What NewThing Does to Catalyze Church Planting

I think about this topic quite a bit as you could imagine!

NewThing is a catalyst. We are trying to overcome several challenges that we see in church planting, particularly in the West.

We are NOT trying to be a denomination. We are NOT a typical church planting organization that centralizes money and programs from the center.

We are doing our best to remain MOVEMENTAL in our structures.
These are the BIG THREE for me.

First, NewThing networks churches together so they can plant more churches together. Churches must plant churches. Yet most don’t. Of course church planting is a significant undertaking and many churches lack the resources and people to go it alone. Bringing churches together to so they can plant more churches…together is one of the ways to solve this issue. Networks are a better stewardship of resources.

Second, NewThing provides an accountability mechanism to so that churches plant the churches they say they will plant. Without a local network of relationships hold church leaders accountable to church planting, it’s not going to happen. Our My Reproducing (MRP) Tool is one of the ways we do this.

Third, NewThing brings churches together and aligns them around the Missio Dei (Mission of God) in the spirit of collaboration. Jesus started a movement. Yet, we don’t see movement in the Western context. We are convinced that only when churches come together to plant churches will we see movement and even then it won’t really be a movement. (I’ll explain my thoughts on this this in another post at some point.) Collaboration and partnership need to be catalyzed and fostered.

It’s true – together we are better.

I am still working on these ideas so stay tuned.

Planting Churches in Nicaragua

Something beautiful happens when church planting and helping kids out of poverty are combined.

So when NewThing was afforded the opportunity to partner with Compassion International to plant new churches in Nicaragua and help kids out of poverty, we jumped at the chance.

Why?

Because these new churches become the lighthouse for a community where not only do people hear the gospel, but it becomes tangible as children are helped out of poverty. 

It’s a win – win situation for sure!

I just went on a trip with other NewThing leaders to see visit to the churches we’ve helped start in and around Managua.

I was moved and inspired by what we experienced.

Nicaragua is a beautiful country, full of diversity: oceans, and lakes, volcanoes and cities. Yet, there are areas of desperate poverty.

I am happy to report not only is NewThing helping planting new churches, but hundreds of children have already been sponsored by NewThing churches and now have an opportunity to get out of poverty.

We met with the pastors of the churches we helped to plant. We learned how the Compassion International helps children out of poverty in the name of Jesus.

We toured the new churches and visited with Compassion leaders to better understand their work. 

We also visited families benefitting from sponsorship. They explained how the Compassion program was truly helping address their physical needs while the church addresses their spiritual needs. They were grateful to be part of it. While we prayed for each other I knew that this was something God was in and that we were going to plant as many churches as possible for other families.

Equally exciting for our team was the opportunity to meet with pastors and leaders in Nicaragua learn from them. Many of these leaders are dreaming of starting more churches.

Planting a new church in a hurting community and providing a way for children to get out of poverty is a powerful combination. I was humbled and grateful that God was opening this door for NewThing.

This is just the start of our partnership with Compassion. We will be working with Compassion and local leaders to plant new churches and network existing ones together. We are finalizing details on new initiatives so more churches can partner with us. We have BIG plans and we are looking for partners.

Here’s where you come in.  Join us!

We are looking for partners to plant more churches in Nicaragua that will reach new people with the gospel and help more kids out of poverty. This is a great way for your church to do both. Your commitment is to help start a new church and sponsor kids.

But it doesn’t stop there.

Together we will build a strong relationship with both the leaders and the congregation of these churches. This will lead to friendship and more wins for the Kingdom.

To learn how you can plant churches with us in Nicaragua and help kids out of poverty, contact our Coordinator, Jim Melton at jimmelton@newthing.org

Our partnership with Compassion is another example of how NewThing is catalyzing movements all over the world!

You Can’t Get to Level 5 on Your Own

Several weeks ago I had the privilege to participate in conversations with leaders about the ‘Becoming a Level 5 Assessment.’ (Take the Assessment HERE.) 

Becoming-5-Book-Cover-F-HR-692x1024
Becoming Level 5

For several days, we talked about what a Level 5 church even looks like and how we can get there. The dialogue was fruitful and robust and I was grateful to be part of it.

As I’ve reflected on that meeting, I came to the conclusion that no one church will achieve level 5.

It will take networking and collaboration to get to Level 5.

So you’re up to speed, the BL5 assessment ranks churches into levels:

1 – Declining
2 – Plateaued
3 – Growing
4 – Reproducing
5 – Movement

According to the assessment so far…

  • Approximately 80% of churches in North American are Level 1 and 2
  • Approximately 16% are Level 3.
  • Approximately 4% are Level 4.
  • There are no level 5 churches in North America according to the assessment. (This might be a slight exaggeration as there may be one or two but that’s still up for debate.)

That’s right, zero Level 5 churches.

I suspect most of you want to be level 5? I am sure most of would agree that getting to Level 5 would be a good thing!

Now, to be honest, it’s a challenge to even describe a Level 5 ‘church.’

Here is rough sketch:

  • Full expression of APEST
  • Simple systems
  • Kingdom focus
  • Oikos – Communitas as the primary relational platform
  • Functioning on new economic models
  • Collaborative
  • “FAMILY” ethos
  • Repeatable rhythms
  • Core DNA is simple and transferable
  • Spontaneous development occurs
  • Planned inefficiencies
  • A focus on future growth
  • Risky
  • Biased toward releasing
  • Openness to new tech. and new things
  • Decentralized

I suspect that Level 4 (Growing) and Level 4 churches (reproducing churches) can only get to Level 5 as they network with other churches to plant the seeds of level 5 churches. In this way, Level 3 and Level 4 seed Level 5 movements.

There will be some challenges for us to do this.

One of the challenges is our ‘go-it-alone’ attitude. We tend to want to do everything ourselves, train leaders, plant churches, gather our own networks, centralize the funding, put our brand on it. Nothing is ‘wrong’ with this. I celebrate any effort to plant more churches, sites, and missional communities.

It just won’t get you to Level 5.

We can’t achieve the Jesus Mission on our own. We will need to work together to do it. We’re going to need to work with each other. We will need to network and collaborate in new and in significant ways.

I am not sure what that’s going to look like…yet. But I am confident we can do it.

At NewThing we are committed to doing our part to make it happen.

I am excited about the work Todd Wilson and Dave Ferguson have done in writing the eBook, Becoming a Level 5. It’s going to change the conversation about multiplication, especially in North America.

Read it. And take the assessment.

Then ask yourself, how you and your church can be part of a network of churches that will seed level 5 movements. Together, we really can achieve the Jesus Mission.

What are your thoughts? Where have you seen churches collaborating with other churches to achieve more for the Kingdom?