The Importance of a Church Planting Peer Network
Planting a new church is one of the loneliest and most vulnerable tasks one can undertake. Momentum can be allusive. Area churches can be at worst territorial, at best uncaring. The needs in the community greatly outweigh the capacity of the team. The loneliness can be stifling.
One solution: The Church Planter Peer Network. Getting together with other planters for prayer, encouragement, and collaboration can broaden the perspective of planters to decrease the role loneliness plays in the church planting process.
Research has shown the validity of church planting networks. In the Church Plant Survivability and Health Study realeased in 2007, by the North American Mission Board, a survey found that church plant survivability increased by 135% when a planter met with a group of church planting peers regularly.
Another survey of 600 church planters revealed that first year attendance was over 50 percent greater in the churches planted by those participating in a peer network.
As I speak with those that supervise and work with church planters, the difficulty of getting network participation often comes up. Why? Let me speak for myself:
- Pride. To be a planter you’ve got to have a bit of an independent streak and that can lead to an arrogance that says “I don’t need others” or “I don’t have time for others” or “I don’t care what others are doing.”
- Insecurity. Church planters are usually forced by circumstances to perform outside of all the boxes and decisions are made with little positive or negative input and uncertain consequences before or after. Insecurity about ideas can make a planter fearful of negative peer criticism, so we stay away.
- Competition. Probably one of the most disgusting things among ministry peers is territorialism and competition. As if one person or one ministry or one approach could possibly reach an entire area with the Gospel.
One of the best things that planting a church has done for me is drive away my independence. I am more certain than ever of my need for God (remember, we’re never alone as we go into the world – Matt hew 28:19-20), my need for others, and my desire to invest and add value to those working to expand God’s kingdom through church planting. I’ve planted a church without a peer network and now, planting my second church, I’m excited to be leaning on peers in church planting for prayer, encouragement, and collaboration.
Summer Network Luncheons
This Summer, we’ll be putting on Church Planting Network Luncheons all over Louisiana. Connect with one of them if you’re planting, considering planting, a fan of planters, a partner of planters. We’ll tell stories, encourage one another, & talk about the places of need in your area. RSVP to one of the below luncheons HERE:
- Baton Rouge – June 21st – Baptist Associaton of Greater Baton Rouge Office – 11am-1pm.
- Bayou – June 23rd – Revival Life Church in Houma – 11am-1pm.
- CenLa – June 28th – Baptist Building in Alexandria – 11am-1pm.
- New Orleans – July 19th – New Orleans Baptist Association – 11am-1pm.
- Acadiana – July 21st – Evangeline Baptist Associaton Office – 11am-1pm.
- Northshore – July 25th – Maritime Museum in Madisonville – 10:30am-1pm.
- West Monroe – July 28th – First West – 11am-1pm.
And let me know of other networking opportunities in Louisiana.