In this chapter Stetzer says the church planting picture is changing. Code-breaking church planters are understanding their environment before they make their plan, learning from others without copying them, and finding new methods and models by learning from those who have gone before – all of this in a culture where the ends of the earth have come to Jerusalem.
This was a fascinating chapter as I only have hunches on church planting without doing much research. It seems my hunches are a bit dated and I’m grateful for the wise people I serve with to keep me in line, particularly when we were starting our satellite campus. Stetzer talks briefly about some basic models and methods of church planting. Of particular interest was the idea that moving from a core to a crowd has the advantage of giving you a group of people to start with, the disadvantage is that it can take on the culture of the transplanted core rather than being indigenous and building a core from the crowd that comes. I hadn’t thought of it that clearly.
Most of the chapter focuses on Milestones that one should focus on in church planting. Each has several subpoints, but the quick version is helpful enough. If it isn’t, read the book – which I recommend anyway. What are the questions that need answering? Here we go:
Am I ready to plant?
Are my teams in place?
Have I solved the resource challenge?
Have I determined the right place to plant?
Do I have a clear vision?
Have I networked my community?
Am I ready to go public?
Do I have an assimilation process in place?
The Breaking the Code Challenge
1. Identify people groups, population segments, or cultural environments in your community that will require a church plant in order to be reached.
2. How can your church participate in planting churches to reach those outside of your direct influence?
3. Where do you already have a ministry presence that could best become a church plant?