After reading about Dave DeVries 21 differences between church plants that grow fast and those that struggle (here), (here), and (here) I thought it would be helpful for those who are following our story in Ottumwa to know what of these we have used, found valuable, or chosen not to do. In no way am I saying that we are fast growing church but rather I’d like to point out that most of the differences on this list have been helpful for us in being effective in what God has called us to. Below are the first 10 differences with a bullet comment by me for each.
1. Assessment: Using the Ridley Assessment is a must! The higher the score the better.
- This is something that we felt very strongly about as well. This tool was one of three we (the mother church and my family) used in deciding if we would be a good fit for church planting.
2. Finances: Adequate financial support is a necessity. There is a delicate balance between too much and too little support.
- It is really tough to be effective without adequate resources. Our mother church has shouldered the weight of this.
3. Full-time Planters: A majority of fast-growing church plants were led by full-time planters.
- I am full time. I was blessed by being full time 9 months prior to our first service. This was a huge help in allowing me time for training, dreaming, coaching, moving, and so much more.
4. Shorter Support Period: An extended period of support is not good for a new church – recommend less than two years.
- This is one that we have not officially signed off on. It is the hope of both us at thebridge and the mother church that this would be our reality. It is quite feasible for us to be self sufficient in this time period – however an added bonus to a longer support period could mean a greater likely-hood that we could higher additional staff that we otherwise would not be able to afford.
5. Give Additional Funding: A higher percentage of fast-growing churches received additional funding beyond the initial salary given.
- This was very true for us. The ability to purchase worship equipment, hire another staff person besides myself, and have rent money for our gatherings on hand has allowed us to do far more then we ever could have without this extra funding.
6. Limit Additional Funding: Most growing church plants received less than $50,000 additional funding within a one-year time frame.
- The amount of money for us is a bit higher and the length of time is longer.
7. Planters Add Funding: Planters need to be responsible for raising a portion of their support.
- This is tough one to answer. In many ways my service and employment at the mother church prior to the plant was my being responsible. Had I not earned their trust their support would not have come.
8. Vision Ownership: The vision for the church plant should be birthed in the heart of the individual planting the church.
- This is something the mother church has felt very strong about. It has been a joy to have the freedom to dream, pray, and seek God for the vision of the plant. Having someone to process the vision with is very helpful.
9. Audience Determination: The church planter should have the freedom to choose the target audience they want to reach.
- The location in which we chose to plant made this easier on us then what it might be for others.
10. Financial Decisions: Planters of fast-growing churches were given freedom to spend their funding as they saw fit.
- This has been true for us. However, having high accountability and reasonable rational behind each purchase is a must as well. I did ask the mother church to set my salary. I also don’t touch any of the money. We have a system in place that has high accountability and I simple recieve reports each week.