Recently, I’ve observed an increase in church plants in my city. I can’t say whether this is an increase over previous years, but new church plants are becoming savvier with social media so maybe I’m just noticing them more. I’ve also noticed more Americans coming to Canada to plant churches, and although they can’t bear sole blame, new starts still use old paradigms of church planting.

What are features of old paradigm church planting?

  • “Build it (have it) and they will come” mentality.
  • Centre function around the Sunday service.
  • Rely on preaching and Bible studies as evangelism tools.
  • Remain hierarchical in leadership structure.
  • Treat attractional events as relationships.
  • Send Lone Ranger planters.
  • Require full-time salaried leadership.
  • Do little contextual analysis of the city before starting.
  • Are rigid in theological convictions.
  • Measure success in a modified ABCs; have a service, then attendance to that service, and cash made from service.
  • Connect only by denominational boundaries.

Whereas church planting in a new paradigm specific to a post-Christian context would include (but not limited to):

  • Incarnational ministry based on geography (presence).
  • Increased value of space and neighborhood.
  • Built for longevity (in excess of 2 years, upwards of 10).
  • Are not primarily attractional, are primarily relational.
  • Are decentralized in leadership structure.
  • Don’t have a “come and see” mentality, rather a “go and become” mission.
  • Translate Gospel in a language outsiders can connect with versus having outsiders do the translation.
  • Don’t rely on a Sunday service (nor music or preaching for that matter).
  • Are sent in teams to neighborhoods.
  • Are or seek to be bi-vocational.
  • Live in the neighborhoods before launching a “church”.
  • Measure success in life on life transformations (discipleship).
  • Collaborate with like-minds who better the neighborhood.

The list isn’t exhaustive by any means. Do you have any additions? In the next post I will share an anecdote about two church plants, one with old that fails, and one with new paradigm that succeeds.