This article is part of the series "In for the Long Haul," describing Orchard Group's commitment to back church planters as they establish churches in cities.
More than 150 years ago, after decades of church planting and missions work, leaders from missions societies on two continents understood clearly that they didn't want to merely launch new churches, but to establish new churches. They worked together to combine their experience and research in order to answer the question: What are the core traits of a church plant that endures over the long haul?
Their research identified three principles. A lasting, flourishing church plant:
- develops its own leaders
- becomes capable of providing for its own financial needs
- works to reproduce more churches
The first two are more obvious. After all, they could be applied to almost any organization. The third, however, is more unique: a church that endures over the long haul is a church that works to reproduce itself.
Instilling the Value
At Orchard Group, we desire for all of the church plants that we serve to multiply beyond their own congregations. At the same time, we recognize that multiplication takes time and wisdom to implement well. Even if an organization is technically capable of reproduction, it might not always be the wisest or best time to do so. So how do we strike the balance?
First, we work to instill the value of church multiplication from the beginning. In some of the first conversations we have with church planters, we talk about systematically working toward becoming a church that starts new churches. For example, from day one, all Orchard Group church plants give away a portion of their internal tithes and offerings. The goal is that this generosity value catches on with the people of the congregation. And most of the time it does. In fact, the typical Orchard Group church plant has given away more by its tenth birthday than it received to get started.
Church multiplication extends beyond finances. Leaders at Renaissance Church in Harlem, Renewal Church in Chicago, City Church in Lagos, and too many others to list also serve with their time and expertise. They are coaching new church planters. They are advocating with other regional churches on behalf of the mission of church planting. They are serving cohorts of the next generation of planters in their cities through training incubators. They are providing pastoral residencies for new leaders to practice and learn in practical, real-world environments. This kind of thing is happening in cities all over the country and around the world. And it’s due to the value of multiplying churches to the places that remain under-churched.
Churches Planting Churches
We want to plant churches where they are needed, yes. But even more than that, we want to plant churches that mature into churches that plant more churches where they are needed. These are the kind of churches that endure for the long haul – churches that are self-governing, sustaining, and multiplying!
- Download the white paper that describes our four church planting distinctives.
- Learn more by getting an overview of our process.
- Sign up to receive monthly prayer ministry updates. Would you join us in praying even now that churches established by Orchard Group would multiply, allowing more and more people the opportunity to encounter Jesus?