Once a church has been launched, the sending church will have to fight hard against “out of sight, out of mind” thinking. It is very important that the sending church continue to care for the new plant. There is a high correlation between the success rate of a church plant and the close connectivity to the sending church. Ongoing encouragement needs to be expressed by the sending church for the plant until it is healthy enough to reproduce itself in parenting a church plant of its own. We want to do everything we can to help churches develop a healthy dynamic between sending churches and church plants. The following is an initial list of ways we may encourage this important relationship:
Shepherding & Mentoring – As the church planting team goes out and experiences the God-ordained challenges of ministry, they need to be served, encouraged, and prayed for. This is made keenly apparent in crisis situations.
Barnabas Teams – Barnabas Teams for the planting church are those who gather consistently to pray and send encouragement to the plant.
Visits – The sending church leaders should plan 2 to 3 trips a year to the planting church to keep a healthy relationship intact.
Financial Accountability, Disclosure & Counseling – Finances within the church can lead to many stresses, accusations, and changes in ministry philosophy. The church plant should continually seek advice from and disclose financial information to the sending church that is investing heavily in the plant. This should be always followed as a principle of accountability (from both a personal and church standpoint).
Speaking (sharing pulpits) – Trading pulpits, having the planter speak at the sending church, sending church pastors to speak at the church plant, and asking other pastors in Movement to speak at the plant are great ways to imprint the young church with a Movement mentality as well as to keep people in the sending church connected to the plant.
Summer Projects – Sending teams representing various churches within the Movement will serve to expose emerging leaders to church planting and can provide some great encouragement to the new plant.
Sending of People – As the plant gets going, sending key ”people resources” at strategic times can help a plant tremendously in navigating unchartered waters. There is a great precedence set in the book of Acts for this (i.e., Paul joining Barnabas in Antioch, Acts 11:22-26). Key body parts at key moments can yield incredible fruit.