11 Theses on Church Planting

Shane Lems is a pastor in the URC who has planted a URC church in Sunnyside, WA. He also co-edited the book Planting, Watering, Growing: Planting Confessionally Reformed Churches in the 21st Century. He blogs at The Reformed Reader. As I type he is presenting “11 Theses” on church planting along with an annotated bibliography on church planting under each theses. It is an excellent resource. He says this is a work in progress, but this is his wisdom on the topic thus far:

  1. Church plants need to focus on making disciples (evangelism) and maintain that focus after the church is organized/particularized.
  2. Those involved with planting a church need to be well informed before the plant begins.
  3. Church plants need to think, act, and exist like missionaries by “contextualizing” to some extent.
  4. Church plants need to know the dynamics of an average American church/Christian
  5. Church plants need to take leadership training very seriously.
  6. Church plants need to continually train the disciples they are making.
  7. Church plants need to have a biblically structured liturgy that is understandable and explainable.
  8. Church plants need to have a solid knowledge of and love for the church.
  9. Church plants must be ready, willing, and able to minister to all sorts of people.
  10. Church plants should always have a wide variety of free reading material available.
  11. Church plants must be familiar with the methods and means of other denominations and networks that have experience in church planting.

4 thoughts on “11 Theses on Church Planting

  1. These 11 theses are not strictly from the book, these are Shane’s own theses on church planting that he is presenting to us right now along with an annotated bibliography under each theses. His main point is that we need to understand the culture that we are going into, both the culture outside the church and the culture of the overseeing church.

    We should avoid creating “clone” churches of the mother church. We should be aware of the difference between what we confess in the Three Forms of Unity and the cultural traditions of our overseeing church. We also should be aware of the culture outside our church in the location we are planting. In this regard we need to make our creeds, confessions and liturgy accessible to them without compromising them. For example, explain our liturgy in some way, whether from the pulpit or in booklets, etc. We also should probably avoid using latin phrases in our liturgy. He gives other examples. I am sure the book talks more about this, but I haven’t read it yet. You should check it out. It looks like a book with a lot of wisdom on planting confessionally Reformed churches in our day and age.

  2. Pingback: Update on URC Church Planting Colloquium: 11 Theses « RED churches

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