How to Start a Church Planting Movement: Beginning With the End in Mind
In Steven Covey’s book, “Seven Habits of Highly Successful People,” he lists “Beginning with the end in mind” as one of those habits that lead to success. To have a church planting movement we have to start our work in an empty field with a clear end in mind – that of seeing a healthy church established in that community.
With all the work we do to teach people the basic strategies of a church planting movement, i.e. Entry strategies for empty fields (finding a person of peace); Gospel Strategies for seeded fields; Discipleship strategies for growing fields; and Harvest strategies for fields ready to be harvested, it is easy to lose sight of the fact that what we are trying to produce is a church planting movement.
The goal or our work is to populate our region with new churches that reach people for Jesus, disciple them in the faith, and send them out to reach more people and start new churches. Simply put, the goal of all of our work is produce new churches. It is important that we do not let our success in the early strategies, such as finding a person of peace or forming a new discipleship group, distract us from the end goal which is to produce a new church in a new community.
To keep church planting in the forefront of our work, we have to keep asking God to give us a vision of new churches in new communities. We have done some good work in sending people out to find persons of peace, and getting people into short-term discipleship, but it is important that we take the next step and assist these groups to become churches.
Here are some things we can do make sure that our work results in new churches:
1. Plan for multiple plants at once. Pray over a map and determine communities for first and second generation churches. Bruce Bennett is quite clear that we should map both first and second generation churches at the beginning of our work. Planning for multiple generation churches helps us to keep our eye on the goal of planting a new church.
2. Be clear with people that we reach from the very beginning of our interaction that we are trying to plant a church. It is important that we fully disclose to people that our goal is to start a church in their community. We do not want to start a discipleship group of new believers and inform them after being well into the process that we are really trying to start a church. People want us to be up front about our intentions from the beginning.
3. Plan your discipleship meetings so that they can become church services. T4T teaches that there are three parts to a successful meeting. (See the article below on “What to Include in the Weekly Meeting”.) Every discipleship group that we start is an infant church. If you incorporate these three parts to the meeting from the first meeting, your group will have an easy time morphing their weekly meeting into regular church services.
Report from Joel Guzman – 40 Days of Fasting, 65 Conversions from Mt. Bethel Project Work
Last summer a group of pastors attended Strategy Coordinator Training taught by Superintendent Harvey. This group has continued to “meet and report” on their work through e-mail and video conference. Below is Joel Guzman’s report to this group regarding his Mt. Bethel Project work.
Since September to date, I have placed 43 of the T4T books in Spanish into the hands of interested pastors & laypersons. I have advertised it as the practical nuts & bolts of CCP & the ABCs of a CPM.
Last Saturday, I went to Reading, PA & gave a CCP training to a key family in the CP there led by Jose Medina, along with a new family I introduced to our people there & left them with 2 T4T books.
Last Friday, I met with the two pastors who live in Manhattan & have recently begun a new FM CP in Manhattan, Roberto Castro & Javier Veras & made sure they have & are reading T4T. I will be going to their service this Sunday from 5pm -7pm & preaching there. They have 6 home locations in Manhattan where they are training new believers.
Locally, T4T & CCP has activated the 20% in our Church who are the doers & the other 80% who are interested. This has resulted in 65 conversions to date this year. Next Friday we conclude 40 days of congregational fasting with a prayer vigil for revival and CCP.
Tomorrow night I will be revealing the specific goals & plans received through prayer for Our CCPs in Bronx & Westchester counties to the students in our training Institute. We have been experiencing trials along the way but continue on for The Lord’s glory.
Resource: What to Include in Every Meeting
Open with a brief prayer, asking for God’s guidance and blessing on your time together.
FIRST THIRD (approximately half an hour)
1. Pastoral care (10 minutes): Take time to listen to what God is doing in the life of each trainee and in their family. Encourage and pray for one another.
2. Worship (5 minutes): Sing a song or two of praise and worship.
3. Accountability (10 minutes): Ask all trainees to report on the following: to whom they told their story this week and whom they have trained. Offer encouragement along with peer accountability. Here are some good accountability questions that you can ask:
- How did you obey last week’s lesson?
- With whom have your shared your story? With whom have you shared God’s plan of salvation? Who has believed?
- When are you training them to share their own story and to explain to others God’s plan of salvation? Are you teaching them the lessons?
- Are you training them to train others? (2 Timothy 2:2) Are they doing this? Are the people whom they are training training others?
4. Great Commission Vision (5 minutes): Give biblical reminders of our Great Commission task. (For some ideas about what to talk about see the downloadable document “Great Commission Vision Ideas”.)
SECOND THIRD (approximately half an hour)
5. New Lesson (30 minutes): Teach the trainees enough biblical content to obey and pass on this week. Your first six foundational lessons are provided. After the first six weeks, the trainees will engage in a weekly Bible study based on the pattern set forth in 2 Timothy 3:16-17.
FINAL THIRD (approximately half an hour)
6. Practice the Lesson (20 minutes): Instruct your trainees to divide into 2’s or 3’s and practice teaching the lesson to each other.
7. Set goals and pray (10 minutes): Direct your trainees to again ask God to show them to whom they will tell their story this week and whom they will train. Ask them to write down those names and pray for the Holy Spirit to prepare the way and work in the hearts of those on their lists.
Important Hint: Do not allow any of the seven portions of the meeting to be omitted. Each portion reinforces the process of reproducing leaders and new believers. If you don’t have time for an hour and a half, stay with the three-part balance regardless; do not omit portions of the training cycle even if you have to shorten the lesson time.
Be With Him…
The salvation of the nations rests with God’s people. Missionaries have shared the testimony that when they preached the gospel in some villages who had never heard before, these same villagers upon believing asked the missionaries: “How long have you known this good news? Why have you taken so long to come to us? Why did you not come before now? Our parents and others are in an eternity without God and without hope! If only you had come earlier!”
It has been mathematically calculated that if one person discipled another, and they in turn witnessed and discipled one each, and if this continued to multiply and each one hearing remained faithful to sharing with one other each week, it would take a short number of years for all 6.25 billion people in the world to be hear the gospel and to be saved. We must pray for the world, by praying as Jesus did, for God’s own people.
–Adapted from Chapter 61 of Giving Ourselves to Prayer (The Bible and Global Prayer) by Henry Blackaby