Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Planting Churches or Making Satellites

Often I come across other pastors that encourage the development of new churches. Now, I'm all for new churches but it seems that some fall into either of 2 categories: the church plant or the satellite church. Allow me to clarify and define each. Each start out with the premise that the current church is growing. Each discover a new site of potential grow. But they go about it in different ways.
(Image: Rows of Salad by majorie lipan)
The church plant (let's call it St. John's Church) addresses the issue by stating that they are going to send a core group to a new location, maybe 10 miles away from the current church location and start a new church. This church would have its own pastor and be separate from the first church (St. Johns'). They would have a new name like (St. Paul's Church). This church would at first be supported by the previous church (St. John's) until it could be supported on it's own. In time people may not realize that St. Paul's Church was planted by people from St. John's because they have grown to be 2 different churches giving the gospel to 2 communities.

(Image: Satellite by wjarrettc)
The church (let's call it Mt. Hope Church) that wants to start the satellite church goes about it differently. They, too, would find a new location, 10 miles away from the current church location and start a 'satellite' church with a core of people from the original Mt. Hope Church. This church may have its own pastor but is not separate from the first church. Often they will have the same name. Mt. Hope Church of Big Town, USA and Mt. Hope Church of Littler Town, USA. The first church would support the new one but there would be no true distinction between the two. The programs offered would be similar and possibly even the style of worship would be exactly the same. There would be no intention of growing each church into separate entities, they would always be connected. This model is often seen by many mega-churches.

So those are the 2 models. Why is there a disagreement between the two? What are the benefits of the church plant? What are the benefits of the satellite church? What are each churches disadvantages? What would you prefer: plant or satellite?

Next week I'll come up with my own assessment but I'd love to hear from you first!

1 comment:

Colleen said...

I like church plants. But if it works to have a satellite church..do that...whatever brings Jesus to people. Do what works. We, as a church, soceity, etc, get too caught up in preferences and "rules" about HOW to bring people to Jesus, that are really masquerading as our own preferences.