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April 27, 2019

Best Practices to Develop Church Planting Churches[Part 4]

By Ed Stetzer

In this series, we have examined eight ways that many organizations are intentionally building into their church planting systems an emphasis on developing church planting churches. In this final article, we’ll look at network events and funding, but you can also read Part 1,  Part 2, and Part 3.

Scorecards and Metrics

Adjust your organizational scorecard to also track multiplicative indicators, such as the number of churches implementing a leadership pipeline, residencies and internships, generations of multiplication, assessment and training centers, etc.

The scorecard for developing church planting churches is different from the scorecard for planting churches. In order to develop a church planting culture, it is necessary to measure what leads to church planting churches. If an organization feels administratively ill-equipped and finds the process of trying to track generations of reproduction cumbersome, it’s probably because they are experiencing the early pains of transitioning their systems from strictly adding churches to multiplying churches.

  • 82% track the number of churches that have multiplied in their network
  • 71% track the number of churches that intend to multiply
  • Only 39% track the number of generations of reproduction

While it is not completely necessary to track generational reproduction to prove that an organization is focused on multiplication, it is hard to know if multiplication is actually happening if it is not somehow being tracked. Many organizations may be able to tell anecdotal stories of multigenerational reproduction, but few are actually able to definitively track it phenomenologically and describe exactly how it’s happening.

Consequently, an organization should measure what they care about and what they want to happen among their churches. If an organization is serious about multiplication and developing church planting churches, then they will have to adjust their scorecards to reflect these values.

Church Planter Involvement

Involve church planters in all of your church planting systems, starting from your pipeline, all the way to funding and coaching. Encourage ownership. If networks own the processes, they will never scale fast enough to support a multiplication movement. Organizations whose churches own and reproduce simple church planting systems are reaching the highest level of multiplication.

Most of the organizations we interviewed cannot afford to hire a full-time staff of paid network leaders. Some organizations, if they are able, provide a stipend for many of their team members, who are often church planters themselves.

However, church planters don’t participate in recruiting, assessing, training, and coaching only to save their denomination or network a dime. They often use the skills they acquire from working with their denomination or network to start their own micronetwork built around their vision and values.

Changing Mission Structure

For some organizations, these eight practices describe what they have been doing for the last several years. Other organizations will find that although they use the language of multiplication and church planting churches, their systems and processes have yet to catch up. Still others may feel far from being able to implement all or even some of these practices.

The point in providing these practices isn’t to overload your organization’s church planting system or to overwhelm you with a new paradigm. We are providing these practices as a way to show how others are incorporating multiplication practices into their systems. In other words, it is possible to teach church planters and church plants how to reproduce themselves while you continue to actively recruit, train, and assess church planters.

If you feel stuck in addition, these changes will indeed seem drastic. And yes, it will take faith to change what is currently happening in order to move toward multiplication. But isn’t it worth it to see the Great Commission pursued?

*This excerpt is adapted from Best Practices in Church Planting Systems that I wrote with Jeff Christofferson, Daniel Yang, and Daniel Im. Download the e-book for free.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ed Stetzer

Ed Stetzer (@edstetzer), is a professor and dean at Wheaton College who also serves as Executive Director of the Wheaton College Billy Graham Center. Stetzer has planted, revitalized, and pastored churches, trained pastors and church planters on six continents, has earned two master’s degrees and two doctorates, and has written hundreds of articles and a dozen books. He is regional director for Lausanne North America and publishes research through Mission Group. Stetzer is a contributing editor for Christianity Today, a columnist for Outreach Magazine, and is frequently cited in, interviewed by, and writes for news outlets such as USAToday and CNN. He is the founding editor of The Gospel Project, a curriculum used by more than 1.7 million individuals each week for bible study. His national radio show, Ed Stetzer Live, airs Saturdays across the country. He serves as teaching pastor at Highpoint Church in Chicago and has been the interim teaching pastor at Moody Church in downtown Chicago.

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