Church Planting: Local and Global
The Vision: Planting Churches That Plant Churches
A church that is not on mission to reach the world around it is a dying church. However, a church that seeks to multiply churches through church planting, both locally and globally, is viable and growing. It is clear in the New Testament that sending out leaders to raise up these new congregations is God's mission for His people in Christ. Jesus, speaking of the church, promised Peter, "...the gates of hell shall not prevail against it" (Matthew 16:18b ESV). With this promise from Christ, and His command to, "...go therefore and make disciples..." (Matthew 28:19a ESV) we aim to send out church planters both here in the Albuquerque area and to the ends of the Earth.
Therefore we ought to support people like these, that we may be fellow workers for the truth. (3 John 1:8 ESV)For more on why we want to be a church that plants churches, see Pastor Ryan's article Ten Reasons to Plant Churches Now. Also for a refresher you can listen to these three sermons that relate to us sending out church planters: The Calling and Cost of Global Church Planting, Spreading God's Glory Broader and Deeper...via Church Planting, and God Speaks in the Book 3 John.
The Mission: Every Member a Church Planter
A Few Going, the Rest Sending
Jesus calls and commands His church to proclaim the gospel and make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:18-20, Mark 16:15, Luke 24:47, Acts 1:8).
Making disciples of all nations means partnering with existing churches and planting new churches—especially in places where there is no gospel witness. Planting churches takes a whole church giving, praying, and sending out workers who will plant seeds and harvest growth.
For our Sunrise North Africa Partnership (SNAP), the people we seek to reach in North Africa have less than 2000 believers among a population of more than 30 million. As you can see, being unreached is not just about not knowing Jesus, it is about not having access to Jesus. That is why we seek to partner with Arab World Media and Pioneers to send workers out into these harvest fields, asking God to reach the unreached, through us, for Christ.
How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed?As a church, we officially started raising funds for church planting in 2010. By God's grace, we raised $29,000 in 2010, $51,000 in 2011, $66,000 in 2012, $160,000 in 2013, and we are on track for almost $200,000 in 2014! The next goal is to make sure we are at $4000 per week for all of 2015, which would support both families in North Africa. You can track our giving as a church in the bulletin each Sunday and watch how we are doing relative to this target.
And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard?
And how are they to hear without someone preaching?
And how are they to preach unless they are sent?
– Romans 10:14-15 (ESV)
Are you a church planter? Are you giving and praying toward this end?
Giving – Growing in This Grace and Partnership of the Gospel
Many at DSC started by giving $1 per day in 2011, $2 per day in 2012, $3 per day in 2013, $4 per day in 2014, and some are now considering $5 per day in 2015. Others lumped their church planting giving into one yearly gift. Others still are coming up with creative ways to give, like getting together with their community group to hold a garage sale. And finally, we pray that everyone at DSC might ask God to to provide more funds for church planting through them in both expected and unexpected ways. Whatever your approach, our hope and vision is to see every member of DSC "contributing cheerfully and regularly to the spread of the gospel through all nations" (DSC Covenant of Fellowship). If you need to setup or modify an online gift, visit desertspringschurch.org/give.
Planning – Seeking a Wise Plan as We Send Them Out
About half of our spending so far in the area of church planting has been for Redemption Church in Rio Rancho. While this outpost for the gospel grows, the members are also committing to raise up people, prayer, and resources to send toward the unreached peoples of North Africa. In fact, our second SNAP couple are leaders at Redemption, so we are eager to see how God raises up resources from within Redemption to support this family and possibly more in the future. Lord willing, this will free up more resources at DSC so that we can raise up more church planters to send out to the harvest fields both locally and globally. Our first SNAP family has lived in France all of 2014 in order to French language intensely so that they might operate more fluidly and efficiently in North Africa. They are scheduled to move to North Africa in early 2015, and settle in there for the long haul. Please pray now that God would prepare hearts to hear and respond to the gospel. Our second family are wrapping up an adoption, and then headed, Lord willing, into North Africa in mid 2015. Please do pray for them as wells since they have many major adjustments ahead.
