Recently when I was in a room full of pastors, we did an exercise where we were asked to develop a church planting strategy for a specific neighborhood. The objective was to learn to customize the church planting strategy to the specific neighborhood’s profile.
One pastor suggested that we create an after-school program for children in an apartment complex. Someone mentioned a service to provide single mom’s changes of oil for their cars. Another idea was to find those who don’t know English and offer conversational English classes. The pastors developed a long list of ideas to meet practical needs of the poor in the neighborhood.
What were three strategic issues that the pastors overlooked?
Issue #3. Partnering with other churches.
The third issue was that it didn’t occur to the pastors that they should work with other churches in the neighborhood. Why would they assume that they were operating in a vacuum of churches? The church planting team could realize that a church that is effectively reaching the community could use some help in starting a new ministry. The church could provide support, meeting space, and positive community identity for the new ministry. Or there could be a church that is struggling and needs an infusion of help to keep its doors open and become a blessing in the community. Finally, the pastors neglected to explore how a coalition of churches could better work together to start a new church than alone. A key to starting a church is partnering with existing churches.
This post concludes the series. Remember to start with a healthy core group, assume that people who are similar to you are more likely to be attracted to your church, and that church plants should considering partnering with existing churches.