Bad Church Planting

This article was published in Issue 22 of GO WEST!.

Some church planting strategies are crazy—but they work. Other philosophies, however, are just plain bad, and can suffocate the dreams of the best-intentioned pastor or planter.

Here are two philosophies worth chucking out, according to church planter Steve Pike:

“Planting small churches is not as efficient as growing one large church larger!”
Actually, it is true that one large church can run more efficiently than several small ones. But efficiency is an American value, not a Kingdom value. Discipleship, on the other hand, is a core value in the Kingdom of God, and discipleship is anything but efficient! It is personal, creative, messy and powerful!
“There is one right way to plant churches!”
Not only is this statement not true, it is dangerously divisive. Too many good church planting ideas have been scuttled by this narrow-minded concept. There are many good ways to plant churches, some of which include:   
1. Single church parenting – when a church planting team is sent out by a single church to plant another church in an adjacent neighborhood or community. The daughter church may or may not resemble the parent. This type of planting is typically utilized by churches of 300 or above.
2. Satellite planting – when a church reproduces itself exactly in multiple locations. This often involves a video message by the senior pastor of the sending church. In some cases, the satellites become stand alone churches. In other cases, the satellite locations remain connected to the  central church. This type of planting is typically utilized by churches of 1,000 or more.
3. Multiple church partnering – when several or many churches join forces to help send out a single church planting team to raise up a church within an unreached people group or underchurched community. Any size church can participate in this type of planting, although it works best when one church takes the lead role….

Pike’s list of church planting varieties goes on, and you can read the entire article here. At CBWC Church Planting, we’ve been working hard to provide room for creativity for churches or individuals interested in participating in church planting. Email Tom at to find out more about Venture, congregational planting or other ways we can help support your church’s outreach efforts.

Do you have experiences of narrow church planting philosophies? What strategies work in your context? Share your thoughts by clicking the comment bubble.

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