No More Cookie Cutter Churches
This weeks gathering of church planters from around the country has wrapped up and everyone has gone back home to put their shoulder to the wheel after a few days out of the fray connecting with other pioneers. There’s a few things I learned about what is happening at the front line of church planting in Baptist churches throughout Australia.
- No More Cookie Cutter Church Plants
The sheer diversity of what kind of churches are being planted was mind blowing. New Baptist church plants these days are highly contextualised to particular communities. Some are of a more generalised nature and others are highly specialised.
- No More Useless Buildings
Those new church plants that do plan to build have plans for buildings that meet certain needs in the community or attract specific people networks within society. These range from churches based in cafe’s to churches that build performing arts centres and everything in between.
- All Shapes & Sizes & Ages
Church planters can be young, old, not so old, thin, average, fit, larger boned, etc. There is no cookie cutter person planting churches. Obviously lots of younger leaders are keen to plant new expressions of church but the awakening of the church to the growth of the kingdom through church planting is happening across the board.
- Putting Money Where Your Mouth Is
Our State denominations are providing funding for church plants, church planting coaches and in some cases property and buildings. Each State church planting rep sits on our Crossover Taskforce, and they all do a fantastic job of supporting church planters and as catalysts to more churches being planted.
- No More Maverick Please
Church planters are often called ‘mavericks’. They are actually pioneers and can be hurt by the rather dismissive term which suggests they are reckless or wild. Church planting is a complicated and costly exercise on behalf of church planters, filled with risk and faith. We do them a disservice when we use terms which in effect are derogatory. They certainly don’t fit the ‘norm’. Lets pray that one day it IS the norm!
- Keep Your Believers Thank You
The church planters we connected with are NOT interested in attracting believers away from other churches. Rather, they want to plant churches amongst unbelievers and disciple them into missionaries. Adding believers to a new church plant can often retard the missional growth of a church plant which can easily be consumed by the demands of meeting the needs of believers.
- Large Churches Are Getting Generous
Large churches are increasingly seeing their size as leverage which they can use to send people out and plant other churches. Some of this happens through ‘campus’ churches (which can often be about brand extension rather than genuine church planting), or by planting churches that are independent. Fat churches are thinning down intentionally.
- The Movement Will Grow
This current phenomenon of Baptist churches planting creative and contextual new church plants can only grow exponentially. Much care is being taken to ensure church plants will in turn plant churches, and that these new churches will preserve this critical DNA rather than end up being a wave of new church plants.
If you attended the gathering what would you add to the above, and even if you didn’t, what are you seeing around Australia in terms of church planting?