Just like human babies need all kinds of things to give them a good start in life, new baby churches need things too. One way to provide for the needs of some kinds of new churches is to host a new church baby shower. It has been 25 years since I first conceived of this idea, but it is still a huge help to new churches.
The extended family of a new church plays a vital role. The family of God is the extended family of the new church start. It is vital that the church planting team not feel that they are alone in the church planting venture. They need to know that they are surrounded by a family that cares about the baby and is committed to its life. Dedicate yourself to caring about the new church and the church planting team. Family matters.
Invite the new church planter, plus any team members to a baby shower hosted by you, your church, your missions group or another local association of churches. Ask the planter for a registry that includes all kinds of items, or host a specialized party such as a shower that provides for a new church welcome table, or a “gift-card only” shower. It may be good to hold the party immediately following a church service or associational meeting when the most number of people are present.
This is a great way to highlight church planting and help existing churches begin getting involved in new church reproduction. Offer refreshments, a time of receiving gifts and a time for the church planter to share the new church’s vision.
Remember to pray for the new baby church and for the ones that are bringing it life. Ask God to give the baby health, and that it would be a blessing to many. Pray that through the new church, many would find life in Christ and become ardent disciples. Pray that the opening service would be encouraging both to the church planting team and to the entire extended family. Pray that God will bless exceedingly above all that the team asks or even imagines, and for the Holy Spirit to awaken faith in the hearts of those the church planter hopes to reach.
Churches and individuals that want to play a role in helping to start new churches can do so from wherever they are by participating in online baby showers. Some planters are already registered for a universal gift list, and others can easily put one in place. Order items online and have them shipped directly to the planter or to a partner church location. Gift cards are also easy to ship or can be retrieved via any email address.
Ultimately, the Holy Spirit is the caregiver for every new church, but new churches need to know they belong to the family. Partnering churches are not there to smother the new church, but to help it along the way. There are all kinds of ways to help all kinds of new churches.