by Brett Porter, Send City Missionary
Across our city, within our tribe, the majority of our churches are young. When I say the majority, I mean literally over 2/3 of our churches are less than five years old. We have over 40 churches in our network that are still in their infancy. We are so excited about what God has done and continues to do across the city. Our church planting team is extremely grateful for those who laboured long before many of us became a part of what God is doing in the city of Toronto.
Our vision is simple: To see a massive growth of local expressions of the Kingdom of God all across our city. For this to happen, we cannot simply keep adding churches. We must continue to develop systems for multiplication where these new churches are planting new churches that plant churches. The ultimate desire is not simply to have numbers on a sheet, but to see groups of people living out the Kingdom of God all over the city. The result will be transformed communities living underneath a new banner, King Jesus.
The questions we often hear are “WHEN” and “HOW” should a church plant another church? Here are some thoughts to consider…
- There will never be a perfect time to plant :: As a church, there will always be reasons why “now” is not a good time to plant. This does not mean recklessly start trying to plant a church, but rather develop a strategy and move forward in executing that plan. With no strategy, every time planting comes up, it will be pushed back for some “good” reason.
- You may need other churches to take the journey with you :: This is especially true if your church is young. While you may feel a good strategy is ready to be implemented, it may be wise and even necessary to invite other churches to join in the sending.
- Every church, even new church plants, can be supporting churches :: Regardless of size, age or location, every church can be a part of supporting a new church plant – through praying, through joining on the ground with ministry and through giving funds and resources. This is not about volumes of time spent in the new church plant field or the amount of money given, but rather an intentional focus outward for Kingdom expansion.
- Start with a simple first step :: Often churches, young and old, overthink what it means to partner with another church. As you make a plan, start with something easy to get the ball rolling. Some examples: send a financial gift to the new plant, have a day of prayer and fasting for the new plant, or have a team visit the plant location to encourage the planter and his family or core team.
- Be prepared to manage the tensions :: If you are intentionally investing yourself into Kingdom expansion, tensions will always present. You will find tension from leadership and people from within the church asking questions such as, “Why are we sending money away, when we need more?”, “Why are we always praying for another neighbourhood/city?”, “Shouldn’t we get more healthy before we spread ourselves so thin?” and so on. These will not go away…so learn how to manage this tension. Stand your ground on the vision and call to be Kingdom focused. Be a church that plants churches; it’s worth the effort.
- Model the example of giving yourself away :: As the leader or leadership team, set the pace for the church about what it means to give yourself away. This means as a leader, you should be an example of what it looks like to take the extra steps to be about Kingdom expansion. Put on display what it looks like to be a prayer partner with someone besides you, your ministry, etc. Demonstrate what it looks like to give your time and energy to a ministry that is not related to you, but totally a Kingdom work outside of your ministry. Lead by example of giving to Kingdom expansion above and beyond regular tithes and offerings.
There are many more things we find ourselves talking about, but these are a couple of on-going conversations. Consider these, add more and dive fully in the world of discovering new leaders, raising them up and sending them out to begin to Kingdom expressions all over the world.