One of the great joys of my job is seeing existing churches commit to becoming involved in planting a new church. Partnering to plant can and should be an exciting aspect in the life of any church. However, the excitement usually comes with a very practical question: What does it take to be a good partnering church? I would offer three practical elements, based on my observations from being on the field, that can help your church be a good partnering church.
Element #1: Prayer
Almost without exception, when I ask church planters or people in the process of planting, the first thing they ask for from a partnering church is prayer. Although we often overlook the importance of prayer, church planters do not. If you want to partner in an essential way with a church plant or planter I encourage you to enter into a prayer partnership before you do anything else. This will involve many people in your church, it will help you share in the vision of the new church and it will unleash God’s power in a tremendous way.
Element #2: Provision
Money is one of those subjects that seem to create tension any time it comes up. The fact is that planting churches in many places requires money and resources. One of the key ways your church can partner with a new church plant or planter is by helping resource the vision God has given the church. This provision could come in the way of planter support, evangelism ministries, technical needs or a host of other areas. Like prayer, giving is something in which everyone in your church can participate.
Element #3: People
Mission trips are not new in most churches. However, mission trips that build into a greater vision and strategy are somewhat new to many churches. Engaging people for one week each year can be beneficial to the church and to the church plant, but often times if that is the extent of the engagement, it is not beneficial. Sending people is essential; yet, how and when you send is equally important. Work with the church planter and be disciplined to send teams or individuals when and where they are needed. If possible, give the planter a clean whiteboard to share his vision of needed human resources and then fit your mission mobilization to help meet that vision. This may require one-week teams or weekend trips by a few. A longer internship or long-term person or couple called to help with the plant may be necessary. The key is to be open to God’s leading.
If you are interested in partnering with a church plant, contact the Office of Great Commission Partnerships at 800.395.5102 ext. 5654 or [email protected] for more information.