Church Planting and the Big Church Syndrome

The States taught me that Church Planting is old news! Campus Church or Satellite Congregation is the new kid on the block.

Peter Baker | 21:52, Tuesday, 21 September 2010


Church Plant

Actually it’s a Church Plant by any other name, the only difference between the old and the new being that the end game is not a truly independent congregation.

Instead, Campus Church in many cases, but not all, gets the preacher from the mother ship beamed in live by video or replayed from the main Sunday event. Campus Church also enjoys the benefits of a shared organizational structure, some resources and oversight. In certain situations the youth and children’s work is still operated from the usually magnificent facilities of the original Church site.

This two way street appears to work by bringing the values and vision of the “mother Church” to a more local demographic. 

Perhaps it can translate in the US where large sprawling cities, new housing developments and mega churches (over 2000 people ) are more common.

But it is now happening in the UK on a smaller scale and without the “beamed in” preacher in most cases.

Whether you go the traditional Plant or Campus route, it looks as though new churches are grown best from existing large churches. There are obvious reasons for that. For one, the large church has a wide net geographically and the local scene is often poorly resourced with effective churches. Large churches grow for a reason, and not just because they steal everyone else’s sheep (!) That’s a bit of an urban myth.

The reasons such churches grow are precisely the reasons Church Plants will grow: a well organized ship with quality kids and youth work, strong, relevant preaching, accessible music and an informal but authentic and culturally relevant Christian community.

If people can get that mix nearer to where they live, then they will jump at it!

Let’s face it, the old model of a denomination or an inter denominational agency identifying an area which needs a church and cobbling together a less than willing cohort, has not got a great success rate. So if this new model is to work, then the big churches of the UK (arguably those over 250- 300) need to step up to the plate.

Such a numbers pool means, hopefully, a talent / gift resource, a critical mass, and a Leadership willing to go through the tunnel of chaos as they give away some of their best and live with a temporary resource crisis in the mother church in order to keep encouraging the next wave of newcomers into a church culture whose values are missional.

Missional churches plant churches. You don’t need to be 250 strong to do that, but in my experience that sort of size allows you to plant without imploding the home base.


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