North American Church Planting Initiative
Below is the proposal I sent to the Executive Council for consideration for the General Assembly 2010 Agenda. This was referred to a study commission and will not be on the Agenda this year. What are your thoughts?
Like so many others, I have long been concerned with the lack of commitment from the Church of God to effective church planting. Even in times when designated church planting funds have been used for church planting, it appears that we do not have an effective model, so our efforts often fail. There may be several reasons for this propensity to be unsuccessful:
- Lack of proper training in church planting.
- Lack of ongoing support: mentoring, resourcing, encouragement.
- Lack of connection with a local Mother-Church.
Most people recognize that the most effective model for church planting is when a local church “has a baby” or plants a church out of itself. It has been well observed: “Churches beget churches. Denominations do not beget churches.”
I offer a recent Daystar Church plant testimony as an example. About two years ago, our Student Life Pastor, Greg Davis expressed his desire to pastor a church. So, we set out to birth a daughter congregation and send Greg out as the church planter. We wanted to make sure that we didn’t just send out a preacher with some money. We wanted to send out the Daystar DNA. So, we provided the new pastor with the following:
- A complete structure to run the ministries of the church. About 50 volunteers with the new pastor. Each of these had been trained and served in the various ministries of Daystar. Literally, the day they started, they were a junior version of Daystar. Ushers, greeters, children’s ministry, follow-up ministry, prayer teams, media, youth, etc…were all trained and ready to go.
- Demographic research: the new pastor and I spent much time discussing where, how, and when this launch would take place. Now, not only is he on board, but so am I. If it is in both of our hearts, we are more likely to team together to make it all happen.
- Support of $50,000 from the mother church as well as much more from other resources.
- Resources: Every spare piece of equipment, furniture, signage, etc… that we could round up was given to him.
What is the result? Eighteen months into the new church plant, Chelsea Community Church is averaging around 350 in attendance. The pastor is full-time and the community is turning on its head in revival.
It is my belief that an effective approach to re-affirming our pioneering DNA is critical to our future. We must do this now. We cannot afford, as an Acts 1 and Acts 2 Church to compromise our commitment to our Mission in favor of other good but, lesser priority activities or line items.
So, why don’t we allow local churches to take a portion of their tithe-of-tithe, in the range (20%) of our historical financial commitment to church planting,* and use it to birth new churches? If we could forge a church planting partnership with the Church of God, we could exponentially increase our church planting efforts both locally and internationally.
Further, such an arrangement could undermine the structural flaw which has caused, over the course of decades, mandated church planting monies to be appropriated by the state offices to fund other activities. Instead of this money going through the state office, 100% of the church planting monies would go directly into starting new churches.
Therefore, I am proposing the following motion to be considered for strong approval by this Executive Council for inclusion on the 2010 General Assembly Agenda:
That local churches be permitted to invest up to 20% of their monthly Tithe of Tithe of the State/Regional Office portion of funding in establishing a new church or a new campus of an existing church. The church and/or church planter would be required to raise matching funds to be eligible to receive this percentage of Tithe of Tithe church planting funds.
Please attach this proposal to the appropriate place in the new financial structure of the Tithe of Tithe or it’s most appropriate place.
Authored by Jerry Lawson
*It was in 1929, the year of the Great Depression when the Church of God rallied together to declare a mandated commitment level of denominational giving to North American church planting.