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How will thinking like a church plant help an established congregation to grow?

Recently Pastor Tim Keller said that post-Covid, every church will need to think like a church plant. If you’re in an established church, do you wonder what he meant by that statement? I asked two of the church planters in our Great Lakes region to share with us what it means to them.

Jon Huizenga, pastor at Rise Up Church in Cedar Springs, Michigan

When I think of Tim Keller's statement that post-Covid every church will need to think like a church plant, four things come to mind:

  1. Church plants allow their pastors to lead. A church plant pastor is looked at less like an employee and more like an expedition leader.
  2. Church plants experiment and evaluate. They are willing to try something not tried before and then ask, “What went well? What didn’t go so well? What would we change? What shall we try next?”
  3. Church plants get out of their building (usually because they don’t have one!). Last summer, we did three worship services in the town amphitheater. It was a good idea, but the lack of another place occasioned it. How can you go out of your building?
  4. Church plants have flexible budgets, and they tend not to let the budget stop them. If they have a good idea, they tend to ask, “How can we make that happen?” rather than say “no” on budgetary grounds.

Church planter in a diaspora setting (name withheld for security purposes)

A church planter holds this verse as the focus of their ministry:

"All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matt. 28:18-20)

And so, pre-Covid, during Covid, or post-Covid, I am persuaded that the church must stick to the above formula—"going" out "to make disciples" who would then make disciples until Jesus returns! You see, the church must understand that reaching out to the world to evangelize leads to the formation of new churches/new converts, thus enriching the church with disciples.