An Exciting Future for Church Planting

The three phases of churches planting churches.

It seems for the last four decades or so, church communities have been talking about planting other churches. But much of that time was spent talking without taking action. The difference today is that people are actually walking out the talk. In other words, we’ve moved beyond just the idea of planting churches to actually doing it.

I would like to frame what has and is taking shape with regards to churches planting churches in three phases.

The first is the aspirational phase.

Some churches like to think about church planting. Denominations aspire to encourage churches to plant churches, but often are surprised when they do.

Actually, that’s an ironic part of my own church planting story.

Almost two decades ago, I planted Millcreek Community Church in Erie, Pennsylvania. While in basic training, I remember being told by my denomination that we needed to not only plant our church but also new daughter churches. Thinking this was normal operation, I believed them and that’s what we did.

At the time, and based on our geography, we were isolated and distant from other churches in our denomination. In fact, the nearest viable sister church was two hours away. I assumed that we all would plant a daughter church, since that’s what we were told to do.

But I later found out that most churches and denominations only aspire for church plants to start new churches.

So, ironically, people in our denominational leadership were kind of surprised that we’d followed through on planting daughter churches. One of them told me that they often tell church planters to plant daughter churches, but they are typically a one-and-done kind of church.

Given that we were far from other churches in our denomination, we did not …

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