We know that church plants never go the way they are laid out on paper, but it is still wise to have an initial map that is revised as the terrain becomes more clear. Below is an look at the plant in stages as we see it unfolding.
Stage 1: Prepping the Launch Pad
This stage has started. There are two important benchmarks for this stage. The first benchmark is to create a ministry plan that will be a framework for moving forward. As was stated above this plan is very fluid and gives basic strategies that flow from the vision, mission and ministry style. Tim Keller wisely cautions planters from creating firm plans before living in the community in which you are planting. In fact, as the process unfolds it will likely follow this pattern: write Ministry Plan; move to neighborhood and do demographic and ethnographic research; adjust ministry plan and strategy according to context. It should be noted that I have begun demographic research. As my primary text for this research I am using a Percept Ministries report giving demographic information for the geographic area that makes up Riverwest.
The second benchmark that will mark the end of a move back into the neighborhood. In order to move back we will need to raise enough money to bridge the gap between what I (Tony) will make working bi-vocationally and what it will cost to live in the city.
Benchmark 1: Ministry Plan
- Complete a ministry plan stating Values, Purpose, Mission, and Vision
- Start demographic and ethnographic studies in order to develop strategy of the plant
Benchmark 2: Move to Riverwest (Move Date Goal: June 2012)
- Raise $20,000 for the first year of plant
- Move back into the Riverwest Neighborhood
Stage 2: Fundraising and Developing Core Team
This stage will begin as soon as my family and I are back in the neighborhood, I will be bi-vocational in this stage. During this time of bi-vocational work I will be engaging in two primary activities. I will increase my efforts in fundraising and I will develop a core team that will meet with my family as part of our first MC in Riverwest.
Benchmark 1: Fund Raising
- Raise 80-100% of ministry budget for the first five years of the plant.
Benchmark 2: Establish First Missional Community and engage in Core Team Development
- Establish a core team that consists of a minimum of 8 households which will be able to host additional MCs when the first one is ready to reproduce
- Huddle Training, or some other form of discipleship training for the core team.
- MC Training: since MCs will be the core element of the church it is important to do extensive training on MCs.
- Involve core team in strategic planning for neighborhood outreaches
- Begin outreach, discipleship, and leader training
Stage 3: Establishing Multiple Missional Communities and a Soft Launch
Again I see two benchmarks in this stage, developing multiple MCs and a soft launch of the church. Once we have reached at least two MC’s then we will begin to hold a larger weekly gathering that brings the two MC’s together for a larger gathering. This will be a ‘soft launch’ of the church. It is considered soft because it will not be “advertised” and there will not be a concerted outreach effort at this point. The soft launch will also not be a full worship service. It will likely consist of either an Evening Prayer service followed by a shared meal or a shared meal first followed by a Vespers/Compline service.
Benchmark 1: Establishing MCs
- Core leadership that makes up the initial MC will be divided into additional MCs.
- Each community will coordinate activities to grow the individual communities
Benchmark 2: Soft Launch
- Locate a space that the large group gathering can take place
- Develop and hold an evening prayer or compline service in conjunction with a shared meal
Stage 4: Public Launch
Once we have established at least three strong MCs we will develop some coordinated outreach strategies as a lead up to our public launch. Our public launch may or may not replace the other weekly gathering that was used during the soft launch. Some goals of this stage include:
- A public service with at least 80 in regular Sunday attendance
- Continued multiplication of MCs around the city
- Adding additional pastor of Outreach and Renewal and or Pastoral Care.
- Both positions will be bi-vocational at the start, and each of these pastors will also be leaders of an MC
Stage 5: Preparation for first Church Plant
Once we are a self-supporting church with at least one additional pastor, and a thriving ministry to the neighborhood through its MCs, we will hire our first church plant intern to begin the process of planting our next parish church in one of Milwaukee’s surrounding neighborhoods. We will determine where the next large gathering will be based on the clustering of MCs. The neighborhood with the largest conglomeration of MCs will become the site of the next church plant.
Benchmark: Hire 1st Church Plant intern
- Intern will be bi-vocational
- Time will be spent being trained in formation of MCs,
- Ministry plan will be developed
Benchmark: Strategic Planning of next Church Plant location
- Based on the largest cluster of MCs, the Riverwest plant and leadership will pick the location of the next plant
- The RW plant will work to release the MCs meeting in the neighborhood to plant the next church