- Meet local needs through relationship and in community (rather than through one-size-fits all formal and impersonal programs)
- Ministers holistically to actively meet spiritual, emotional, relational, and physical needs (and not putting a temporary “band-aid” on only addressing short-term physical or financial needs)
- Provide biblical solutions to everyday problems (and not “value neutral” or strictly pragmatic solutions)
- Utilize the division of labor that comes from the various giftings and ages of people who work together for a common cause (and not individuals working on their own or groups that are tightly age focused)
- Use the motivation that comes from people who voluntarily give time and finances to helping others (rather than the State using its power to gather “contributions” to meet a need)
- Are locally developed and led (rather than local people following rules written in some distant capital city by people of unknown character, motivation, and values)
What about reaching a new Community? The church is still the solution, do you partner with existing churches or start new?
- When to partner with existing local churches or other organizations:
- If the local culture is different from your own. You need to find a healthy church and serve from within to learn the culture and gain credibility. This is especially true internationally, but also may be true locally if you are targeting a population that is of a different culture.
- Consider a merger when a local church is lacking enough local leadership, but still has key resources like people or property to re-launch a new church.
- Consider a partnership with specialized organizations that are assisting churches to better reach their own communities.
- When to start a new church:
- If you have proven ministry effectiveness through starting a church, small groups, or developing a church in a similar culture as the target new community. If you don’t have this experience, you should probably get it before attempting something bigger.
- When there is no similar church already reaching the community. There are plenty of communities without similar churches, find the one that most needs a church like the one you would start.
The bottleneck to getting new churches started: not financial limitations, but qualified leadership. We’re overcoming this through putting key resources into identifying, selecting, and training potential leaders in new churches and giving them:
- Semester long internships where they serve and learn fifteen hours each week with coaching from a staff mentor.
- Academic training (a two-year accredited master of arts degree in theological studies) including scholarships for half of the tuition costs.
- Networking with other churches with similar vision so that when we plant a church in a new community, the network provides the resources to start with a broad base of experienced staff, members, and initial financing to start strong in a community.