No Correct Church Planting Model

There seems to be a lot of rhetoric out there on the correct way to plant a church. You have the Missional group which tells you that you have to reach those who don’t go to church and if you have transfer growth you are essentially failing. We are to be missionaries in our community. On the other side you have the Atttactional group which comes in with the slick method to appeal to church shopper in hopes of reaching them with a highly polished system. Of course these two groups go by all kinds of names like Organic, Purpose Driven, Seeker, Relevant, etc. When you start to read all of the resources out there it is easy to get confused and try to adapt one of these methods.

In reality most church plants fall squarely in the middle. Most church plants reach those who are unchurched and those who are transferring from other churches. Don’t feel guilty for having a mixed group. Don’t let someone try to tell you who to reach. If God has called you to a specific city then don’t feel guilty having a mixed group. Stick to your guns and minister to your people.

The fact is that you have little control over who walks through the door of your church. If you are a good Bible teacher you are going to have people come to your church because they are looking for deeper teaching. You also may be great at outreach and are able to bring in tons of people who society and the church has rejected. In all honestly most churches are doing very little outreach into their community.

I get a little miffed by the Missional group. Why should I feel guilty that my church sent me out with a sizeable group of people who all stepped up and helped fund the plant before we even started? Am I supposed to turn people away who are desperate to come and learn the Bible if they come from another church? Call me a trust fund church, call me a transfer church, I don’t care. The fact is that we are reaching people, seeing them transformed by the same Gospel that Missional churches teach, and we are sending people and funds all over the world to plant more churches. I am comfortable in that.

There is no right way to plant a church. You go to the city God calls you to. You work your butt off and whatever God blesses you with He blesses. That’s it. There are church planters out there who are timid and insecure because they feel they are not measuring up to a false reality. That is why I am on the board of Calvary Church Planting Network. Our aim is to identify, train, and support church planters within Calvary Chapels. This is the emphasis behind our ReEngage Conference happening in October. To train and inspire church planters to go with God’s word and do the hard work. We aren’t going to burden you with a model or mold you have to fit into. We are going to build you up so that you can go out boldly proclaiming the Gospel.

23 replies
      • Daniel Fusco
        Daniel Fusco says:

        Great to hear. Just wanted to make sure as when I read your article, I wondered if you were mad. If I hurt your feelings or frustrated or anything with my article, I am sorry. That was not my intention. Blessings to you, Jen, the kiddos & the folks at Village Chapel.

        • Chuck Musselwhite
          Chuck Musselwhite says:


          I wasn’t offended but frustrated. Your post encapsulated this thinking by the missional church that I find deeply flawed. There are a lot of church running around doing a lot of good things while at the same time getting nothing accomplished for the Kingdom. They are down on the organized church and that to me is offensive because to me that is still Jesus’ bride.

          I love you brother. Just finding too many pastors out there with a yoke on them that Christ never put on them.

          • Daniel Fusco
            Daniel Fusco says:


            Your frustration is noted. I’m not putting a yoke on people. All I am saying is that if you are simply putting up a better and cooler church than your neighbor and pillaging the other churches in the area, than that really isn’t a church plant. That is good ole fashion capitalistic competition, not the heart of Jesus.

            So many church plants are being founded as they we are a cooler mor relevant version of this other church. And in a consumer mentality culture, people flock there. I do not believe that is honoring Jesus at all. We have all heard the stories of the new church plant who has people going to another church’s ministry and pouching people.

            As a long time church planting advocate, I personally am dismayed at seeing church plants proliferating yet the number of Christians still declining. So I do my best to remind people that the biggest market share in America is still the lost and unsaved. I encourage people to not seek to build on another’s foundation (i read that somewhere).
            Sure, as any church planter knows, people will come from where they come from. And yes, you work your butt off. But if a church is planting with the mindset that they will do a better job of discipling another church’s people then they are, well, to me, that is not a church plant.

          • Daniel Fusco
            Daniel Fusco says:

            On a further note, Chuck imagine if this upcoming Sunday there were people passing out fliers for their new church plant in front of the Village Chapel. Inviting people to come to their new church. Would that be an acceptable church planting model? Would you say nothing?

            What if it was more subtle, like when they met people who went to the Village Chapel in a coffee shop they would say, “Oh but we really teach the Bible” or “we are really in step with what the Spirit is doing, you should come to see us.” Would that be an acceptable church planting model?

  1. Darren Colwell
    Darren Colwell says:

    “There is no right way to plant a church. You go to the city God calls you to. You work your butt off and whatever God blesses you with He blesses. That’s it.” I love this. If we really believe that we’re responsible we’ll work our butts off and if we really believe in the complete sovereignty of God we’ll trust him to bless what he wants to bless. Thanks for the encouragement.

  2. Miles DeBenedictis
    Miles DeBenedictis says:


    Are you sure that there is no correct church planting model? Or are you just saying that because you are singlehandedly responsible for the destruction of 3 other churches in Lompoc by opening your doors and out preaching their pastors? You ought to be ashamed of yourself you leach! 😉

    ok, that may be a little more harsh than necessary…. maybe.

  3. Miles DeBenedictis
    Miles DeBenedictis says:

    I’ve got a theoretical model for church re-planting. Perhaps you guys can weigh in and tell me if it seems good or not. I call it the Command and Conquer Planting Model (CCPM for short).

    There are many small, old congregational churches in our country that own great pieces of property. So I was figuring that we could move like 100 people into one of these churches, take over the membership and vote in a new pastor. Personally I think it’s a great model.

  4. Jon Langley
    Jon Langley says:

    Wow… have the comments strayed. 🙂 From the church planting “un-model” to CCPMing the congregational churches, to Luther, Beer, and the German justification. Nice. Must be close to the weekend.

  5. Doug
    Doug says:

    wow, the article was good, but the comments were great! Thanks for the post. It is good for me to remember in the midst of planting a church. I have a burden to reach the lost and disconnected from church and I need missional entrepreneurs (Christians who want to start something new for the mission) to join me in doing this. So I’ve begun seeing more positives in reaching folks like this who come from other churches. I do feel that I have to “vet” these folks as I want to guard the vision for the new church. In fact my prayer is this: Lord, send me the folks you want the new church to have and send away the folks you don’t want the church to have.

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply