Keeping the goal of Launching Large in front of you causes a shift in the early DNA of the church you are starting—you will have an outwardly focused mentality from the onset. Launching Churches that launch large tend to stay focused on the unchurched, while churches that wait to launch often get distracted with insider concerns and “taking care of the core.” Keeping your current church and the new church outwardly focused from the beginning is much easier than trying to refocus an inwardly concerned church.
FOR SUCH A TIME AS THIS
Launching Churches are becoming more and more prevalent across the United States. In my work with these church starts, I have seen many grow from zero to more than 400 in six to twelve months, using the strategy of Launching Large. In a southern town with a population of 160,000 people, I worked with a church that grew from zero to more than 250 in monthly services, and then launched with more than 300. A church in Florida, in an established major city where many other new churches had failed, accepted the idea of Launching Large, launched with more than 300 people, and grew to more than 400 people in under eight months. God is blessing the willingness of these churches to let Him work, without preconceived limitations.
Often, churches that launch large are able to grow to several hundred or 1,000 people in a matter of just a few years. Then they, in turn, have the stability to start other churches with greater frequency. If that kind of harvest doesn’t excite you, I don’t know what will! These testimonies should expand your vision of the potential that God wants to fulfill through your desire and calling to start a new church.
What is impossible with man is possible with God.
DESIGNING THE DNA
As you move toward becoming a Launching Church, ingrain that desire to start new churches into the DNA of your current church. Cast the vision. Make sure your people know that your church will eventually start other churches, locally and around the world. Decide to put at least a small amount of money aside to assist in starting churches, even if its only $50 or $100 per month. Plant the seeds. Mobilize early mission teams to work with new churches in your area or on national mission trips.
Remind your people that you are a church committed to proliferating the Gospel outside your own doors.
Here are three ways for a growing church to move toward starting their first church:
- Be on the lookout for people who might have this desire and calling. New churches, especially, often raise up planters quickly. Give them resources and take them to conferences with you.
- Find a church planter who is moving to your area. If there’s already a solid church planter in your region, seek out a partnership. If there’s a good match, jump in as one of their financial partners.
- Discover where your current financial partners are working, and join them. The churches that helped you financially may have other partnerships they are pursuing. If they are doing something that ignites your passion, get on board.
Most of all, earnestly seek God’s will so you don’t fall into the common trap of dualistic thinking. Too many growing churches who consider starting other churches make the mistake of asking themselves, “Is it God’s will for us to grow larger or for us to plant other churches?” This is not an either/or proposition. God can fully intend for you to do both. I call this bi-focal vision: Keep one eye on the growth and health of your church and one eye on planting other churches as quickly as possible.
For a church-planting model, look to the guideline in Acts 1:8, and lay out a three- to five-year plan for planting churches in each mentioned area:
- Locally (Jerusalem)
- Regionally (Judea)
- Nationally/Cross-Culturally (Samaria)
- Globally (The world)
Launching a new church that impacts the community, reaches the lost, grows rapidly, helps people mature in their faith, and then starts more new churches nearby and around the world is entirely possible—with God! When He calls you to become a Launching Church, give all the potential and possibilities over to Him and let Him lead your work. Then, and only then, will the churches He wants to start through you become churches of greater success and significance than you’ve ever imagined!
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