Hi friends! I’d like to give you an update on the planning process for our church plant. Our ECO presbytery here in Texas has a Church Planting Committee made up of pastors and lay elders, and we get to be one of their first plants to approve and oversee. I was able to meet most of the committee at the fall meeting of the presbytery in Houston. They have a lot of experience with beginning new churches and I am excited to work with them!
I’ve been typing away on a proposal that answers the following bullets (from ECO’s Church Planting Policies and Procedures guide):
Church Plant Plan approval
A potential church plant plan must be submitted and approved by the Presbytery (or authorized team) in which the plant will be located. The planter (or the church or group that is planting) can create this plan. This should be a 3-7 year plan that leads to self-sufficiency and sustainability for the plant. It should include the following:
- An understanding of the population that will be reached
- An initial vision, values, and ministry philosophy for the plant
- A strategy for the recruitment and development of a core team
- Benchmarks to be achieved in the development of the plant.
- A realistic budget for income and expenses for the church plant during the period of planning. A plan should also include how additional money would be spent if it were available, as well as areas that could be cut if income wasn’t available as projected.
- Budget shall also include an initial salary/housing package for the planter.
- It is recommended that prior to the planter taking the field, 85% of the funds for the first 3 years have been pledged.
Oy! That’s quite a list. But they’re all great questions. We want to be as smart about this as possible, with accountability, careful planning, and creativity. I hope to finish the first draft of the proposal soon, and I imagine I’ll find some way to host it here when it’s completely approved.
In other news, we received our first funding pledge for 2016! Williamson Baptist Association has agreed to support us. Leslie and I first connected with Terry Ishee, their Church Planting Catalyst, over a year ago. Terry is an experienced missional community church planter and runs the Austin hub of Forge America, a mission training network originally founded in Australia by Alan Hirsch and Michael Frost. Terry and the WBA are currently supporting nine active church plants in the area and will give us a ton of expertise and encouragement. I’ll be enrolled as a Forge Resident next year. While the residency isn’t strictly geared toward church planting, it’ll help me grow as a disciple and disciple-maker.