Saturday 29th of May 2010 | Posted by Dave Taylor Patience, Pace, and Church Planting (Part 3)
Okay, back to this topic of governors.
A governor is a device that regulates the speed of something. For example, when NASCAR began to realize that their cars were increasing in speed year by year, and this was making accidents more common and more serious, they instituted what was dubbed “the car of the future.” The car of the future was essentially the car of the present with some design modifications that effectively regulated the top-end speed of all the cars in the same way. These modifications served as “governors” on how fast stock cars could go.
What’s interesting is that the purpose of the car of the future was to go slower than what technology could ultimately allow. Other values besides speed were important to NASCAR, so speed was sacrificed so those values (safety, protection of drivers, competition) could be promoted.
Sovereign Grace church planting has governors on the engine of our growth. They help determine the speed of our growth so we can move forward toward the finish line. The next governor I want to discuss is having the right resources. Governors in Church Planting2: The Right Resources
This means the right guy with the right stuff is not enough. We need to send him with the right resources. How many people are needed for a successful church planting team? How much up-front cash does a church plant need to get off the ground? What does care look like for the planter after the planting? These are resource questions where wise church planting joins clear strategy. The bottom line? A viable church plant is possible when the right guy is given the right resources for the right needs in the right location.
There seems to be a growing consensus among church-planting movements that a viable church planting team needs to be around 30 to 50 core people. By core we mean people who are committed to both the work and the sacrifices necessary to get a church off the ground. Bigger teams may be attractive, but they’re not always better. If bigger means folks who are coming with their own agendas or self-seeking desires, then run for the hills ’cause you’re planting a weed, not a church. Also, some types of plants—cross-cultural for instance—are better served with smaller teams of experienced or knowledgeable folks.
Likewise, financial investment is subject to the church plant situation. Planting in some urban areas is an experience of sticker shock; everything from meeting space to cost of living is more—actually, much more. And the process of people moving from happy attendees to faithful givers can be unpredictable. So there is a lot of diversity in the church-planting world over the question of how to fund church plants.
In Sovereign Grace we operate with a few basic principles:
• We want a church planter to be focused on planting and establishing a gospel-centered church, not building a funding base. We have found that where a proven man is free to focus on building the church, the Lord’s provision will usually move a plant quickly from outside funding to self-sustainability. And what gets fostered in the process is a spirit of gratefulness and shared mission in the plant, because both the planter and the team recognize the financial commitment of the broader family of churches to help them get established.
• We want a plurality of leaders as quickly as possible. The ultimate goal, where possible, is a plurality of full-time elders. However, until the church is financially capable, we have provisional pluralities made up of lay leaders with proven gifts and character. But a low-risk church plant can actually get extra money to speed a plurality of elders on its way.
• We see financial resourcing as part of our shared partnership in the plant. If you talk to most of our church planters, one of their hopes is to be able to say to Sovereign Grace Ministries, “Thank you for your commitment to us. We’d now like to make a commitment to future church planting through our giving to the mission.” While this transition from receiving to giving doesn’t take place the same way for all church plants, it is a vision that Sovereign Grace church planters hold dear and endeavor to build into their new churches.
The right resources are an important governor in Sovereign Grace church planting, because church planting isn’t merely a growth strategy. It’s a commitment, both to people who are sending and people who are going, that we will do everything we can to make sure a church plant not only survives, but thrives as a faithful expression of the gospel. It takes longer to start stronger. We get that. But we’re in it for the long haul.
leads international expansion and church planting for Sovereign Grace Ministries and is based in Glen Mills, Pennsylvania. For more information about the Sovereign Grace church-planting process, click here.Send Comment | Share on Facebook