Praying – Asking God to Do What Only He Can Do
Please pray that God will provide for this mission in amazing ways. Ask that He would unite us as a body behind the families going to North Africa. As these families prepare, please pray that God will unite them as a team, increase their focus and resolve on this part of the world, and comfort them as they have sacrificed friendship and family proximity, cultural and linguistic familiarity, and career stability, all for the sake of taking the light of the gospel into a dark place. May God go with them, preparing hearts before them to receive the truth, repent, and believe. And may we send them out in a manner worthy of God (3 John 6), covered in prayer.
Sending – Supporting Our Goers Personally
Every member at DSC has a place to be involved in these church planting efforts. Sending career missionaries from within our body means raising them up to go long term as well as mobilizing others to go mid term (1-2 years) and short term (weeks to months). It also requires an army of committed folks praying for the harvest workers and the harvest. We need advocates scattered throughout DSC's ministries, supporting all of our global missions efforts in order to maintain the drumbeat for God's glory among the nations. Finally, it takes a focused and committed missionary care team. Do you want to be a part of helping send out our workers in more direct ways through a care team? We are currently forming care teams for both of the SNAP families headed to North Africa. Missionary care of this sort includes moral and logistical support, communication, visitation, and re-entry help. Email email@example.com to get started.
The Costs: Comfort and Coin
Starting new churches is messy and expensive. In our culture, comfort is one of the strongest idols threatening the spread of God's kingdom. We seek comfort in familiarity, security, control, and ease. We use our resources and manage our relationships in order to maximize these elements and minimize their opposites. God is calling us to kill this idol one day at a time, one dollar at a time.
Becoming a church that plants churches carries a high cost relationally. As we send out families from our body to plant churches, relationships will inevitably change. There will be tears of sadness, mixed with tears of joy. Some who are close to you now may be called by God to join a local church plant, or even to sell all they have and move to a far away land to plant churches. Much like seeing an adult child move out of the home, there will be tears of sadness mixed with tears of joy. As the sending church, we must commit to making these sacrifices prayerfully and joyfully, powered by God's Spirit. Our deepest comfort should be that though the cost was incalculable, God sent His eternal Son here to be with us, to love us, and to reach us with the good news. And now, in the same Spirit, God sends us out to be among the lost and to proclaim the good news of the kingdom.
As we send out our brothers and sisters, we must also soberly count the financial costs. Our projections show we will need approximately $2,500,000 by 2021 in order to see this new church planting identity become a perpetual reality for DSC. Within this budget we are hoping to raise up several families to move to North Africa, and several church planters to be sent out locally. This cost may seem high, but our God is rich. He owns it all. And we believe that He will provide for His purposes through His people. In order to meet these financial costs, we asked at least 150 families or individuals to commit to giving at least $1 per day extra in 2011. By God's grace, we met and even exceeded the fund raising target (see above for details) that year. And now we are calling each individual or family at DSC to prayerfully consider increasing this by one more dollar per day as God provides for the next few years. The number 150 is not the end of our goal. In fact, it is just the beginning. We pray that all DSC covenant members will embrace this growing identity of DSC as a church that plants churches that plant churches, and that everyone will come to support it in some way financially.
Some may not know where this extra giving will come from right away, while others may be able to make room more easily in their personal budgets. All of us should cast ourselves and our finances fully onto God. We should all ask Him to move our hearts and our treasures toward heavenly storehouses.
Tracking Our Church Planting Fund
In order to sustain our global church planting efforts, we will need an average of $4,000 per week being given toward church planting through DSC by the end of 2014, and sustained through 2015. Each of our North Africa church planting families’ budgets for travel, ministry, language acquisition, insurance, children education, and moving is upwards of $100,000 per year, or just under $2,000 per week. After that, the plans are to launch our second couple (in partnership with Redemption Church) to North Africa. That will double our needs financially to $4,000 per week by mid 2015.
Goal: $4,000 per week average by end of 2014 = 150 families giving $3.65 per day.We have over 500 members at DSC. Can you spare a Starbucks coffee each day for planting churches locally and globally?
