FAQ about Church Planting
Frequently Asked Questions on Church Planting at Christ Church
Q. Why should Christ Church plant churches? (related Q’s: Isn’t this the job of Presbytery? Why don’t we just “grow” Christ Church bigger? Aren’t there enough churches now?)
1. Christ Church was started with a commitment to being missional. Planting churches now is a return to the original vision.
2. Biblically, planting new churches is a key evangelism strategy (Acts 14:21-23)
3. New churches reach lost people better than established churches. (Statistically, churches 10-15 years old [CC is 25] gain 80-90% of new members from transfer; new churches gain 6 to 8 times more unchurched people than existing churches).
4. New churches reach new people groups (people who don’t look like us) better. (They don’t have to first “fit into” the culture of the existing group.)
5. New churches best reach the rising generation. (Young non-churched people find it difficult to navigate established programs/structures.)
6. New churches best train up new leaders. (Existing churches have a strong core of leaders that is difficult for new folks to break into.)
7. New churches are wise financially: despite initial cost, they are typically self-sufficient within 2-3 years, and soon contribute Kingdom resources to the overall budget.
8. New churches are always in growth and vision mode, multiplication thinkers not addition thinkers, and certainly not in maintenance mode.
9. New churches bless and renew existing churches. “While new churches often attract some families away from older congregations, the new churches help the overall Body of Christ by
a) showcasing new ministry forms and ideas that would never have been adopted in older churches,
b) creating an ‘it can be done’ mindset in older churches, and
c) providing many new converts in the city that find their way to older churches.” (Tim Keller)
Q. What will our church planting model look like?
A. We will prayerfully employ a “multi-site Collegiate model” of “One Church, Many Congregations. To Reach Our City”.
"One Church, Many Congregations"
C1, C2, etc=Congregations
Q. Why this model?
A. There are several reasons:
1. GA and Presbytery urge an “every church plant a church” model; the multi-site model is often recommended. NF Presbytery track record of church planting is not stellar.
2. “One Church, Many Congregations” allows for unity of values and a wise use of resources, while allowing for local flexibility to reach this diverse city.
Q. What will be centralized (for all congregations of the one church)? What local to each?
Centralized (shared) ministries of Christ Church will include:
- training in core values (unified view of gospel)
- vision-casting (unified strategy)
- governance (one session/diaconate to assure accountability)
- training (Bible/theology/world view, leadership development)
- resourcing ministries (youth, children, men/women, mercy, communication)
- all-church celebrations and worship
Decentralized: On the local level (unique to each congregation) will be:
- Sunday Worship
- shepherding by locally deployed elders
- mercy by locally deployed deacons
- relational fellowship (small groups)
- some discipleship (SS or other)
Q. How will Elders and Deacons be deployed?
A. Here’s a snapshot:
- Each Elder/Deacon will be assigned shepherding/mercy duties in one congregation
- Plenary Session/Deacons will meet quarterly for overall governance, training, prayer
- Local Session/Deacons will meet monthly for local shepherding and mercy issues
Q. How will Pastors be deployed?
A.There will be one staff including several pastors. John will remain as principal preacher/teacher at the Mandarin congregation and Keith will remain principle preacher/teacher at the East congregation. Currently Ass’t Pastor, Dave Abney, is in preparation to plant congregation #3. Staff will work together, each serving locally and contributing to the health of the whole; periodically rotating pulpits.
Q. Shouldn’t churches stand alone and be independent?
A. No. There are several important reasons for a united church with diverse congregations.
- Biblically: I Cor 1:2, 16:19, Acts 20:20 and many other places speak of “the” church of God that is in, for example, Corinth. The one church in these passages met in many locations.
- Historically: Geneva (Calvin and many other pastors sat on one “Session” [the “company of pastors”] was a city in which there were multiple congregations but one church. Each preacher served a primary pulpit. This model flourished in Amsterdam and many other cities in Europe in the 18th and 19th Centuries; today, similar models drive some of the most dynamic church planting movements: Redeemer PCA NY, Perimeter PCA Atlanta, and Harbor PCA Church in San Diego.
- As a Testimony: Paul calls church unity a “mysterious power” in Eph 3:6; it is a witness to a world that sees Christians fragmented over style, brands, and “market share”.
Q. How can unity be preserved if the church meets in multiple places?
A. We will have to be intentional about it. We will share a common leadership, will pray for unity, and carefully nurture whole-church gatherings for fellowship, the sacraments, and times of special worship and celebration, prayer and praise.