Tuesday, February 1, 2011

What helps planters see faster growing churches?

Ben Arment in Church in the Making provides a good look at some  sociological factors that impact planting a new church. Ben argues that often the make or break factor is whether or not the planter has embedded themselves into existing social networks, can gather crowds through those network relationships, and understands the power of people groups. All good stuff.

I want to attach some reflection from our experiences to Ben's work around the person, the planter. When we look at the planters we work with, looking at those who are planting faster growing churches compared to those whose churches are growing more slowly, three items stand out.

1.  The planter's propensity to create action appears to lead to faster growth. Some people are production oriented and others are process oriented. Planters who act fast, who foster action, tend to gather more people more quickly than those who think, reflect and refine. And it's not that action oriented planters don't think. I see them as good, high level thinkers. Rather than trying to anticipate the multitude of contingencies and possibilities that could happen they think in the midst of action. They seem to use activity as an experiment. They instigate action, watch what happens, make in-process adjustments and guide the action so results move towards their intended goal. In other words, they process the activity rather than their ideas about the activity.

2.  Planter's who gather and lead other high level leaders in their early team see faster growth. These planters display something of a talent scout. When they think through what they need they immediately  look for people who brings those skills, experience and capabilities in a high degree. They don't look for warm bodies, they look for gifted people. The difference between planters might be described this way: some planters lead people while other planters lead leaders who lead people. It is the latter who tend to have faster growing churches.

3.  Following Ben Arment's insights, planters who work within existing social networks experience faster growth in their churches than those who don't. This means that parachute drop planters need to plan on taking more time to identify and enter into existing social networks and in creating new networks. It's a timing issue. Rather than rushing towards a predetermined launch date planters of faster growing churches intuitively grasp the timing to mobilize networks, drawing them together to create crowds that they form into churches.

So what we're looking for are leaders who create action, lead other high capacity leaders, and live in the midst of extensive social networks.

Where are these leaders? Call me at 360-609-6700.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Love your emphasis on relationship [#3]. Have witnessed leaders who lead leaders [#2] - powerful (the Jesus way). But I've seen a number of the intensive high action guys [#1] be able to take action initially flourish but then flame out when they hit the next steps of system, management, pastoring, stability.