·   Wiki Home
 ·   Wiki Help
 ·   Categories
 ·   Title List
 ·   Uncategorized Pages
 ·   Random Page
 ·   File Upload
 ·   Uploaded Files
 ·   Recent Changes
 ·   RSS
 ·   Atom
 ·   What Links Here

Active Members:



Create a Page:


View Chapter 7 - Leaves

Church Planting Resource Manual

Download MS Word Document (2009):
File:Chapter 7 - Leaves 5-09.doc

Download Shorter PowerPoint (2011):
File:Keynote 7 Leaves 3-11.ppt

Chapter 7: LEAVES - Preview Services

This article contains text only. For the full version with graphics and charts, please download the MS Word version above.

Leaf Development
Impacting More Lives (More Leaves) through Life-Giving Growth
The Second Stage of the 4-Stage Launch – Preview Services

Theme: How your new church can gather more people on the launch team and impact more people with the Gospel in attractional and incarnational ways.

Objective: To develop a Preview Service where the new church can double the size of the Launch Team and more fully express what it is becoming through public worship and expanded attractional and incarnational ministries.

Chapter Goals:
1.  You will be able to double your Launch Team in a way that keeps the excitement building and the life-giving growth expanding through adding a special monthly worship experience.
2.  You will understand how to grow healthy ministries for your church plant through large group venues, through your small group venues, and by offering outreach opportunities.
3.  You will schedule a healthy development balance for each month while you’re in this stage – using the W.
4.  You will understand how to expand your ministry teams and leadership base.

NOTE: the Growth-Marks document following the Note pages will be something your coach will use to help you move through this important stage.  The shaded area will be the section for you to concentrate on for this stage. 
Blessed is the person… who is like a tree planted by streams of water, that yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither.
Psalm 1:1,3

The Metaphor of Leaf Development     
Leaves = Lives

While ground nutrients are essential to a tree’s growth, the majority of its biomass comes from carbon dioxide absorbed from the atmosphere through the photosynthesis of its leaves. Since leaves do not grow on the roots and the trunk, the branches are the structure that facilitates the multiplication and growth of leaves.

The primary function of leaves is to produce sugar (glucose). This becomes the energy source for the whole tree. Carbon dioxide is absorbed by the leaf and combines with water through a chemical reaction with chlorophyll in the leaf to produce glucose. This chemical reaction produces a significant byproduct, oxygen, which is released into the atmosphere, to the benefit of our environment and our love of breathing air.

Glucose becomes the tree’s energy, fueling the growth of the whole tree. Root growth depends on the leaves of the tree producing high levels of carbohydrates (glucose) during the growing season. At least 50% or more of the photosynthates produced within the leaves are shunted below ground and used to construct and maintain the roots.

Leaves cannot facilitate photosynthesis without light, in most cases through direct exposure to light. Branches grow longer and stretch toward the sun to help the leaves receive direct sunlight. As the leaves bask in the light, God produces the chemical miracle of photosynthesis. Without plenty of leaves on the branches, the tree will quickly shrivel up and die.

Talk as a Team:

1.  Insights from the Metaphor.

2.  What is the symbolic significance for a church of over half of the tree’s energy going into the roots?

3.  In a church, what is the light that produces ‘photosynthesis’ in the members?


1. You will be able to double your Launch Team in a way that keeps the excitement building and the life-giving growth expanding through adding a special monthly worship experience.

Understanding “Preview Services”

The General Challenge in the ‘leaf development’ stage is to stimulate the growth of leaves on the new tree and its small branches. The leaves are the only way to produce life-giving energy for the tree. More leaves create health and growth throughout the whole tree – investing greater strength throughout the roots, facilitating the growth of strong and long branches, and eventually providing the conditions for the production of fruit.

‘Leaf development’ in horticulture becomes ‘life development’ in a church plant.
Every new ‘leaf’ is a new ‘life’ that is coming under the influence of Christ and your church.
- Some will be newborn ‘leaves’ = new believers.
- Others have never had the chance to connect to a healthy tree and experience spiritual growth = unchurched or de-churched believers.
- Still others will provide nutrients to the whole tree, through their service and their spiritual gifts = mission-minded disciples God calls to be on the Launch Team.

In most cases, the Root Development stage averages 20 to 30 people.
The goal of the Leaf Development stage is to grow to a launch team of over 70 people.

