missional leaders and church planters by reading through 20 of the most significant articles written by Tim Keller on church planting, gospel centrality, missional living, and cultural engagement.  These 20 articles are compiled as a “reader” and will be covered over an 18 week period including 8 video conferencing opportunities.

Those of you on Twitter last Fall may remember my first experiment with this when I created the first Tim Keller reading group exclusively through Twitter.  The result was 74 people joining in from 24 states and 11 denominations, all desiring to learn together over the course of 4 months.  It was an experiment that proved incredibly profitable, and since then several have asked if I would ever consider doing something like that again.

So obviously the answer is YES.  But why on PLNTD?  In our training relational community, I have been listening to church planters talk about the challenges they face with receiving adequate training.  Very few of them can afford to attend church planting conferences.  Many of them talk about how the theological education they received was divorced from reality on the ground.  What almost everyone of them said is that they wanted training that was personal,  inexpensive, contextual, and accessible.

The Tim Keller Reading Group is the first of what I hope to be several training opportunities for those in our network to take advantage of creative ways of bringing significant training that would be both challenging and encouraging to church planters and missional leaders.  This training is free (inexpensive!), suited for specific contexts and any season in the church planting journey (contextual), and available to anyone who is a part of our relational communities through Cobblestone (accessible).

All the details are spelled out in the training community of the PLNTD Network, including schedule, syllabus, downloadable PDFs, and even custom cover page for your own Tim Keller reader.  And all of this begins January 3, 2011, so you have just enough time to get on board, create your reader, and dive into the discussions which will begin shortly after the holiday break.

My hope is that dozens of folks will take advantage of this opportunity to dial into the thinking of the godfather of the missional church for the welfare of their church and the edification of their labors.

Church Planting Elitism

December 9, 2010

Earlier this week, Ed Stetzer shared about new trends in church planting, most notably that local churches are becoming the engine for church planting.  As someone who is (and will continue to) invest himself in helping churches plant churches, this is exciting to see.  However, there is something that has been on my mind for some time, and I have been bringing this up among church planters in the PLNTD relational communities for their thoughts on this.  What am I speaking of?

Church planting elitism.

Now I hesitate to even mention this because I have some good friends in the church planting world that would likely fit the description below. Nevertheless, I think it is worth discussing because I fear the upshot is a growing disconnect between what is being portrayed/perceived and what is experienced in reality for many church planters today.  Let me explain.

When I reflect on the major plenary speakers at church planting conferences today, there are five categories or common characteristics that most (not all) of them have:

  • Large church – their church typically runs over 1,000 in attendance
  • Million dollar budget – their budgets allow for large amounts (not necessarily percentages) of money to go to church planting
  • Urban centers – they are located in a large urban city (Dallas, Raleigh, Louisville, Seattle, Orlando, etc.)
  • Colleges/Universities and seminaries – they have several colleges, universities, and seminaries where they can easily farm and recruit future church planters from the upcoming generation
  • Charismatic personality – they usually have a strong, dynamic leader whose personality plays a significant role in the branding of the church plant

While not every conference speaker at church planting conferences fit every one of these categories, it seems that most of them do.  And I might add, this is not inherently bad or wrong.  What makes it bad or wrong is the unintended consequences that arise from what could be described as church planting elitism.

What are some of the unintended consequences?


Tim Keller at Urban Plant Life

November 20, 2010

Steve McCoy pointed us to some Tim Keller gold last week.  Here are eight newly formatted PDFs of Tim Keller talks from the recent Urban Plant Life Conference and Consultation in London.

You can get these and three more talks from Keller on MP3 as well.

While downloading these, I was reminded of a project that I undertook last year called the “Coach K Reading Group.”  I had a hunch that other people were, or at least were interested in, reading available articles by Tim Keller.  So I compiled about 14 of them and made a Tim Keller Reader and pitched it solely on Twitter.  The result was 74 people from 24 states and 11 denominations who joined in, where I moderated a live video conference chat every two weeks.  It was a really cool time of learning from Tim Keller, encouraging one another, and focusing on the mission of the church.  Looking over these articles makes me wonder if we can do something like that again . . .

The Hub and Spoke Paradigm

October 29, 2010

A couple of days ago, I was asked in the comments thread about why and how our church worked towards increased delegation and decentralization in our church structures.  In the church planting church community of PLNTD, I attempted to explain this in greater detail.  I am copying my article here below for my blog community.  Bear in mind, I wrote this as a discussion article for church planting churches, so the context/audience is rather specific.

Addressing the Hub and Spoke Paradigm

One of the biggest paradigm shifts for a traditional church to becoming a church planting church is (1) how the leadership is perceived by the congregation as well as (2) how they function in their calling.  The “hub-and-spoke” model of ministry is most common in churches today, and it is also a significant reason why churches are not reproducing.  Below is a simple diagram showing how the HAS model works:


The Transfer of the Gospel

October 25, 2010

On October 3, our church launched our first daughter church. It was a great moment as we have worked over the past two years to transition into being a church planting church. I had the privilege of preaching at Grace that morning, and in light of the launch of our first daughter church, I decided to preach on “The Transfer of the Gospel” based on 2 Timothy 2:1-2.

