How to Start a Church Planting Movement: Visualizing What God is Doing in Your Area
The first time I heard Bruce Bennett teach about how to start a church planting movement (CPM) I was taken aback by his starting point. Bruce said that we start a CPM with a map. The way to start he said, was to get a map of our region, spread it out in front of us, and begin to pray about which towns and communities God wants us to go into to start a new church. Bruce said that we should mark on the map not just the communities where we are going to start first generation churches, but also the communities where we are going to start second generation churches.
This mapping work is based on what Jesus said to his disciples in Luke 10 when he sent them out to new communities to find persons of peace that can help in starting new churches in that community. Jesus sent his disciples to “every town and place he was about to go.”
The core belief of CPM’s is that God is at work in the world through his Holy Spirit preparing people in communities to hear the Gospel and respond to it. These prepared people, “persons of peace” are the key to starting a church in the community.
The Mt. Bethel Project has a good number of stories now of persons gathering to pray over a map and then going into a new community and talking to people that they do not know until a person of peace has been identified. We also have a number of stories of persons of peace who have been led to Christ and are now participating in short-term discipleship training.
Storm Hutchinson is leading a church planting project in Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania. He has gathered a group that he is training to plant new churches in new communities. The people of his group have already found several persons of peace, led them to Christ, and have brought them into discipleship training groups.
Storm and his original group began their CPM work by preparing a map of towns they believe Jesus is sending them into to find persons of peace. This first step has already been accomplished in several of these towns.
Here is Storm’s map of how they are visualizing towns where Jesus is sending them to in Schuylkill County. When you pray, pray for the work Storm is leading in Schuylkill County.
Reports from Strategy Coordinators
Strategy Coordinators are those who have participated in the Mt. Bethel two day training in CPM strategies. During this training we review the basic strategies, examine various curriculum options for training others in these strategies, and participants have the opportunity to teach actual lessons. The goal of the training is to prepare people to gather and train a group of church planters who can implement the strategies to gather a group and train this group to become a second generation multiplying church.
Here are some of the reports of Strategy Coordinators:
Euline Jackson – Brooklyn, NY
Our RAD (Rapidly Advancing Disciples – a CPM curriculum) Group met each Thursday in September and October. The group is doing well. We have studied and practiced the following lessons:
1. Understanding the Harvest Fields & praying for the harvest.
2. Praying for and seeking the Person of Peace
3. Telling your story, tell God’s story
4. Leading the Person of Peace through Salvation, if they say they are ready.
5. Teaching on the Assurance of Salvation
We continuously review and practice each step at every meeting.
One member of the group has taken her Person of Peace through to accepting Jesus as her Savior and began the lesson on Assurance of Salvation. We also have one person in New Jersey beginning the training with me as of October 21st (Euline).
Each of the members has found their Person of peace and have shared their story and God’s story. They continue to fellowship with them and discuss and pray for their issues.
As a group we continue to pray for each other and the person’s Person of Peace.
Dan Norheim – Fort Washington, MD
Dan has gathered two groups in his church and has been using CPM material to train them to participate in the Billy Graham “My Hope America” Campaign. Dan has been teaching his people the CPM “Seeded Field” strategy of sharing the Gospel by “telling my story, telling God’s story.” CPM’s work hard at teaching people to tell their story in no more than three minutes. This includes: my life before Christ, how I met Christ, and my life after Christ.” After sharing their story then they share God’s story by sharing four scripture verses that point people toward an opportunity to accept Christ.
Report from Tom Doherty in North Michigan
Please continue to pray for Tom. He is pastoring a church, working as a superintendent of the North Michigan conference, and has been going into different towns trying to start a CPM in his region.
We are working hard at the church planting. As I have strength I am working with a couple in Cadillac to get something going there and we have church planting project started in Mecosta. I am looking for partners, (persons of peace) in Clare and Reed city.
Be With Him…
“God shapes the world by prayer. The more praying there is in the world the better the world will be, the mightier the forces against evil.” —E. M. Bounds