Summary: Ten Practical Handles to Church Planting Movements
Ten Practical Handles to Church Planting Movements by David Garrison
Church Planting Movements are sovereign acts of God, but in His sovereign grace and mercy He has chosen to partner with us. There are some practical things that missionaries can do to help initiate or nurture a Church Planting Movement. These are not sequential steps. Some of them are more important than others, but each of them has been used in the formation of Church Planting Movements somewhere in the world. Each missionary must determine which ones fit his or her situation and how best to adapt them for maximum benefit.
1. Pursue a CPM orientation from the beginning
This is a key point: Church Planting Movements begin the day the work begins. The end-vision is being "realized" from the beginning. Thus, missionaries who want to start a Church Planting Movement must begin by "modeling a CPM-type church" complete with evangelism, discipleship and multiplication training within a cell-group setting. This defies the sequential model that begins with pre-evangelism, then evangelism, then discipleship, church planting, missions, etc.
2. Develop and implement comprehensive strategies
Missionaries who address the scope of all that is required for initiating and nurturing a Church Planting Movement quickly realize that the job is far beyond their personal limitations of time, talent and resources. However, as they look to the broader resource pool of Great Commission Christians and continually ask the question, “What’s it going to take to launch a Church Planting Movement?” they find that a comprehensive strategy is required.
A comprehensive strategy stands on at least four pillars: 1) prayer, 2) God’s Word, 3) evangelism and 4) church planting. These four pillars are complemented by a matrix of ministries including human needs ministries, communications strategies, mobilization and other efforts. When combined, these comprehensive strategies free the ministry from the limitations of a single missionary or even a single mission agency and maximize the possibilities for initiating and nurturing a Church Planting Movement.
The effective strategy coordinator is ruthless in evaluating all he or she does in light of the end-vision—a Church Planting Movement—discarding those things that do not or will not lead to it.
3. Evaluate everything to achieve the end-vision
A missionary once commented, “You can tell a good strategy coordinator from a bad one by what he says ’no’ to.“ This should not be interpreted to mean that widespread experimentation is inappropriate, but the effective strategy coordinator is ruthless in evaluating all he or she does in light of the end-vision—a Church Planting Movement—discarding those things that do not or will not lead to it.
4. Employ precision harvesting
Rather than randomly sowing gospel seeds and awaiting a harvest, a growing number of missionaries have learned the wisdom of precision harvesting. Precision harvesting uses “response filtering” to identify and locate individuals who have already made a positive response to the gospel and then places longer-term workers in direct contact with them for discipleship follow-up and church planting. This model recognizes that a missionary who settles onto the mission field may succeed in learning the language, sharing his faith, discipling a group of believers and planting a church, but that there may be a more efficient way to accomplish the same end.