Current 52 week average: $3,890 per week (updated November 2014).
Our hope is that over time, the church planters may be able to create business and therefore revenue, but we are not banking on it. And we definitely do not want the need for finances to distract them from their primary goal of making disciples and planting churches.
Even with several faithful families going to the Redemption Church in Rio Rancho church plant, our total DSC giving to planting churches has not taken a hit. We are thrilled that God has used DSC to plant a new and growing church in Rio Rancho, and we should be thrilled as well that God has faithfully met the challenge of back filling their giving.
"All the money needed to send and support an army of self-sacrificing, joy-spreading ambassadors is already in the church. But we are not giving it."
– John Piper
Ultimately this is God's work to fund. We pray that God will not just move in our checkbooks. We pray He will move in our hearts to cause us to love Him so deeply that we cannot help but make the personal sacrifices needed in order to send disciple makers to lands where there is no Christian witness.
We are calling for a renewed sense of commitment from across the DSC body to rally their personal resources granted to them by God to support the essential task of sending out workers into the harvest fields both locally and globally.
Will you consider starting to give if you haven't yet? Will you consider increasing your giving to help make our budget for current and future church planters?
If you have any questions about our church planting vision and strategies, please do not hesitate to email firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love to interact with you and answer any questions you may have.
The Challenge: Another Dollar per Day
It has been said that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. In this case, our church planting fund starts, and continues, one dollar at a time. The only way to build and sustain a fund like this, over time, is to take it one dollar at a time, one day at a time. We are asking everyone at DSC to prayerfully consider the following:
- If you have not yet, will you commit to giving $1 per day above your normal offerings to DSC for the sake of sending church planters both locally and globally for the upcoming year?
- If you are already committed and giving, will you increase your current church planting giving by one dollar per day (from $1 to $2, $2 to $3, etc.)?
- Use a Missions envelope to designate your check to "Church Planting."
- Click here to set up a recurring gift.
- Set up a recurring gift through United Way.
If you have questions, please email email@example.com.
May God command what He wills, and will what He commands!
Frequently Asked Questions
General Questions about Church Planting
Why are we planting new churches?
- The primary reason we plant churches is to reach people with the gospel and to disciple them into maturity for God's glory. We are on a mission to obey Jesus' Great Commission:
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.
– Matthew 28:19-20 (ESV)
- Reaching people with the gospel means equipping our people to share it boldly with friends, family, and neighbors, as well as equipping men to plant new churches in other parts of the city, state, country, and world.
- We must be willing to send out workers into the harvest fields locally as well as the harvest fields globally, where there are still people groups that have limited or no access to the gospel.Where is the money coming from to plant churches?
- Most of the funds used for church planting locally and globally are being raised through those in the body committed to giving beyond their normal giving. The challenge has been laid before the DSC body for every member and regular attendee to prayerfully consider giving $1 per day in 2011 to church planting, and consider increasing this each year by another dollar per day (so, $2 per day in 2012, $3 per day in 2013, etc.).
- We will continue to evaluate the overall budget at DSC, including the Missions budget, in order to identify funds that can be geared towards church planting locally and globally. We see this as the primary call of our church on mission for the years to come: investing in church planting.
Local Church Planting: Redemption Church Rio Rancho and Beyond
Why are we planting churches locally?
- More churches close in the US each year than open. If we ignore this, we will one day be an unreached nation.
- We must see our neighbors, our city, and our region as a harvest field of lost souls needing to be won to Christ and discipled in new and creative ways.
- New church plants, in general, are better at reaching unbelievers than older, more established churches. And if an older church plants a new church, the older church is often spurred on to be more missional. We are praying this will be so.
- The American Christendom mentality is fading fast. We must give up the idea that "the West reaches the rest" and be more about reaching people for Christ here, there, and everywhere. It is becoming more common that African and Asian countries are sending missionaries to America. We need to be on mission both locally and among the unreached peoples of the earth. Both/and, not either/or. This includes church planting locally.Would it be easier to help prevent the closing of existing churches instead of planting?
