WHAT WE DO
our target growth rate every year
new church plants every year
dependence on the Holy Spirit
International research indicates that denominations need to plant new congregations at a rate of 3% per year, just to maintain the status quo. Our goal is not one of mere maintenance, but of growth. We want to see 5% growth in our congregations, which equates to 23 new churches per year.
Planting 230 congregations in 10 years … isn’t that too ambitious? Actually, no. It’s impossible! That’s why we need your prayers, participation and the anointing of the Holy Spirit.
Our vision is as bold as it is because it needs to be. Let’s not underestimate the power of the Holy Spirit in this.
We want to see every congregation in the LCA/NZ understanding itself as either a sending church or a partner church.
Frequently Asked Questions
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What does church planting look like?
- Our approach incorporates three key elements: a sending church; a church planning team; and mentoring in the field.
- Experience and international research both show that these elements are essential.
- To participate in church planting in the LCA/NZ is to share in a supported journey into each of these elements.
What is a sending church?
- A sending church is a ‘mother’ church.
- It both nurtures the missional communities from which the church planting team is formed, and supports the ‘toddler’ church until it is formally launched as its own entity.
- And at that time, the ‘daughter’ church is already planning to plant again! (As, we hope, will be the ‘mother’ church!)
- The first phase of sending church preparation is all about the missional leadership of the congregation; the second phase rolls that out to the wider congregation; and the third phase develops missional communities from which the church planning team(s) will be formed.
- Research also shows that sending churches receive an enormously positive benefit from the church planting venture. They are renewed as they plant new churches.
- The sending church journey is described in the booklet Church Planting: Plant Water Grow.
What is a partner church?
- Not all congregations are able to be a sending church (though, surprisingly, it’s not the biggest and best resourced congregations which always make good sending churches!).
- Partner churches are just that, partners in the mission of church planting.
- That partnership is expressed in prayer, practical support, personal relationships, and participating in ministry support of the new churches that are planted.
- Our goal is to see every congregation in the LCA/NZ understand itself as either a sending church or a partner church.
- For more info about partner churches see Partner Churches.
Where do the people who make up the new churches come from?
- Very simply, by the Lord calling people into faith through the gospel. The aim is conversion growth by seeing not-yet-Christian people come to full faith in Jesus.
- Currently, the LCA/NZ churches have a low newcomer (ie conversion) rate compared to other Australian denominations. We’re not generally used to seeing large numbers of new adult believers join our churches. This is what we believe will change.
- We believe that a movement is underway to see that change; so we ask you to pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers, because ‘the harvest is plentiful; the workers are few’.
Do we still call pastors to build congregations in new suburbs or housing estates?
- Research and experience indicate that the ‘let’s build a church and they will come’ approach no longer works in our post-Christian secular society.
- It still all about relationships and relationships happen anywhere and everywhere.
- Hence the relational evangelism approach is about living in such a way that your faith is obvious, plus being intentional in talking about the gospel in the context of intentional and authentic relationships.
Isn‘t this just another program? We’ve tried so many already.
- No, it’s not another program. Unlike revival rallies (think Billy Graham) or learning a gospel script by heart (like a sort of gospel download with little relational connection to the audience) or other off-the-shelf packages, church planting is the long haul process of bringing people to Christ and growing them in Christ by relational engagement and community formation.
- The aim is to plant churches that plant churches.
- That means the DNA of the church is changed so that the church becomes a community that truly reaches out, rather than simply aiming to please its membership.
Why is equipping the laity important?
- Pastors are busy people. Many pastors may wish to spend their time in evangelising; however, the nature of congregational ministry means that they spend much of their time in pastoral care.
- Let’s allow pastors to do what they do best – to pastor and shepherd the congregation. It is the role of the lay people (of all people) to share the hope we have in Christ.
- It clearly reflects the New Testament pattern: the spontaneous expansion of the church through the ministry of the ‘non-professionals’.
- Clearly the pastors have a key role in this – not least in the sending congregations where they become facilitators for equipping and training as well as key agents in the missional leadership of the congregation.
Who is going to lead our church plant?
- The leaders of the church plant will emerge as a result of the training and the support provided to the sending church.
- The LCA/NZ is actively developing pathways for new leaders, identified by gifting, to receive training. They also receive on the ground mentoring.
- The sending church remains the body that has oversight of the church plant until such time as the church plant wishes to be a congregation in its own right.
- We’ve already seen a significant number of young church planters identified within the LCA/NZ, and we expect that to increase in the coming years.
How can our congregation get involved in church planting?
In the first instance, speak to Pastor Nathan Hedt (Manager, New and Renewing Churches) or Dean Eaton or Chris Podlich (Church Planting Mentor and Mission Facilitators). Their details are on the Contact Us page.
We are mobilising congregations to participate in the work of seeing new believers come to Christ. We want to see mature churches that plant churches as the norm.
New & Renewing Churches
Lutheran Church of Australia
197 Archer Street
North Adelaide SA 5006
08 8267 7300