Parenting a New Church
Evangelical Covenant Church: Dave Olson and Larry Sherman
Percentage of Population Attending a Christian
Church on any Given Weekend 2000 11.8%
17.5% 13.2% 11.2%
MT 29.4% 23.2% VT ME
11.4% 24.6% 15.5% MA
ID 28.0% WI NY
WY MI 20.1%
24.7% 20.5% 17.2%
23.8% IA PA CT
NE 20.3% 16.0%
9.7% OH NJ
NV 3.1% 20.3% 21.7%
UT 15.2% IL 17.4%
CO 18.0% 28.6% 16.0%
22.7% WV DC
21.5% VA DE
KS MO 22.1%
23.5% NC MD
AZ 17.8% OK 25.0% 23.3%
NM AR SC
26.7% 26.9% GA
0.0% to 14.4%
13.4% 14.4% to 17.5%
17.5% to 20.6%
20.6% to 23.5%
23.5% to 29.4%
Increase in Churches in the United States Between 1990 & 2000
38,556 More New Churches
Needed in the US just to
30,000 maintain Christian presence
in our nation.
Evangelical Mainline Catholic Total Gain Increase Needed to
Maintain 1990 Ratio of
Churches to Population
New York Counties Saint Lawrence Franklin
2000 Percentage of Population at
Christian Churches 16.5%
Beige = Higher Jefferson
Rose = Medium
Blue = Lower 24.8%
22.9% 11.7% 16.0%
Orleans 17.6% Oneida
Wayne Herkimer 12.4%
27.4% 18.8% Saratoga
Genesee 15.6% 13.6%
Ontario Seneca Madison Schenectady
19.9% 12.0% 19.5% Cayuga 14.1%
Wyoming Livingston Yates 11.1% 10.0% 16.1% 17.6% Rensselaer
Cortland Otsego Schoharie Albany
19.8% Tompkins Chenango
15.4% Schuyler 12.2%
Cattaraugus Steuben 15.5% 16.1% Greene
Allegany 17.6% 19.6% Columbia
0.0% to 14.1%
14.1% to 17.6% 13.5%
17.6% to 29.2% 15.0% Putnam
Richmond Kings 11.9%
New York Worship Attendance in 1990 & 2000 by Percentage of Population
Evangelical Mainline Catholic Total
New York 2000 Weekly Worship Attendance
New Churches are 2.3%
needed to reach 8.7%
the 84.5% who are
not in church on
any given weekend.
New York - Change in Worship Attendance as a Percentage of Population 1990-2000
30.0% New Churches are needed
to reverse the decline
of Christianity in NY.
Evangelical Mainline Catholic Total
Impacting More Lives
The Covenant has grown steadily for 14 consecutive years. 160,811
1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005
Attendance in New Churches has fueled
the Covenant’s growth
many in new churches are new converts
1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004
Our Plants Grow Well
Average Yearly Growth Rate of New Churches from Years 2 to 7
ECC Plants grow at 25%
per year in years 2 – 7.
ECC UMC BGC LCMS ELCA C&MA DC COGTN COTN PCUSA COTB
Ave size after 5 yrs = 238
85% - 90% survival rate
New Church Attendance as a Percentage of Total Attendance
ECC BGC SBC COTN Brethren ELCA PCUSA
Why We Plant Churches 30
Per 100 12
All All New
Evangelical Covenant Covenant
Churches Churches Churches GLC GLC
This graphic illustrates the results of repeated studies, which bear out the fact that church planting remains a highly
effective means of evangelism today. Lyle Schaller, one of the most respected analysts of church life states that
“church planting is the closest thing to a guaranteed method of outreach.”
Parented Churches Do Best
Parent: 1 church provides people and finances to
help another church start.
Partner: 2 or more churches assist with the launch
of a new church
Pioneer: no churches help – denomination sends
in a planter who may or may not have a core
Community-Based: a planter who has extensive
networks in the community.
ECC Church Planting by Type
Parented Partnered Community Pioneering
To A Church
When It Parents?
**The same qualities that would cause
your church to want to plant a church
are the same qualities that will cause
your church to grow.
**The same qualities that would cause
your church to not be interested in
church planting are the same qualities
that may keep your church from
Qualities needed from a parent
In an evangelical denomination, 21 churches
parented new church in the last 10 years.
Here were the results:
1. The parent churches grew by an average 24.89% in attendance (12814
to 16003) from the time of parenting until the present (this averaged
2. When the new churches were included in the parent church's present
attendance, the growth rate per church was 80.05%, or 14.49% per
3. Of the 21 parent churches, 3 declined in attendance, 17 increased and 1
stayed the same. In all three that declined, the daughter churches did
very well, so much so that the growth rate for these parenting churches
with their daughters was 65%, 81% and 194%!