- Part of our strategy does include helping good churches thrive and stay open. Our most direct effort toward this end is the formation of an Albuquerque Regional Chapter of The Gospel Coalition.
- However, it's important to keep in mind that sending in leaders to help revive dying churches is a very difficult and delicate task. It is hard to do this without looking like a hostile take-over. So, though we are open to this, church planting seems more effective and efficient in most cases.Who is going to be the pastor/elder of the new church plant?
- Carlos Griego (Los) was the minister of The Well (college / young adults) ministry at DSC.Where is the first DSC local church plant going to be?
- Lord willing, Los is planning to launch this new church in Rio Rancho, and he will be aiming to appoint more pastors/elders as the church grows.Why are we planting a church in Rio Rancho? Aren't there enough churches there?
- Rio Rancho has a population of about 90,000. That goes up to 100,000 if you include surrounding areas. If all protestant churches are full on a given Sunday, there are currently only around 8,000 - 9,000 people in church. So, the churches currently in Rio Rancho can only accommodate about 8-9% of the current population. As the population grows in Rio Rancho (the second largest city in NM) churches will be needed. The reality is that the number of churches (existing and new church plants) has not kept up with the population of New Mexico.What will this church be called?
- Los has named this first church plant Redemption Church Rio Rancho.How much will it cost to plant Redemption Church Rio Rancho?
- The total amount we are planning to use on Redemption has not been fully determined. We used a very conservative estimate when budgeting for the 150 families or individuals needed, giving $1 per day in 2011, $2 per day in 2012, and so on. Now we are working on a detailed budget for the up-front costs of a local church plant, as well as the potential subsidizing that may (or may not) be needed for up to the first three years. We are in no way writing a blank check to this or any church plant. Every expense from DSC will be accounted for.
- Unlike global church planters, when we send out a local church plant, our financial commitment will be smaller and only for a limited time. The goal is for Redemption to be self-sustaining as soon as possible.
- Redemption will need a place to meet, chairs, promotional materials, and audio/visual setup. Some of these things may be donated, but many will have costs associated with them. These items make up the startup costs and can range from $20,000 to $60,000 or more.
- The number of people that move from DSC to attend and give to Redemption will help the elders determine how much and how long DSC subsidizes Redemption's budget.
- Los' salary and benefits and the church rental fee will be the most significant budget items for the first few years. DSC may subsidize this, but again, the hope is that Redemption members will be able to support their pastor and facility as soon as possible.Will Redemption Church be buying or renting a facility?
- Los is currently investigating storefront properties to renovate and rent until Redemption outgrows it. They will want to start with room to grow, of course, but still aim for a reasonable rent in a specific part of town.Can Los get a job and work part time until the church is more self-sustaining?
- Local church planters can (and do) get jobs for various reasons. One may be financial, and another will sometimes be to meet non-Christians in order to share the gospel with them. From a financial point of view, the pastor will eventually be supported by those they reach as well as those that go with them. At what level this starts depends highly on the strategic plan laid out by the elders and the planter. Regardless of how many people go with the planter, or whether he has another job, the idea is for those that are members of the church to eventually fully support their pastor(s).
- When a church plant begins, the hurdle of a teaching pastor moving from part time into full time financial support can be difficult to get over. If we can help a new church plant get over that hump from the beginning, it will be that much more helpful for its survival and growth. However, that doesn't necessarily mean we will do this every time.
- Redemption is our first church plant, and that is a big deal. In one sense, all church plants will be a big deal, but not all local church plants will look like this or necessarily be done according to the same strategy.Shouldn't we be using all of our church planting funds on global church planting among the unreached?
- Church planting local and church planting global is not an either/or but a both/and. We must do both.
- In the long run, we will not sacrifice church planting globally for church planting locally. If the price tag for large local plants, like Redemption, hinders our ability to send permanent church planters to the unreached then we will need to cut back locally. Global church planters will never be supported by those they reach, while local church planters will.
- By planting like-minded churches locally, we are increasing the resources of people, prayers, givers, and goers for the global cause. By investing in local church planting, we are investing in global church planting. Los has already clearly committed to making Native American and North African peoples a priority in Redemption's global missions focus, and we will continue to partner together to see the nations reached for Christ.
