I get a lot of email from church planters/prospective church planters. It's been a really busy couple of months and I've been filing them in a folder to answer later. But then I dropped my PowerBook... So, after spending a couple hours Saturday sifting through the 1300+ emails I was able to recover from the server (from March on), I am committing to getting back to some of these. I'll answer here so we can all help, eh? Kenny writes:
Hey Bob, I just read your article on the ooze. I wanted to tell you how much it blessed and encouraged me. I'm a 23 year old seminary student at Southern Seminary in Louisville Ky. This is my first year and I recently graduated from Campbellsville Univesity in Ky with a bachelors in Educational Christian Ministry. My heart is no doubt in Revival and Evangelism. Though seminary is cool and all it's actually been a very burdensome time for me here.
Sometimes this place seems like the walking dead. But beyond that God has really been laying a lot of stuff on my heart about church planting. I recently found out that Georgia is 85% unchurched and thats been on my heart a lot. I've been talking to people about it a lot and been thinking about it. I've preach for a while now and I know the need for relevancy and a genuine move of God. I see the revolution going on and I can see how God is moving. do you know of any suggestions tips organzations etc. taht maybe i can get hooked up with. Thanks man Preciate the Encouragement Kenny
In terms of organizations, my first tip (and others are free to disagree!) would be to plant without one. Get connected with other pastors in the area for emotional/professional encouragement. Organizations offer money, but with that money comes strings. If you are planting in an area where you have ties/connections, all you really need is a core group of people committed to community and committed to giving. Start small, go simple on equipment, focus on creating family rather than spectacle and things will come together.
My (limited) experience with church planting organizations is that they really won't commit to helping you until you have that core group of people, have demonstrated stability and some "stickiness" , at which point, I wonder if they are really needed.
All that being said, there are some organizations out there to check out. Probably most are regional, so you should ask around for those working in the area in which you want to plant. If you are down with where they are at theologically, check out Acts 29. They are a good group of church planters committed to biblically sound, relevant and missional church planting. We didn't end up affiliting with them over the issue of women in leadership, but for some that's less of an issue...
Also- check out the forums at NextChurch Network... I've allowed them to go a bit dormant, but I'm going to do my best to be a presence there again and create some good community for church planers/potential church planters...
Who else can we point Kenny towards?