August 1, 2018

Whiteboard Wednesday: Why Plant a Church?

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This edition of Whiteboard Wednesday is a reprise of a popular episode! We hope you enjoy this power post from the recent past.

Season 5 is coming on the Wednesday after Labor Day!

It goes without saying that church planting leads to new congregations. But planting can also spark renewal and revival for the established sending churches, too.

On this week’s Whiteboard Wednesday, Rev. Greg Brower of Zion Reformed Church shares the story of how his own congregation was transformed as it planted several new churches across the region.

After Zion Reformed Church’s “heyday” in the 1970s and 80s, the congregation went through seasons of decline and plateau — but since the church took the opportunity to plant about four years ago, Greg could identify three distinct ways his church has changed and grown: 

1. A return to the “nuts and bolts” of church ministry.

Church planting brought Zion back to the basics. While Zion guided the plant as it established its ministry processes, leaders realized how much their own existing processes could be improved.

Zion revamped its children’s ministries and the way they welcomed visitors, and they empowered volunteers and leaders to speak into the way the church was run.

2. A renewed focus on mission over maintenance.

As a church matures and expands, it becomes easier to expend energy worrying about programs and budgets. But as Zion worked with church plants, they saw that their simpler budgets and programs let the plants focus much more on the mission of making new disciples.

Today, Zion is a more innovative church. The leaders are free to challenge the status quo.

With a renewed focus on mission, they don’t have to maintain programs and ministries that no longer fit with their vision and values.

3. An emphasis on “evangelism growth” rather than “transfer growth”.

Most of the new attendees at Zion were transferring from other churches because of dissatisfaction — and current members were leaving for the same reasons. Leaders noticed a lot of movement, but not a lot of new kingdom growth.

As the congregation supported and celebrated the adult baptisms taking place in the church plants, they became more excited about evangelism. There was a renewed imagination for the way things could be at Zion.

Today, more and more young families, children and non-Christians are attending services and establishing themselves in the church community!

Church planting can be scary, risky… and extremely rewarding! It can also breathe new life into established congregations.

Church planting renews clarity in the midst of complex programming, budgets, and competing priorities, and it returns the focus to the mission of the global church: to go into all of the world and make disciples of Jesus Christ.  

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