In terms of the Great Commission, we have a Christian duty to share Christ with the world. That duty involves the sacrament of baptism and the Christian process of discipleship within worshipping and gathered Christian communities. It is in this sense that we stand within a historical Church that has found its expression in locally gathered communities of faith who find their local vocation in mission and ministry.
Within the context of the Diocese of Toronto that Commission is presently expressed in a number of key ways that are directly related to the changing demographics of our Diocesan context.
- Firstly we find ourselves with mushrooming suburbs that have an increasing need for new worshipping communities and appropriate facilities to meet that need.
- Secondly, we are experiencing urban regeneration in a post-Christian context where there are large numbers of un-churched people who are seeking a connection with dynamic and welcoming faith communities that provide them with the space to explore their own spirituality in a contemporary form that is historically rooted.
- Thirdly, the shifting demographics of both our urban and rural contexts requires a re-envision of our existing worshipping communities in a way that builds new and sustainable churches that better suit the changing mission and ministry required in these contexts.
Models of Church Planting
- Apostolic Model: A “cold start” with limited local preparation where a church planter is placed into a context to start a new church with few resources.
- Mother/Daughter Model: A “mother church” fulfilling its own sense of mission to plant a new church by sending out a minister with existing leadership to plant a new church.
- Diocesan Model: A Diocese (or deanery) supplies a church planting team and the resources to fulfill an existing vision and strategy.
- Cross-Cultural “Hosting” Model: An existing parish starts an ethnically distinct congregation using existing resources. This might develop into distinct church plant or an internal plant that brings renewal to an existing church within a changing demographic context.
- A Self-Start: A small group of existing Christians meet in a home or building for worship and grow a plant.
- A Satellite Launch: An existing church starts a series of satellite congregations which are defined as being very similar in character to the original congregation and relate directly to it. This existing church could serve as a destination or regional church with a number of related smaller worshipping communities.
- Ecumenical Model: Two or more congregations enter a partnership to start a new church that they will share. ECUSA
- Internal Church Plant: Church planting can be expressed in horticultural terms as runners, grafters, transplants, and seeds. An Internal Church Plant is an expression of a transplant where an internal church plant is used primarily to re-vitalize the mission and ministry of an existing congregation. Here a sustainable and growing church plants a mission-orientated congregation into an existing building by supplying ministry staff, leadership and a seeding congregation for renewed growth. The key to a healthy church plant is that a new congregation move as rapidly as possible to an equal partnership with its sponsoring church.
Church Planting Process or the Life-Cycle of a Church Plant
The church planting process into 7 guidelines:
- Recognition of the Episcopal oversight of ministry and mission
- Relating the Plant to a Strategy for Mission
- Initiating the Church Plant
- Consultation with Key Stakeholders
- Program for the Establishment of a Plant
- Establishing the Responsibility and Accountability for the Plant
The Church Planting process into Five Stages:
- Stage One — Planning and Sending a Missioner
- Stage Two — Gathering and Reaching a People for Christ
- Stage Three — Forming a Faith Community to Reach People for Christ
- Stage Four — The Church Plant is Given Canonical Status
- Stage Five — The Construction of a Permanent Building (if appropriate) ECUSA
Programs and Resources
- Church Plant Start-up Kit, by the Diocese of Toronto ‘s Bishop’s Church Plant Working Group
- The Dynamic Daughter Church Planting Handbook, by Paul Becker and Mark Williams (Oceanside: Dynamic Church Planting International, 1999)
- A book for potential mother-church pastors and leaders interested in starting churches, and those looking to sharpen their skills. It gives a biblical basis for planting a daughter church with answers to common questions, a six-step process for planting a daughter congregation with a timeline for the new church, strategies for recruit a church planter, and strategies to avoiding the common problems and barriers. It has an extensive appendix of checklists and forms.
- Planting Churches Cross-Culturally: North America and Beyond, by David Hesselgrave (Grand Rapids: Baker Books; 2000, 2nd ed. ISBN 0801022223)
- A standard textbook on planting churches cross-culturally that is critical of great evangelism campaigns of the nineteenth century that resulted in “decisions” without discipleship. The book covers the theology of how Paul did missions and evangelism that consists of a cycle of 10 movements that Paul went through to proclaim the gospel and to establish churches in all the areas he preached in.
- Transforming Our Nation: Empowering the Canadian Church for a Greater Harvest, by Murray Moerman (ed). ( Richmond , BC : Church Leadership Library, 1998. ISBN 0-9694564-2-5)
- A non-Anglican evangelical perspective.
- Mission-Shaped Church (London: Church House Publishing, 2003. ISBN 0715140132)
- A vision for the UK with a foreword by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, “a crucial tool for all who care about God’s mission today”. This detailed, practical and well-researched book gives an overview of recent developments in church planting, describes varied and exciting ‘fresh expressions’ of church, offers practical help and advice, looks candidly at where lessons can be learned, proposes a framework and methodology for good, effective church planting, includes recommendations to make possible the visions of a vibrant future Church. Each chapter has a set of questions and challenges to help local parish churches engage with the issues. With a foreword by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, Mission-Shaped Church is a crucial tool for all who care about God’s mission today.
church development, immigrant churches, worship, church, evangelism