Tuesday, July 17, 2007

What can you do for me?

Someone once told me., "Planting new churches is not rocket science." Probably not, but that doesn't mean that it is easy. Perhaps church planting is closer to an art, something like planting an ornamental garden! The organization which I serve has blisters, sore muscles, and thorns to prove it.
We have learned a great deal about starting new churches, in large part by making mistakes. We have had more failures than successes. I can tell you a lot of things one ought NOT to do in starting a new church, but I cannot guarantee that if you simply avoid these errors that you will succeed.
We continue to try and to learn in the process. One thing I am learning is that the "high tech/high touch" principle is significant in starting a new church. The idea comes from John Naisbit's book Megatrends. Naisbit explained that in the emerging world people want to utilize technology to do their work and communicate, but they also desire healthy relationships.
How does this apply to new churches? On the one hand, we can use technology--websites, e-mail, blogs, PowerPoint--to communicate, build networks, and get to know people. At the same time, there is no substitute for person-to-person, face-to-face relationships. People need people, not just a computer screen, for strong relationships to develop. Technology can open the door, but personal relationships must grow out of those contacts.
I think CBF and TCBF are in a good position to provide both. We don't have a lot of financial resources available to assist in planting churches, but we are pretty savvy when it comes to technology and we can be good friends! In fact, I have found that many young church planters are more interested in relationships than finances. That's good since we have a lot more of the former than the latter!


Dr. Danny Chisholm said...

Being a church planter has to be one of the most difficult jobs around, particularly in states that are already pretty saturated with established congregations. I don't have the expertise in dealing with demographics and trends to know where the best places are to start them, so I admire those who do.

Our church supports a church start in a neighboring town where this no other CBF influence. It can be a discouraging process, but often times you see folks attending these churches who wouldn't attend anywhere else. I don't know what the benchmarks are for a successful start or how long it should take a church to support itself. I would imagine there is a timetable for this.

TEchnology is opening more doors that we can count. It will be interesting to see what happpens next.

Ircel said...

Danny, the picture with this entry is Olive Branch Fellowship's present meeting site. Their growth has been slow, but God has added folks and they just had their first baptism (in a swimming pool!)

The are looking at buying a former Seventh Day Adventist church, but don't want to jump too fast.

The key to a new church start is a church planter with a passion--Chuck and Martha have that!

Glad that your church is helping to spread the Kingdom through planting new churches.