Howdy. Thanks for coming back for more of our handy updates and encouragements to assist your church plant.

This month's Planter Session involved two members of Adelaide's Trinity Network of churches, discussing the relationships and processes of Mother-Daughter church plants. Paul Harrington and Clayton Fopp have a collected 35 years of experience with church planting, and their full “Lessons from Mother-Daugher Church Planting” conversation with Al Stewart can be found here.

Paul and Clayton shared a wealth of experience and wisdom about how a mother church can prepare for, send out, and support a daughter church. As Clayton summarised by quoting North American Mission Board member Richard Harris: “Besides God himself, the greatest resource for church planting is the mother church.” 

You'll want to soak in their full Planter Session, covering a wealth of topics from “incubation” periods, to money and accountability. To give you an idea of what's offered by checking out Lessons From Mother-Daughter Church Planting, below are three key principles for

1. Choose The DNA You Want to Transplant

“When the mother church is healthy, the mother-daughter church planting model allows good, healthy DNA to be easily transplanted into the daughter church.” But which DNA? That's what the daughter church needs to consider and answer. Clayton suggested “First Level things”, including Jesus' uniqueness and the centrality of word ministry. But what about the second, third or fourth levels of church composition? Once the daughter church plant that Clayton leads had decided what it wanted to “transplant”, they spent months teaching, training and sharing this selected DNA with committed members of the plant. 


2. Choose Everything Else Based Upon Your Mission

Having chosen essential DNA from the mother church, Clayton advises that the next key principle should be to carve out components that are specific to the daughter church and its area. “What is going to connect with the people you are trying to reach with the gospel?” asks Clayton. Thinking through this kind of question invites those in the leadership of the daughter church, to think like a non-Christian. To not merely do things at the daughter church out of tradition or because it worked at the mother church. To assist with this, Clayton had key members of his church plant sent out to “secular churches”, such as pubs, TABs or IKEA. The experience of visiting unfamiliar environments – feeling like a newcomer and outsider – helped the daughter church to better consider how it might break down barriers to the unchurched visitor.


3. You Always Plant Twice

Clayton and Paul advocate for the mother church to continue to foster a culture of sending out church planters. While this third key principle has been harder to sustain in the Trinity Network than the first two principles, Clayton and Paul are eager to not limit the impact of church planting to those who are sent to the daughter church. “Planting puts mission and evangelism very much on the agenda for the (mother) church,” says Clayton. That emphasis can be sustained beyond the planting of the daughter church if those in the mother church are inspired to think “what next?” Where will our next daughter church be planted?


For the full Planter Session on “Lesons From Mother-Daughter Church Planting”, click here.

Click here to register for our next Planter Session: The A-Z of Assessment.


– Ed.