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Church Plant Planning Team
We are endeavoring to plant a daughter church in our local area as a part of our heritage as an “Outreach for Christ!”
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Church Planting? We Aren’t Ready for That!
A LETTER FROM PASTOR JOSH STRATTON
The Chapel has a great vision to reach over 1030 people for Jesus by 2030. To do this, one of our goals must be church planting. Most of you are probably thinking, “That’s great for the future but can we really afford to do that right now?” Do we have: the manpower, the finances, the know-how, or the right systems to be successful? I know I’m just scratching the surface with some of our questions, but I would submit to you that we can’t afford not to plant a church in the near future. This is not to suggest that we don’t have a lot of work to do as a congregation to be successful, but Church planting is in our DNA. It is the best way to expand our influence and revitalize the Chapel toward its mission.
Did you know the Chapel was founded with a very clear focus to plant churches locally and globally? When I was in seminary, I did a project where I had the daunting task to wade through all the Chapel’s elders’ meeting minutes over our, at the time, 40-year history. In those pages you’ll find missionaries trained and sent to Native American reservations in Canada, plans to start new churches in local area towns around the Chapel, as well as outreach strategies to reach Littlestown. This was our heartbeat as a church, and it drove people to the Chapel. In the early days, the overarching organization was called Outreach for Christ. When we built our current building, we were only about 50 people. The Chapel was, in some ways, its first church plant. Over time, because of very difficult seasons and a tendency to focus solely on stability within the Chapel, we drifted from this vision.
Today, we are convinced the Lord is calling us back to this vision as a church. We are a church who plants churches who plants churches. Planting churches is our best strategy for reaching people outside of Littlestown. Church plants bring focus to our local communities that otherwise would be an afterthought. It places strong faith communities right in people’s backyard instead of asking them to travel to Littlestown. Studies show that church plants are highly effective at evangelism because they bring fresh new ideas and new people into areas of leadership. In fact, church plants are almost 9 times more effective at seeing people come to Christ than churches 15 years and older.
Church planting is not only the best strategy to reach outside of Littlestown, but it will also refine and revitalize the Littlestown Chapel location. Studies show churches who plant churches grow typically 21.5% in the first 5 years after planting. Why? Because church planting forces churches into self-examination. They must re-evaluate their current strategies and develop new leaders for real responsibilities. Planting new churches helps established churches renew their missional heart and passion. It brings back the focus of the church to the Great Commission.
We can do this. We need to do this. We have done it before. If you talk to some of our original members, they will tell you the powerful refining mission of the early days. That mission brought strength, growth and focus to our church. We must return to our roots, stretch ourselves, and see where God takes us. People who need Jesus are waiting to meet us in their own back yard.
If you would like to be involved in the planning and preparations for this church plant, let us know! We’d love to have you join our Church Plant Team.