Church Planting Initiative QUESTIONSI

As you can see below, I have posted my church planting proposal to the Executive Council for consideration for the General Assembly 2010 Agenda. It will not be on the Agenda, but has been referred to a study commission headed by Tim Hill. I spoke with him yesterday and began some good dialogue that I have been asked to continue with the other members of the study commission.

I would like to employ the readers of this board in helping me “perfect” and “flesh-out” this proposal. Again, you can read the whole thing here.

Please respond to the following concerns (and any others you can think of):

  1. Since we are only at the beginning of the TOT reduction, is this proposal premature?
  2. Is the matching funds proponent (local and state) a positive idea?
  3. Should the funds be designated for a church plant/satellite and then sent to the state office for distribution or should it simply be reduced out of the monthly TOT check?
  4. Should there be a cap (financial or time) on how much (or how long) you can give to a particular church plant/satellite? The only reason I ask this is so that local churches do not end up diverting tithes to a church that is not in the “planting” phase.
  5. Finally, should I wait to see if the Executive Council will put this proposal on the 2012 Agenda, or should I submit it to the floor of the General Assembly through the motions committee?

My only hope is to help re-engage the COG as a church planting organization. Please help me think through both what the best plan is for church planting and what plan has the best chance of being adopted by the General Assembly.

Jerry Lawson

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5 Responses

  1. Jerry:

    I love the idea and as one who is currently planting a church, it would be a tremendous asset to have a big brother/sister assisting financially, strategically, and spiritually. My distinctive case is just not conducive to your plan (long story….).

    Let me respond to your concerns:

    1. Yes and no. No, it is not premature from the standpoint of needing to plant churches. We are WAY behind in this. If we don’t do what we are called to do, God will raise up someone else to do it (ARC, Acts 29 etc.). Nuff said. The yes part – because so many states and HQ are going to be making drastic adjustments that there will be strong arguments against implementing this in the near future. We should not, however, be driven by fear or naysayers.

    2. I’ve answered above, but yes, absolutely. It is a great plan.

    3. I believe the plant needs to be accountable to the mother church during the launch and initial phases. The mother church needs to be accountable to the SO/HQ. So, I believe the money should be sent directly to the plant, deducted from the TOT. Sending it to SO/HQ will only delay the funds. However, there must be an accounting (finances, fulfillment of goals, etc.) by the church and the plant to the SO/HQ.

    4. Yes, as long as it’s flexible. The standard COG plan of 3 months support with a review and another 3 months max has not worked. We must get past theoretical programs initiated in the 60s and find something that works — 6 months is not it. I agree that there must be a safeguard of somesort to prevent continual redirecting of funds (a gradual reduction of funds??)..

    5. If it is not on the 2012 agenda, it should be submitted to the motions committee.

    Just my thoughts,

    Keith

  2. One thing to consider is if the decision is made to change the GA cycle to 4 years, there will be no 2012 GA .

    I would like more specificity on exactly what criteria determines a “plant” to prevent churches using the motion as an excuse to reduce their ToT.

    To get my vote you will also need more accountability built into the process, just letting churches keep back 20% seems too likely to create temptation, but sending the funds to the state didn’t work before either, perhaps a district level board would be a fair compromise

    • James, if the 4 year GA proposal goes through then there will be an Assembly in 2012 – with the next one being in 2016.
      Nick

  3. James, thanks for your input about the accountability aspect for the local church. I, too, can see the problematic nature of letting a church keep 20% of its TOT. However, we have all seen the problem with trust the state office with church planting dollars.

    My question is, “How do we start a new system that actually works?” I see your thought about a district board, but that just sounds like more red tape in an already too bureaucratic system to me.

    Personally, I would have no problem sending my funds to the state office, designating the church plant I am funding, and following up to see that they actually got the funds. But some guys think that the state office cannot be trusted under that system. The purpose of this blog article is to get as much participation in the discussion as possible.

    Jerry

  4. 1.Since we are only at the beginning of the TOT reduction, is this proposal premature?
    Now is the right time to start new churches. The longer the delay, the greater the generational gap will be in terms of new Christ-followers. The intensity is clarifying. Scarcity caused us to value and esteem a thing. Now that money isn’t in the same supply it was, we ought to be valuing mission more than mechanism so much more. Let’s put legs to those already articulated values.

    2.Is the matching funds proponent (local and state) a positive idea?
    Yes. It culls out people that are just looking for a handout and attracts people who have initiative. Not everyone should be able to access the resources. I’d say that if you can’t attract quality people to work with you (Children & music leaders) and raise money especially when matching funds are offered, you ought not to have deep pockets to access from the denomination.

    3.Should the funds be designated for a church plant/satellite and then sent to the state office for distribution or should it simply be reduced out of the monthly TOT check?
    I would say that once a planter has qualified for the matching funds and has partnered up with a mother/partner church, the resources ought to go directly to the plant as long as the plant is reaching the already agreed upon benchmarks. The reporting mechanism can be handled through the regular reporting mechanism of the local church and an additional report can be completed by the planter providing sufficient accounting and accountability.

    4.Should there be a cap (financial or time) on how much (or how long) you can give to a particular church plant/satellite?
    I think a 3-5 year plan maximum would be more than fair with decreasing amounts (though that should be worked our in advance by the mother/partner church). After that, there needs to be a sustainable plan in place to ensure longevity.

    5.Finally, should I wait to see if the Executive Council will put this proposal on the 2012 Agenda, or should I submit it to the floor of the General Assembly through the motions committee?
    Submit it through the floor. If it makes it on the Agenda, that would be beautiful. If it doesn’t, it will automatically be placed in the hands of the Executive Council for consideration for the subsequent General Assembly.

    Great stuff, Jerry. Move the ball forward, shape the conversation. You are already showing the way. Put it in writing. A lot of people believe in you and would rally around this really great plan if you give them the opportunity.

    Blessings, brother!

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