My basic point is that church planting churches are made up of disciple-making disciples who are made by the gospel of Jesus Christ. Putting it another way, if you are not being strengthened by the gospel, disciples will not be made and churches will not be planted. Therefore, to be a church planting church, we need a community of disciple-making disciples. To have a community like that, we need to experience and be empowered by the gospel on a continual basis.

I made my manuscript available on PLNTD’s relational communities and thought I’d post it here as well for anyone interested.  As many of you know, my goal is to provide as much resources and information that will help individuals and churches in treasuring the gospel, making disciples, and planting churches.  To download the PDF of my sermon manuscript, click here.

Mark Driscoll on Humility, Ambition, and Young Leaders

October 8, 2010

Dustin Neeley, of Church Planting for the Rest of Us, regularly rolls out nice excerpts from extended interviews at church planting conferences.  At the most recent Acts 29 National Church Planting Conference in Seattle, Dustin interviewed Mark Driscoll in which they addressed a number of topics.  The first three dealt with humility, ambition, and concerns related to young leaders in the Reformed movement.  Here they are:

On Humility

On Ambition

On Young Leaders (encouragements and concerns)


Church Planter by Darrin Patrick (Review)

September 11, 2010

Last week, I took some time to review Darrin Patrick’s new book Church Planter.  Below is all three parts compiled in one place.

Church Planter: The Man, the Message, the Mission by Darrin Patrick
(Wheaton: Crossway, 2010), 238 pp. Buy: Amazon | WTS Bookstore
Reviewed by Tim Brister

The Man

One does not have to look far to discover the plethora of books in the world of church planting. However, the majority of these books focus on the pragmatics of church planting—systems, techniques, processes, etc. Wisdom has often been discovered not in those who have learned to give all the answers, but rather from those who have learned to ask the right questions. The burning question among most church planting books seems to be, “How to plant a church?” In his book, Church Planter, Darrin Patrick takes a completely different approach, starting with a different, and I would argue, more pertinent question. He begins by asking not how to plant a church but who should plant a church. The first section of his book seeks to answer this question with the end goal to find men who are “fit to carry the message of Jesus to the world” (103). Patrick’s focus and prayer is that there would be a resurgence of “godly men to serve the church by the power of God’s Spirit” (17). This theme runs throughout this section and in many ways lays out a template for discovering and assessing men according to God’s Word.


What’s Next for Church Planting?

September 10, 2010

That was the question asked to me by Collin Hansen of The Gospel Coalition.  Darrin Patrick, Ed Stetzer, and I give our take on the future of church planting.  Below is my response.

On a network level, I believe we will see second- and third-level decentralization where there are networks within networks, whether they are regional or affinity-based. I am hearing more and more from church planters that they are either burned out or not interested in the current conference circuit and are looking for a mirco-conference of sorts that is tailored to their context and addresses specific issues in their church planting experience.  PLNTD hopes to utilize the approach of the “weekender” training (a la Capitol Hill Baptist Church) focusing on church planting needs as directed by practitioners on the field.

On a local church level, I believe both theological education and training of church planters are migrating from institutions and agencies to a grassroots movement. For instance, theological education through the Porterbrook Network provides a medium with a misssional emphasis that any local church could benefit from. Through PLNTD, we have targeted three main components: resourcing (via, relational communities (via Cobblestone), and residency centers (via church planting churches). Our goal is to develop parenting church communities where reproducing churches are equipped both with the ability to provide theological education as well as practical training for aspiring church planters through such church-based residency centers.

Another surging interest among those in our church planting circles is training in revitalization and replanting of existing churches. In the denomination we work with the most (SBC), 25 percent of all churches are not leading anyone to Christ (10,000+ churches), and many of them are merely existing in name only. Some have suggested that unless something is done, 20,000 of these churches will simply cease to exist by 2025. I see a great opportunity for strategic partnerships between networks such as PLNTD and denominational entities (including state conventions) that are realigning around the church’s mission to work together for reformation and renewal through a genuine, grassroots Great Commission Resurgence. This is already happening in some places across North America, and I believe it will become more prominent in years to come.

One thing not included in my response that I sent in the email is that the popularity of church planting is going to make it crucial for church planting churches and networks to separate the fan boys from the men called and qualified to plant a church.  This means the interview and assessment process will be all the more important to discover and discern those who indeed have been called to plant churches in the future.

I also agree wholeheartedly in Darrin’s and Ed’s assessments as well.  But I’m curious, what do you think is next for church planting?

Church Planter by Darrin Patrick (video trailer)

September 1, 2010

Fore more info, go here.