First Things First
What came first, the chicken or the egg? I haven’t cracked this age-old riddle just yet. But a similar question I have a little more insight on is: What comes first, disciples or a church? In my mind, disciples do. Church planter, please don’t mix up the order of those two. First focus on making disciples who make disciples. Out of those efforts a church with reproduction in its DNA will form.
While the goal of planting a new church is to make disciples, many church planters end up disappointed when all their efforts to get a church off the ground don’t yield passionate, reproducing followers of Jesus. That may be because they put the cart before the horse; it’s a common symptom of focusing first on starting a church service, and then later trying to retrofit disciple making into their ministry.
At Passion for Planting, we want to come alongside church planters to help them focus on the right things at the right time. That’s why nearly a decade ago we developed our PlanterPlan project management software that gives church planters a step-by-step guide to planting a multiplying church. We recently updated its content, so now the tool that’s helped start over a thousand churches is even better. Get your free account today and start your journey towards planting a healthy multiplying church.
While we wish we could say PlanterPlan is the key to planting a reproducing church, it’s not. Jesus is. He promised to build his church and he’s doing this through all of his followers. All the tools and resources we offer in PlanterPlan and this newsletter have been developed to help you hear God’s voice and invite others to join you in this journey. We need to do our part (pray, prepare, plan), so God can do his part. Thanks for answering his call to go and make disciples. We’re blessed to be able to serve you.
-Patrick Bradley, Director of Operations
March 2021 – Contents
- Launch Stronger – Our New Free eBook
- Starting a Discipleship Group – A Free Guide
- Foundations – Virtual Church Planting Training
- Exponential Espanol – Resources for Spanish Speakers
In 1993, Brett Andrews and a few friends started New Life Christian Church with the vision of being a church-planting church. This young and small church in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. committed themselves to the mission of planting new churches because they believed it was the best way to reach the lost with the gospel.
They still believe this. In the last few years, however, the leaders of New Life have observed that while they’d seen success in planting new churches, they weren’t being as successful in making disciples of Jesus. They produced new churches, but disciples who were reproducing themselves and living as deployed ambassadors for King Jesus were few and far between. In Launch Stronger, three of New Life’s leaders reflect upon the lessons they’ve learned while planting hundreds of churches over the last twenty years. They offer solutions for how local congregations can renew their vision and strategy for obeying Jesus’ command to make disciples of all nations. Download your free copy today! You can also buy a paperback or Kindle version here.
Starting a Discipleship Group
If you’re going to plant a church out of your efforts of making disciples it will help to have a simple and reproducible plan for helping people explore who Jesus is and take next steps in their relationship with him. Don’t just wing it. Lead your disciples in a way that they can later lead others.
While there are many different discipleship methods you could use, don’t be tempted to choose shooting from the hip. Don’t make up your plan as you go. Have some structure to what you want to train your disciples with, and then train them. Dr. Bobby Harrington’s free ebook How To Start 3 Types of Discipleship Groups Using The Teachings of Jesus can help you do just that. After leading your group with the help of this guide, pass this resource along to them, and encourage them to start and lead a group themselves.
Proverbs 15:22 reminds us, “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed,” (NIV). If you are sensing God’s call to plant a church, don’t pursue that calling alone. Seek wise counsel at every stage of your journey, whether you’re still wrestling with your calling or in the throes of church planting ministry. At every stage of the game, a church planter must be growing as a leader and learning from others who have gone before them.
If you’re looking for a training opportunity to help you develop yourself and bolster your church planting toolbox, consider taking advantage of our Foundations training. It’s a one-day virtual training experience geared to introduce leaders to foundational practices and principles of church planting ministry. The next one will be streaming live April 13th. For more information and to learn how to sign up visit: Foundations.
For over a decade Exponential has been producing resources to help church leaders to multiply disciples, leaders, and churches. A few years ago a handful of Latino leaders saw the need to take Exponential’s resources and make them accessible to Spanish-speaking leaders. What developed as a result of these leaders’ vision was Exponential Español, which exists to equip and support hispanic pastors to lead healthy reproducing churches. They also want to help English-speaking churches grow in their ability to connect with, engage, and reach their Latino neighbors with the gospel.
To access their free resources and to learn more about how they’re equipping leaders to lead multiplying churches, visit their website multiplicacion.org. They have an online conference coming up May 14th-15th. They’d love to connect with you there.
Featured photo by Daniel Tuttle from Unsplash.com.