- Because of the perpetual nature of supporting global church planters and the temporary nature of supporting local church planters we will spend much more on global church planting than local church planting in the long term.How long will DSC subsidize the budget of Redemption Church?
- This depends on the financial vitality of the church as it starts meeting independent of DSC in 2012. The more sustainable the church is based on members giving, the shorter the subsidizing time will last.
- Ideally, Redemption will be fully sustainable right from the start, but we want to be there, just as a good parent would be, ready to help if the new plant needs it.
- The tentative plan is to help Redemption meet budget, if needed, for up to three years. In each of those years we plan to pull back slowly so that the church can grow and thrive and survive on its own.How will Redemption Church handle funds?
- Initially, DSC will partner with Redemption for financial accounting and management. This may include training a volunteer at Redemption in the first year that can help out with financial accounting in subsequent years.
- DSC elders will work closely with Los and future Redemption elders to set up a clear financial policy and accounting system.Since DSC is not a part of a formal denomination, how will Redemption Church be held accountable spiritually and doctrinally in the long run?
- Redemption will be a part of the Acts 29 Church Planting Network and The Gospel Coalition. Both of these organizations thrive because they are rooted in the same doctrinal convictions as DSC.
- Being a plant from DSC, there will be a unique element of accountability and fellowship shared between our churches, Lord willing, for the foreseeable future.How many people will be on staff for Redemption Church?
- At first, Los will be the only staff member. Other staff members will be added as they are needed and as Redemption is able.What is the general timeline for the launch of Redemption Church?
- The current plan is as follows:
- April - July: Los will be laying out the vision and what the heart of the mission of Redemption Church will be. He will also have "core team" commitment cards made. These cards will specify what will be expected as people pray whether or not to join Redemption in its' mission. These cards will give people praying options such as, "I am going to join Redemption in its mission?" or "I would like to meet to discuss more about Redemption's mission and vision."
- In August those who are on board to be part of Redemption will need to step out of their community groups, whether leading or just being part of one, in order to devote time to a weekly core group gathering as Los casts the vision and mission for Redemption.
- In January 2012 the church will launch and begin gathering publicly on a weekly basis.How are individuals and families being recruited to go with the Redemption Church plant?
- Los will submit to the elders a list of people that he would like to invite to help him start Redemption. Once approved, he will approach these families to explain the vision and mission of Redemption and give them clear guidance as to how and when they will need to inform him of their decision to go or stay.
- If you feel called to consider going with the Redemption plant, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Los and the other elders will prayerfully consider you as part of the vision and mission of Redemption.What should people pray about/consider before committing to Redemption Church?
- Each person that receives a vision brochure and a commitment card should read them over and prayerfully consider if God wants you to join this mission. Redemption does not need "people in the pews," but needs people who are committed to the mission to reach people for Jesus in Rio Rancho and Albuquerque.How will folks make their commitment formal and by when is this expected?
- Commitments to be a part of Redemption can be made formal through the commitment cards, directly to Los, and by the end of this coming summer.I live in Albuquerque, should I consider joining Redemption Church?
- If you are excited about the vision of Redemption and feel called to be part of its mission, then you should consider joining regardless of where you live. This church plant will grow and thrive because of people excited by the mission that Jesus has called it to.How will membership/de-membership occur for those leaving DSC and joining Redemption Church?
- Those that go to Redemption will end their membership at DSC and be sent as missionaries with the elders' blessing. Membership will eventually be part of Redemption's DNA, but may not happen immediately. However, agreeing to the commitment cards is a form of covenanting with the elders at DSC and Los to be part of Redemption, much like when someone signs DSC's Covenant of Fellowship.Where else are we planning to plant churches locally?
- We have yet to identify the next local church planter(s). Generally, the location is proposed and justified by the planter(s), then evaluated and approved by the elders.
- We as a church should be open to planting anywhere in the Albuquerque area and beyond as God calls a planter, moves in his heart for a specific location, and uses the elders to test and approve him.