4. The new churches averaged 236 after 5.5 years (very good for a new
church). They received an average core group of 48 adults and children
from the parent church.
How does a
Parenting a New
How Was Your Church Was Started??
If your church is like most:
it was a risky venture;
a strong spiritual passion led the founders
to do it;
it took a lot of sacrifice and work;
it may have been the most important
spiritual milestone in their lives;
Every Church has a
God causes life & growth
“Be fruitful & multiply … each according to its kind”
Health causes growth
Growth leads to reproduction
Reproduction causes species growth & challenges
parents to further growth
“Every church contains the seed for other
churches. The local church was meant to
reproduce itself over and over again. As a
healthy plant forms seeds that when planted
bring forth other plants, so healthy churches
form seeds that produce other churches. There
is a price to be paid for the planting of that
seed. But there is a far greater price to pay if
the seed is not planted”
Keith Biely (1981) Missionary Alliance
The Bible Encourages It
“You shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem and
Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth.”
Most churches are good at “Jerusalem” and the
“Ends of the Earth”
We must also expand the kingdom to “Judea” –
people like us and “Samaria” – near-by people
who are less like us.
We do this by church planting in communities
nearby and with people groups who need the
What have been the spiritual
results of your church since its
People who Became Christians??
Children Taught about Jesus??
Acts of Compassion??
Missionaries Sent Out??
Pastors raised up from your church??
If You Could Start a New Church,
and It Would Not Negatively
Affect the Ministry of Your Church,
Would You Do It?
What a Parent Church Does
People: 5-10% of Parent Church
Mission-Minded people for core
Referrals of those who are seeking
We plant new chs to REACH People for Jesus
Participation in Outreach Events & Help with
Previews & Preparatory Worship
“Parts is Parts” – Equipment
Phinances – a third to a half of the support
for the new church.
GR Example – Other things they’re doing
in Parenting a Latino Church
Meeting with Church Staff – mutual blessing,
communication, prayer, planning
Liason for building usage
Facilities – as negotiated with FCC:
Space for 4-stage Launch & Outreach Events
Core Group Development: July – Oct
Preview (monthly worship) in phase 2, Nov – Jan
Preparatory (weekly worship) in phase 3: Feb…
Launch (weekly worship) at FCC or elsewhere
starting April or Sept ‘07
Checklist for a Parent Process
.Meet With Church Leaders
- e.g. "How Your Church Was Started"
.Individual Life Transformation Stories
- e.g. "God Knew I Would Never Go Unless"
."Church Planting Done Well" Stories
- e.g. " _____________ "
."Gentle Leaning" - Often For 2 To 3 Years
."Spiritual" Peer Pressure
Address Legitimate Fears, Concerns,
Hopes And Dreams
Step 1– Preliminaries
Learn about how your church could plant a new church without it
negatively impacting your own church.
Schedule a time for your leadership team to spend 2 hours with a
church planting director to help process information. A fter subse-
quent processing, make a decision to consider looking at planting a
Recommend an intention to the congregation. Supply adequate in-
formation through a communication process. If needed, get congre-
Step 2– Preparation
Begin discussing with the church planting director the ‘where, when
and how’ of a church planting project.
Develop a specific timeline for this church plant. (The dates can al-
ways be adjusted as God begin opening doors or slowing down the
Communicate to congregation key elements of the church plant, us-
ing a question and answer format.
Step 3– Proceed
Actively begin searching for the right church planter. In the Cove-
nant, church planters must pass an Assessment Center, with the par-
enting church, the Conference and the Covenant all agreeing on the
Do a core group training seminar with leaders from your church and
any interested potential core members.
Develop plans for Household Support and in conjunction with the
Conference and the Covenant put together a realistic funding plan.
Prayer Proceeds and Permeates the Process:
Area Covenant Leaders Praying for Steven
Faulk & M-6 Plant 10/05
South of M-6 & 131
Identify the target area
or target group.
Step 4– Parent
The Church Planter arrives on site. Fishing License, Funding Plan,
Launch Sequence and Parent – Daughter Expectations are all in
Stage 1 begins for the new church, the Core Group Gathering stage.
The emerging core group is taking shape, and new people outside
your own church are jumping on board.
Parenting Church holds a Commissioning Service just before new
group begins meeting weekly.
Tomas Ivens – Esperanza Covenant
Church, signing the Covenant
Parented by First Covenant.
One Last Word
“Every church ought to say to
itself, ‘we are part of a chain… we
owe our birth to somebody else.
We want to continue this chain of
blessing. We don’t want the family
of God and the spiritual
reproductive process of planting to
end with us’ ”
Adapted from Win Arn