Church planting can appear overwhelming. Of all the activities that a church knows how to do, planting can seem un-doable. Isolated activities can serve good in the church, but building culture strengthens a church’s ability to impact and multiply the work. I want to encourage churches to refuse to be content to entertain activity, but press in to build a culture that multiplies mission. Take time to invest in building a culture of church planting among your church.
Culture gets determined by what defines normality. You know something is part of your culture when people accept it as "normal." Building a culture of church planting is simpler than it may at first appear. I want to encourage four simple priorities that enable a church to build a culture of church planting.
First, prioritize praying for church plants, planters and the work of planting. Prayer is the first labor in all Kingdom work. No matter what you do, if you fail to pray, your work can only amount to your ability and not a move of God’s Spirit. Prayer for church plants prioritizes the importance of gospel labors.
Church planters are dying for more prayer. I receive prayer cards from a partner organization each quarter. I pass them out to our people, ask them to adopt that planter for 1-3 months, write a note of encouragement and pray for them at least once a week. I encourage them to contact the planters to ask for any needs or requests, then to share the responses with their Community Group for prayer. I know this process begins as important because “the pastor asked us to do it”. But priorities result from training, and my role is to equip our people.
People pray over what is most important to them. Prayer raises the priority of church planting as a gospel labor. Prayer also softens the hearts of people when requests become personal. The more you pray, the more planting will become a priority. The more planting is a priority, the more your people will pray. Prayer cultivates church planting.
Second, give money to a church plant or planter. Every church plant needs money. Many churches hesitate to give to a church plant because they want to see if it will survive. I guarantee the plant won’t survive if no one gives. Every dollar invested in church planting matters, but not every dollar will produce the same return. A regular discipline of giving doesn’t guarantee success, but it does encourage the church plant to excel in mission. Giving to a church plant resources Kingdom mission.
Giving, though, produces an even greater impact. The church plant serves and ministers in greater ways from partner support. But when the sponsor church sees that their dollars are making a difference, it multiplies spiritual fruit among them as well. People give money to things that matter, and giving money makes things matter more to people. “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matt 6:21) Give monthly or quarterly so regular giving can provide regular reminders. No matter how much you can give, give it. Watch God do great things through your giving. Watch God do great things in your givers.
Third, foster a conversation about church planting. If you want to give your people something to talk about, expose them to church planters. Church planters are notorious for creating something to talk about. And usually, it’s good. This sounds so simple yet happens so little. If you want your church to get excited or become passionate about church planting, host a planter to speak to them. Invite them to tell their stories, hear their struggles, shake their hand and meet their families. When people fall in love with planters, planting will become a personal matter. Personal matters are what people want to talk about. Talking about and hearing from church planters fosters a conversation that encourages church planting.
Fourth, celebrate church planting regularly in the church. When you foster a conversation about planting, it becomes easy to bring celebration from the chatter. No one church can do everything, but all churches can do something. That something that you can do will very likely be something that a planter can’t do. Celebrate what you can do in church planting, and Jesus will enable you to do more and greater things. Celebrate what you are doing in planting and point your people to see all that Jesus is doing in them, too. Take time to celebrate church planting among your people. Celebration helps us pause to recognize and praise the One, Jesus, who works in us so He can work through us.
Building a culture of church planting begins by making it personal to your people. When planting becomes personal, your people will pray for it, give to it, talk about it and celebrate it. These priorities will build a culture of planting in your church. When a culture of planting emerges, your biggest challenge will become where to plant next.