I have recently taken on a new role that will have me looking at church plants a little more closely than I’ve needed to in the past. I’ve always thought my passion was church revitalization (along missional lines). This will be new.
Therefore, it’s good to be aware that there are various schools of church plantings, or models of church plantings. Sometimes there is a “mother church.” Sometimes it’s just a church planter that is “dropped” to plant a church in a new environment. But there is also a “Missional Incarnational” model. Ed Stetzer lists some of the characteristics of this model:
1. They desire to incarnate in the community. Holding John 1:14 as their banner verse, Missional Incarnational church plants seek to be present in the everyday rhythms of the community.
2. They are highly relational. Looking to the early church and seeing how they had “favor with all the people” (Acts 2:47), Missional Incarnational proponents seek to build bridges to the community’s people, businesses, and organizations, as well as the local government.
3. They engage in a holistic mission. They seek to be a blessing to the city or community in which they are planted. Thus they embrace a spiritual, social, and cultural mission.
4. They disciple their way into a church. By becoming part of the ebb and flow of the community, serving and loving the community, and establishing relationships with the people of the community, Missional Incarnational church plants may have people “belong” to the community before they “become” a follower; but in doing so Missional Incarnational plants disciple themselves into being a church.
I find this way of doing things intellectually satisfying.