A Plan for Planting Bi-Vocational, Biblically Healthy Churches
Everybody needs Jesus. Every nationality, every people group, every dwelling place within our city is beautiful, yet in many places broken and lost. Our city is strewn with vacated church buildings from days gone by and neighborhoods are filled with separated families and increased numbers of diverse people groups, immigrants and refugees from throughout the world. Simply put, church planting methods and strategies for outlying suburbs, where much of the evangelical population lives or has fled, has not been and will not be effective in these areas. The recently historic prototype where one man is identified, given funding and fundraising tools over a three-year period, has not been financially sustainable after that time period. Many times, the planter has been encouraged to leave his employment. This prototype has often not been successful and thus not realistic in terms of long-term health and reproducibility. It’s leaving that solo pastor feeling discouraged and defeated.
When Jesus sent out His disciples armed with hope and the Gospel message, he intentionally never sent out a man alone. (Luke 10:1) Too often, lead pastors do in fact, feel alone. The strategy of 2x2 is not to send one man but to send two.
We recognize that spiritual darkness is pervasive throughout our land but perhaps even greater in some places. Truly the harvest is great. Therefore, in obedience to our Lord’s command, as well as His model for Gospel expansion, our efforts must begin with a consecrated, intentional effort in prayer that the Lord of the harvest might raise up harvesters (Luke 10:2).
It’s been said that everything rises and falls on leadership and we believe that. To see healthy, Biblical churches planted, we must first pray to the Lord of the harvest to raise up leaders to plant churches. We are looking and praying for Biblically qualified men, whereby one man serves in the lead capacity but the second man is equally qualified, as well as committed to the vision of the work. These two men will share a greater brotherhood, accountability and shared leadership. This Biblical model allows men to share the workload of normal church rhythms in terms of preaching, administration, leadership, shepherding and more. This provides a safer, healthier plan for success so that the solo pastor is not left exasperated under the weight of ministry.
Financial Plan For Long Term Sustainability and Multiplication
1. The two-man leadership team is first and foremost encouraged to keep their current employment.
2. This initiative is aimed at biblically qualified men who have successfully passed a rigid assessment process and articulated a strategy for a healthy disciple making church. These men will be financially resourced in such a way to help alleviate some of the burden of doing the work of church planting while not creating a long-term cycle of dependency for themselves and their families. Network funding could be used for help with further education and training for their employment advancement and pastoral training such as seminary and conferences, child-care expenses for their families, date nights, rest or even support staff within the church, etc. But financial support should not be seen as a step toward full time ministry employment. Your end goal is not to leave your job but to create a healthy rhythm for yourself and your family while you work and do the work of pastoral ministry. Funding agreements are not based upon a numeric timeline as much as they are based on the continuation of the church’s vision and the spiritual health of its leaders.
A New Definition for Success
In traditional church planting strategies, the solo pastor has had a mindset that full-time employment through the church is the goal. This old definition for success has sometimes even been viewed as being the expectation required by his peers or network partners.
Success is not full-time employment. Neither is success owning a church building or property. 2x2 “success” might look like 100+ Congolese people meeting in their own building. However, 2x2 success could also look like a predominantly white or African American group of 25-30 meeting in a home. As long as in both cases, the presence of the Spirit is there and disciples are being made.
2x2 does not seek to remove the expectation of financial sustainability, but rather redefine what the goal for long-term health is in a bi-vocational model for church planting.
Multiplication: the 2x2 model encourages men to “plant pregnant,” allowing one of the co-planters to be sent out AFTER additional Biblically-qualified and committed elders have been raised up in the mother church.
Through the support of network churches and God’s gracious provision, ample funding is not the challenge or issue, prayerfully finding those two men is the challenge.