Church planting

An alternative to transitioning

Transitioning a legacy church to a network of simple/organic churches is not an easy route. There may be compelling reasons to take it, such as the fact that your church can no longer afford to keep its building. But if there are no compelling practical reasons, there are alternatives.

Photo Credit: rburtzel (Creative Commons)

It would be very easy to start a second, missional/simple/organic track that runs parallel to the legacy church.

Here are some of the factors to consider:

  1. The leadership would need to be fully supportive.
  2. The missional/organic group would probably be just a small group of people that were fully committed to the new vision and that was commissioned by the church to explore these areas.
  3. The new group will need to be trained in simple/organic principles. Simple church is not like a home group or a home Bible study. There are aspects that are similar, but it’s a totally different way of thinking. There are many books and resources available, and many people available to help train groups who would like to move this way.
  4. The group would need to be totally and unconditionally released. Since the people most likely to be interested in the new vision are likely to be some of the most committed in the church (either that, or they’ll be the people thought of as rebels!) the cost needs to be assessed, both in terms of finances and time. This factor is key. If the parent church leadership insists on staying in control, it will inhibit and eventually kill a missional track. Are you willing to lose your best people to this vision. (Hint: you can never outgive God!)
  5. Any new believers will probably never come to the parent legacy church. This is not a way of growing your church. It’s about the Kingdom. Are you willing to make an impact for the Kingdom even if your own church never sees any of the fruit.

What other important considerations can you think of?

7 replies on “An alternative to transitioning”

My wife and I still have one foot in our IC but are pursuing missional community in our neighborhood and also with another group across town that already has 12 people in it after just a month. Our IC pastor also has started a “missional community” with a group of young adults and is seeking to create another track, as you say. But I asked him about No. 5 on his list and whether he was ready to meet resistance from the elders and church council when it turns out this is not a church growth program but a kingdom program. He said he has not thought that deeply about it. I fear his effort is doomed.

Our IC is an E-Free church, btw. The district church plant champion has declared that this is their focus for church planting from now on because traditional church plants are so expensive in dollars, time and manpower and rarely succeed. 

Hi Dan
I’m fascinated by your comments about this being the focus of church planting for the E-Free churches. We were just at a weekend where another whole denomination is actively moving in that direction too. God is on the move.

Exciting about you and the other group you’re working with.

Dan, I’m fascinated that E-Free is using this as their focus for church planting. We were just at a conference where another whole denomination is moving in that same direction.

Love the sound of what you and the group across town are doing. I hope your IC pastor works through some of these issues too.

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