I am a big fan of planting churches under the authority of another local church. Some call this sponsor church, parent church, mother church… whatever floats your boat. Their has been this trend in planting to center everything around the man who serves as the planter. I have to agree that the church planter plays a key role in the church planting process and choosing a man of character and quality will be directly proportionate to the character and quality of the church.
On the other side of that coin I think we have underemphasis on the role of the sponsoring church. I have posted about this issue before HERE but feel the need to mention this again.
Let me list a few of the ongoing benefits Pillar Church experiences because of our relationship with the church that sent us out these are in order of importance:
- They help us to remain doctrinally pure and missionaly focused – The folks at our sponsoring church still very much care about us even though the original team left more than 4 years ago. I have an ongoing relationship with the pastor and most of the church leaders that allows them to serve as advisers to us as we go about the process of church planting.
- They serve as church leaders and wise council until you have your own – Until Pillar had committed church leaders who were qualified and capable of caring for the congregation, Stafford Baptist provided that support. They helped keep me on track as a first time pastor and helped steer me back on course when I was vering.
- They serve as a partner we can trust – We have been able to align with Stafford BC for projects that we could never have pulled off on our own. A few years ago we did a marriage seminar, we have done international mission trips, we sent a missionary to Iceland, we planted two other local churches. All of these things have happened because we maintained a close relationship.
- They celebrate our first steps – Each time we have made a major step over the past several years Stafford has been there to celebrate with us. A few months ago we finished our constitution and had a constitution service. Some of SBC’s members and their pastor were there to support us and cheer us on. Every time God gives us a victory they are celebrating in the background.
- They create margins for us – I can’t count the times when we have been in a jam and SBC has had to bail us out. Sometimes this is financial, sometimes it is equipment, sometimes it is people…. it seems like we are constantly leaning on them for something.
- They model biblical generousity to us – Stafford’s outstanding job as our sponsoring church has given me a desire to be the same kind of church to those who we sponsor. Before this experience I would have had no Idea how significant a sponsoring church could be.
This list could go on but to conclude my point… Pillar has had an office at SBC since day one. This has helped us to maintain our relationship with Stafford Baptist and has been a huge blessing to us. Otherwise, my office would be in my home or we would be renting a very expensive space.
This week, one of SBC’s leaders, Dave Fauth, bought me some books to just to remind me that they love me! If you are a planter and you are thinking of doing this on your own, without parents… please reconsider.