5. Look to Seven Years as Opposed to One
The stats on church planting are well known: You need to get to 125 adults as soon as possible to be self-sustaining. If you don’t have that by Year One, you’re pretty much toast. Granted, this is with a model of church planting that is all about putting as much time, energy and effort into a Sunday-centric experience of church on the front end that starts with the BIG LAUNCH.
And on that day, you’re hoping for 250 adults to show up because, statistically, you’re only keeping 50 percent of them after the first month. What I’d suggest is if you build in a culture of replication where you are discipling people who make disciples and are multiplying leaders who know how to lead missional vehicles of 10, 50 or 100 people, you will be just fine! It just may take you longer to hit that tipping point.
6. An Increased Commitment to the Work of the Holy Spirit
I don’t know what more I can say on this point other than to say my general observation is most church planters (while never saying it) don’t believe the Holy Spirit is terribly necessary. Their strategy, after all, is good enough. What I’d say is if they can accomplish it apart from the Holy Spirit, it isn’t Kingdom fruit and doesn’t really count for anything.
7. Don’t Be Married to ONE WAY or Model of Doing Church
Every city, church-planting couple, denomination, theological framework, etc., is different. There are endless ways of planting a church, and I’m increasingly convinced there isn’t a “right way” so much as there tend to be helpful models based on the types of city context and personal gifting. For instance (many of my friends in the missional conversation will probably revoke my membership for this), I’m not convinced that for some church planters in some places, using a worship service as the primary starting point is the wrong way to go.
As long as you have two years of immersive training, know how to reproduce discipleship and mission from day one, have an alternative economic model, have a pre-existing oikos with you, a vibrant connection to the person and work of the Holy Spirit and are looking long term, you’re good to go. That could really be the right way for some. I think increasingly it won’t be, but for some I think it is. But it just isn’t the only way, and I can’t find any “one way.” I see commonalities in successful church plants … but it’s what I’m saying in this list. I’m not seeing any commonalities in models that are used.