What is a church planting network?
A church planting network is an intentional communication and relational structure that brings together leaders with a common vision to resource one another to fulfil the mission.
The relationship between a movement and a network can be seen in that a movement takes:
- Vision: A network of churches must think, “we are not just a church, but a movement. We are a church planting church.” The movement is fuelled by a vision for a region or a people. A church must have a vision beyond itself to focus on a transformed city or region or people group.
- Vitality: One or more churches in the network must be evangelistically and spiritually vital and growing with the dynamics of spiritual life. Vital churches attract contacts and leaders for new communities and people groups. They generate core groups for daughter churches.
- Partners: In the beginning, a church planting movement within a new town or people group will not be able to fund and resource itself from the inside, or produce all its own leaders. To gain momentum, it ordinarily takes a network of partner churches outside the people group or region.
- Supervision: The stronger and closer the supervision, [a] the more men are willing and able to plant a church and [b] the higher the success rate, which builds more momentum for vision, vitality and partnership. The more indigenous the supervision, the higher the success rate, too. Ethnic movement leaders are critical for strong and close supervision among ethnic peoples. There will be no “movement” without them.
- Training and Education: For a region or people group to rapidly produce new churches, there needs to be available in the region or people group: [a] in depth church planter training and assessment, [b] theological degree programs. Contextualised training centres will attract leaders to a region, recruit new leaders froma region and provide the quality needed for a higher success rate.
This material is adapted in large part from Porterbrook Learning. The Porterbrook Network is a strong partnership and an integral component in the training of church planters and pastors around the world.