Church Planting Models

Church Planting Models

For many, when we talk about a “Church Planter”, they’ll conjure a particular image as to what that person might look like and wiring they might exhibit.  But while there are some common themes that run across all church planters, we’ve found that there’s no one cookie-cutter model for what a church planters look like.

If you’re exploring the idea of planting, or you’re leading a church that’s trying to move towards planting, below are some resources to help you think into what possibilities there are to plant or multiply so as to best reach the lost with the good news of Jesus.

OVERVIEW - Church Planting Models

To get started though, we’d suggest you take a listen to this quick podcast to get an overview of why this is such a key area to think through.  You can also see two talks below Derek did for the Perth Planting Conference on church planting models.

Church Planting Models - An Introduction

Church Planting Models - Implications

The first model is the one we most associate with church planting: the parachute or pioneer plant.  In this model, the planter or planting couple will have a location or a sub-culture in mind that has little Gospel witness.  They’ll move with few people, few resources, but a clean slate to work out what kind of Gospel Community they need to build to reach those they’re planting for.  This model is high-risk, takes a particular type of leader.

Listen to the podcast and get more resources on Pioneer/Parachute Planting here.

This model takes a core-group from the sending church, and begins a new church in a new location with that core-group, with the intent that they will generally become warmly independent of the sending church within a period of time, or when they’ve become self-sustaining. This model isn’t nearly as high-risk as a parachute plant because of the larger launch team it starts with, but the difference between this model and the multisite model is that this model begins with the intent of having an independent expression of ministry, and will one day become independent.

Listen to the podcast and get more resources on Mother-Daughter Planting here.

While similar to the mother-daughter model, there are a number of key differences. The key difference the multisite model has is that it launches as part of the sending church, and the infrastructure that’s put in place is built to leverage and reinforce that strength. One church, multiple locations. That is, the multisite uses a hub and spoke model to leverage the infrastructure and proven DNA of the hub church, to take the load off the church plant for administration and systems. Not having to reinvent the wheel, but allowing them to focus on rolling out the mission of the sending church in the area they plan with little contextualization needed. When setup, Multisite churches have the ability to replicate church plants faster than other models often with less risk, but because of the complex nature of setting up and managing a multisite model, it can take longer for the church as a whole to get setup. Multisite models are low-risk, but take significant preparation and intentionality before rolling out.

Listen to the podcast and get more resources on Multisite planning from a Network perspective here and from a Campus perspective here.

In and of itself, it can probably fit within any of the above models but is worth identifying separately as there are particular challenges in planting churches in hard places, and it takes a particular commitment from both the sending church and a particular type of church planter. When we say “Hard Places” we want to recognise that there’s no easy place to do church or plant a church, this is just a term that we’ve grabbed from Mez McConnell in Scotland whereby he’s referring to lower-socioeconomic areas that often have greater, systemic social issues, and aren’t as well resourced as other middle-class areas. We’ll come back to this more in the second talk, but it’s important enough – and is an area that’s often neglected – that it’s worth identifying how we plant churches in these hard places.

Listen to the podcast and get more resources  on Church in Hard Places here.

Bi-Vocational planting is often (although not exclusively) synonymous with parachute/pioneer planting. This type of planter will often move to an area they’re seeking to reach and plant in, and for either financial and/or missional reasons, split their time between work and building their plant.

Listen to the podcast and get more resources on Bi-Vocational Planting here.

While not technically a church planting model, we need to consider the area of revitalisations. With the attendance at church having shrunk over the past 30 years, and 50% of churches across Australia having less than 50 people in them, we have an increasing number of churches that need a Gospel-awakening. That is, a reminder and a re-energisation of why they were first planted, and a leader to help them through that transition. This is the great challenge of many denominations.

Listen to the Podcast and get more resources on Revitalising Churches here.


Towards Me Exploring Planting

If you’re just dipping your toe into the water with planting, we’ve designed a 20-minute online Gospel Worker competency assessment which will also help you explore which types of church planting models you might be suited towards.  Click here to do this online assessment, and once completed we’ll organise a follow-up call to talk it through.

If you’d like to explore a full assessment with Geneva Push, click here for more information and to begin the process.

Towards Me Preparing My Church

If you’re currently leading a church and want to have a conversation about what it will look like to prepare your church for multiplication and what the options are, email Derek here and we’ll organise a time to discuss next steps.