Global Church Planting: Sunrise North Africa Partnership (SNAP)
Why are we planting churches globally?
- God desires that people from every language and ethnic group come to know and worship Him through Jesus Christ, and join together with others in their language to know Him and make Him known.Why are we planting churches in North Africa?
- Less than 1% of the people living in North Africa are Christian.
- There is not a self-led, self-sustaining, self-reproducing indigenous church in our North African target country. We want to be a part of starting a movement there. The hope and goal is to plant churches that plant churches that plant churches.What does SNAP mean?
- Sunrise North Africa Partnership (SNAP) is the name of our church planting partnership in North Africa. For more on why "Sunrise," click here.How did we decide on North Africa?
- The DSC elders, the Global Missions Team, and a team of researchers narrowed down the unreached people groups available for targeting and prayed, sought wisdom, and decided that North Africa was the best fit for the DSC body.Isn't the United States or New Mexico unreached too?
- Unreached is an issue of access to the gospel. An unreached people group is generally characterized by having less than 2% evangelical Christian population. More importantly, an unreached people group does not have an indigenous, reproducing church. Without an indigenous, reproducing church, the people group's access to the gospel is perpetually limited (or in some cases non-existent) until an outsider comes in to help evangelize, disciple, and develop reproducing churches.What is the difference between local and global church planting?
- From the sending churches perspective, there is a permanent nature of financial support for global church planting, as opposed to a temporary nature of financial support for local church planting.
- For the planter, the biggest difference is that global church planters must learn a new language, learn a new culture, move half way around the world, and often times deal with tight security requirements.What does it mean to plant churches in North Africa?
- The goal is send elder-qualified men and their families to share the good news with people, disciple new believers into maturity, raise up leaders among them, form a local church, and help the church send out their people to do the same, and repeat.Are the planters going to have to get 'secular' jobs too?
- Global church planters must intentionally limit their non-planting work because of all the other added elements of the mission including cultural adaptation, language learning, and security. They will aim for profitability in any business that may be established, but not at the cost of evangelism, discipleship, leadership development, and church planting.How long will it take to plant churches in North Africa?
- This is difficult to answer. Our partner-sending agency has been in the Arab world for over 100 years and is just beginning to see the fruits of their hard work and prayer. They are starting to see some churches take root and mature, but there is still much work to be done.
- We are hopeful that the generation of planters we send to North Africa will reap part of the harvest from the past 100+ years of faithful service in the region.
- It's important to note here that we must be committed to supporting global church planters perpetually. Even when, Lord willing, there is a church planting movement established in our target country, it is likely that our planters will move on to another unreached area.How much does it cost to send church planters to North Africa?
- The most significant costs of church planting globally will be the salaries, benefits, and ministry costs of the church planters. We are using average salaries, benefits, and ministry costs of families serving in this part of the world to establish what is best for our SNAP families.
- These numbers include categories like ministry supplies, personal stipend, yearly international travel, mission agency administration fees, comprehensive international medical insurance, international and US taxes, continuing education/training, retirement, and special project funds.
- You might be tempted to think: "Isn't it cheaper to live in Africa than it is to live in the US?" but the costs of living in North Africa are more comparable to those in Europe than in other parts of Africa.Will the SNAP families be raising support outside of DSC?
- The SNAP team is already working hard to raise funds from outside sources. For example, they applied for and received a grant that will match up to $75,000 of funds given by DSC toward church planting among the unreached.
- We want the team focused on DSC when they report and we want DSC focused on them when we give, pray, send, love, and care for them. The SNAP team will appeal to friends and family outside of DSC for financial support, but not in a way that distracts from their work or fragments their time when home on furlough.
- The plan is to hire these individuals as global staff, so that they are seen as an extension of our local church working among the nations, planting churches.Why is it taking us so long to send out planters to North Africa?
- The current plan is to send our first family in 2014. This may seem far away, but keep in mind that we are not approaching this from a traditional angle. Our plan is to send trained church planters who are also legitimately qualified to work in specific vocations based on skill and experience. This is necessary because many countries require a work-related purpose for residing in the region. In reality, the church planters could quit their jobs now, study theology and mission, and then go. But there would be a significant gap in their resumes that might raise a red flag for some countries.
