The first time I consulted on a daughter church plant, we held the initial meeting in a local coffee shop. I was so wired for the experience I ordered decaf coffee.
A half-hour into the meeting, I wishedI had ordered an extra-large cup of dark roast. Make that two extra-large cups. I had learned only the Senior Pastor was excited about the prospects of starting a church. The lay leaders were lukewarm about the idea and the associate pastor thought it as too risky. The congregation in general had no idea leaders were discussing a daughter church.
Looking back, I should have known I would need a double espresso. I had served as a Senior Pastor in a church that started a church. I knew churches go through stages in starting daughter churches. Here are the stages:
For decades in the United States denominations started new churches. Thus, most church members have no idea that today churches start churches. If you are dreaming about your church starting a new congregation, proceed as if no one else is thinking about it. You need to start the conversation.
Curiosity about starting a church is sparked in a number of ways. A couple of families from the church move a half hour away and find the commute to church is more than they anticipated. So they ask their church to consider starting a new church near where they live. Members notice a new ethnic group is moving into a nearby neighborhood. The members start wondering if there is a way to start a church for the newcomers. Another way to stimulate curiosity is taking the staff on a field trip to a church that started a daughter church.
Starting a new church means change. Change means loss. When church members anticipate losses, they resist change. How leaders handle resistance can make or break the future new church. Wise leaders consider the resistance, identifying what needs addressing. Such leaders ensure everyone has the opportunity to express their thoughts and feelings on the matter. It is important to note the resistance stage can repeat after the Serious Study stage.
If the idea of a new church start survives the resistance, churches start seriously considering moving forward. Key questions arise in this stage. Will we send any members to start the new church? How much will this new church cost? Who will partner with us? What is the process for starting a new congregation? A task force is usually formed to answer the questions.
There is a point where the congregation formally either drops the idea or commits to starting a new church. Once committed, a team is formed to launch the new church. The excitement in the congregations grows as the launch process unfolds. This stage can continue through the first year the new church holds worship services.
What stage is your church in when it comes to starting a new church? Post your answer in the comments or shoot me an email.
If you appreciated this post, consider also reading: Starting New Churches from Our Knees