4 Reasons Established Churches Should Partner with Church Planters

Sometimes established churches view new churches that are being started by church planters as competition. In their mind, “there are already churches, why would someone want to start more?” Not only should established church want new churches to be started, they should partner with church planters in support of new churches being started. Here are 4 reasons why.

1- It is sometimes easier to start a new church than it is to revitalize a dying church.

Revitalizing a dying and declining church is difficult. Typically the church is dying and declining for a reason, and the church is resistant to making the necessary changes for turning things around. There are sacred cows to tiptoe around, traditions that can’t be touched, and people who cling to their programs and positions. At times these churches have gained a reputation in the community for not reaching out to others, for bickering, or being stuck in past traditions. These realities make revitalization difficult.

While starting a new church certainly has challenges, they usually do not stand in the way of reaching people.

2- The unchurched in our communities are more likely to attend a new church than an established church.

This is primarily due to the fact that, in the mind of the unchurched, the established church has done very little to minister to them. New churches are usually very focused on community outreach, evangelism, and growth. As a result, those in the community see the new church as a new opportunity. There is a curiosity surrounding new churches that established churches simply do not garner.

3- There are plenty of people to be reached.

The truth is that established churches are not reaching everyone, nor can they. New churches need to be started because more people need to be reached. It really is that simple.

4- Partnering with a church planter can help turn an established church’s focus outward.

It is easy for the focus of established churches to turn inward over time. One great way to remedy that wrong focus is to partner with church planters who are focused on reaching the community for Christ. This kind of partnership can help those in the established church see the need that exists, it can remind them what outreach looks like, and can help renew their passion for outreach.

I believe that established churches should actively pursue partnering with church planters – working with them to impact their communities for Christ. The opportunities are endless and the impact is eternal.

Why Pastors Should Focus on Building People, Not Churches

For many years the unwritten church model was one that was based on the personality of the pastor.  In this model the pastor was promoted and was the foundation of the church.  If the pastor left the church, that church would many times struggle to move on.  This is still the design in many churches.  Pastors are kings and dictators instead of shepherds.  This is not in line with the biblical model of the church.

There is also the church model that is focused on building programs.  Success in this type of ministry is dependent upon the number and size of programs that the church is able to maintain.  If there is a need, the solution is usually to start another program.  This too does not line up with the church model as presented in Scripture.

In the mid 90’s Rick Warren published The Purpose Driven Church.  And while there are many useful principles in this book, I still believe it is missing the point.  It sounds good to say that the church needs to be focused on a single purpose, and that the purpose needs to dictate the programs of the church.  But what that purpose is or should be is never outlined.  Building behind a certain purpose may make for a solid business plan, but I’m not convinced it is the correct model for the church.

I propose a fourth option.  It is a church model that is focused on building people, not churches.  It is a model that focuses on building people instead of pastors, purposes, or programs.  In one word, the biblical church model is one of discipleship.  I plan to write on this topic much more in the weeks to come, but until then, give it some thought.  What is the biblical church model?  I believe that as you search Scripture you will find that it is a model that is focused on building people, not churches.