- When it comes to theological training, the global church planters are studying at a slower pace than the average planter because they are not quitting their jobs to study full-time. We want to send our planters to the field with about 30 hours of seminary equivalent under their belts. At the same time, we want them to be viable in a global market for real work.
- This longer preparation time also gives DSC an opportunity to build financial reserves for the church planters. As a body we must continue to grow in our financial commitment if we are committed to supporting these planters for the long run.
- Church planters need to be elder qualified men. If they are going to be raising up pastors, they need to be pastors themselves. It takes time to raise men up in conviction, competence, and character to shepherd God's people. We want to test, evaluate, and affirm their calling to shepherd God's people in their own culture before sending them to appoint pastors in another.Are we partnering with a mission agency?
- Absolutely. We as a local church have certain strengths and weaknesses when it comes to sending out church planters. Mission agencies also have strengths and weaknesses when it comes to sending church planters. In the end, we partner because our weaknesses tend to be their strengths, and vice versa.
- As the local church, we know these families. We know their strengths and their weaknesses. We have seen them minister, struggle, and strive to glorify God alongside us. We can evaluate them in a more relational way, and give an account for them in a way that an agency cannot.
- Mission agencies have the field experience and expertise, mobilization structures, and administrative systems that are priceless for us as a local church.How did we pick the SNAP families that are going?
- The families that the elders are currently grooming and evaluating for service in church planting have at least two years serving in foreign missions contexts.
- They were first called out by DSC leadership because of their experience in the field, conviction, competence, and character. These elements are currently being tested and evaluated in depth to make sure we are sending some of our best leaders to the field.Are there going to be more families in the future?
- The elders and missions leaders are always looking for selfless servants at DSC that are gifted in cross-cultural ministry and have the conviction, competence, and character to help lead people to Christ and disciple them in this foreign context.
- We have budgeted to have as many as five or even six families or individuals on the ground in North Africa as part of this church based team. There may also be a need to replace families on the ground if one of them needs to return for any reason. For this reason, we will need to have more families in the pipeline.Why don't we use these church planting funds to support an indigenous pastor or church planter?
- In some parts of the world, funding local indigenous missionaries is the most efficient and effective strategy for reaching people for Christ, discipling them, and planting new churches. However, this implies maturity in not only the individual, but in the church within that culture. This maturity comes not just through many years of an individual being a believer, but also from the church surviving and thriving across multiple generations. In the part of the world we are planning to plant in, there are very few, if any, churches that are more than one generation old, so, the stock of church leaders is not to the point at which sending out indigenous church planters in mass is a feasible undertaking. For the most part, church leaders in this part of the world are focused on learning what it means to do basic discipleship, evangelism, and leadership development, let alone going out to plant new churches.
- Besides the need for corporate maturity and longevity, there needs to be a larger stock of Christian men called and qualified lead churches as well as plant new churches. This just simply is not the case in most Muslim countries.
- In most Muslim contexts Christian converts are viewed as suspect, and when finances are involved from outside (especially from the US) then the person and their ministry are under even more scrutiny.
- It is important to understand that an element of unhealthy dependency can develop when outside resources are used to fund indigenous pastors. So the goal is to send in planters to raise up indigenously led, indigenously supported, and indigenously reproducing churches that do not depend on outside sources for support, survival, or reproduction.How can we help support the SNAP families beyond finances?
- Right now, the SNAP families are very busy leading within DSC, learning under the Elders, taking seminary level training, and trying to raise young children. Some folks at DSC have stepped up in very practical ways to make this easier on them. This includes things like watching children while the families study theology, watching children while they go on a date night, or even offering to help out around their houses. The bottom line is, folks are starting to ask what the teams' immediate needs are (big or small) and are jumping in to meet them.
- As we get closer to launching them to North Africa, we will be forming small teams made up of a handful of DSC members committed to being a care team focused on each SNAP family. Each team will be responsible for making sure their SNAP family is consistently prayed for, encouraged, and taken care of when they are in the US.