A study conducted by the Center for Missional Research in 2007 revealed two important realities about church plants. The first reality is great news–most church plants survive! In fact, of the over 1,000 churches from 12 denominations that were included in the study, 68% made it to the four-year mark, the survival standard used by the researchers.
The second reality is helpful news because it explains why some churches survive and others don’t. It turns out that there are four crucial survival factors when it comes to church planting. These factors are:
- The expectations of the planter—realistic expectations increase survivability by over 400%.
- Leadership development—training church members for ministry leadership increases survivability by over 250%.
- Stewardship training—developing a stewardship plan increases survivability by 178%.
- Peer support—connecting with other church planters for support and counsel increases survivability by 135%.
So, for church planters who want to maximize the odds for the survival of their church, the strategy seems obvious—make sure you address each of these factors. The question is: Where can you go to do that? One answer is church planter training. Church planter training allows you to avoid mistakes through the experience of others, to obtain expertise in areas you haven’t worked, and to think through your preparation for your role as a planter. There are many good training programs to choose from. Which one is right for you? Here are some questions to consider:
- Who is doing the teaching? Reality-based training will be delivered by knowledgeable church planters who can teach from their own experience.
- What is being taught? Well rounded church planting curriculum will deal with the role and spiritual health of the planter, their philosophy and theology of planting, and the “nuts and bolts” of planting such as leadership development and stewardship planning.
- What is the format of the program? Programs that help you make lasting connections with church planting peers are not just more fun, they also allow you to establish important support relationships.
Want to increase your odds of survival? Good training is a great investment.