Biblical Examples: 2 Structural Forms for Growth in the Early Church
Temple Courts and House to House

Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Messiah.  Acts 5:42

“Temple Courts” Ministry occurs in larger groups – over 70.  This is where Gathering new people happens best.

You know that I have not hesitated to preach anything that would be helpful to you but have taught you publicly and from house to house.  Acts 20:20

“House to House” Ministry occurs in smaller groups, typically less than 30.  This is where Building disciples happens best.

The Challenge
You have developed a strong launch team, primarily using house-to-house ministry. But you are finding it difficult to grow beyond 20 - 30 adults. What should you do to build on that strong foundation?

The Solution
Begin holding a public worship service once a month. Covenant church planting has historically called this a preview service. This once-a-month service allows the group to expand into ‘Temple Court’ ministry. Many of the gifts of the church planter and launch team will blossom here. It provides an opportunity to let people ‘come and see’ the life of your new church and experience heartfelt worship and inspired preaching in a group setting with a larger number of people.

The Basics of a Preview Service

•  Plan to meet once a month for 4 months until the new church is strong enough to meet weekly.

•  Work as hard as possible to meet as many contacts as possible and invite them to the first preview service. The goal is to get 50 first-time visitors at each ‘once-a-month’ service. Ask strategic people to make short-term commitments to help during the preview phase. The key to the people flow is networking and recruitment. Direct mail is sometimes used as a secondary means to invite people.

•  Your strategy between the ‘once a month’ services focuses on 3 areas:
o   Follow-up the 50 first-time attenders through letters, personal contacts and mid-month assimilation events;
o   Find the next 50 contacts to invite to your next service;
o   Motivate and enlist new workers for the following month.

•  Use your coach to work closely with your team to develop the plan and to network with nearby Covenant pastors and churches to provide ‘ministry muscle’. Ideally seek between two and six churches in the larger area that will take ownership in the new church, through special offerings, networking of their contacts in that community and providing specific ministry teams for the preview services.
o   Enlist a prayer team using personal contacts and supporting churches.

Option for the Leaf-Development Preview Service Strategy

The GOAL is to gather More Lives
And to add the large-group structure to the smaller “house to house” structure
And the challenge is to DO BOTH AT THE SAME TIME.

The Standard Way of doing this was developed by the ECC for Bayside Covenant in Sacramento, CA.  See Addendum #1 near the end of this chapter.
However, this standard model can be complicated when there are contextual needs to have something for weekly worship.  In many urban and ethnic environments, alternating between one monthly worship and then going back to a small group is difficult.  Certain settings may need to use the option described at the end of the chapter – consult with your coach. See Addendum #3 near the end of this chapter. 

  Using the standard Preview Plan or the Alternate in the Addendum:
Talk as a team with your coach about how your team will plan for worship services during this Stage.



Look at the “Growth-Marks” on pages 2-3 and the Developmental Goals and Time-line at the end and talk about the implications for your plant.



2. You will understand how to grow healthy ministries for your church plant through large group venues, through small group venues, and by offering outreach opportunities.

3-Point Range: Gathering, Building, Outreach
Talk about the following 3 questions
1. What spiritual gifts and ministry results are best seen in temple court ministry rather than in house to house ministry?  Which people on our team have these gifts?

2. What spiritual gifts and ministry results are best seen in house to house ministry rather than in temple court ministry?  Which people on our team have these gifts?

3. Look at the following chart tracking “Temple Courts” and “House to House” ministries as they develop over the 4-stages.

Generally gathering ministries and building ministries will happen in the two various structures of Large Group and House-to-House. 

Root Development – Launch Team Development Ministries     Outeach

10% Temple Courts             Gathering
90% House to House             Building

Leaf Development – Preview Services

25% Temple Courts             Gathering
75% House to House             Building

Branch Development

50% Temple Courts             Gathering
50% House to House             Building

Fruit Development

50% Temple Courts             Gathering
50% House to House             Building

TEAM APPLICATION:  In Leaf Development, what will you do to Gather, what will you do to Build, and what will you do for Outreach?

3. You will schedule a healthy development balance for each month while you’re in this stage

Week 1, Sept 7: Gathering Event - Preview #1 with a good meal afterward

Week 2, Sept 14: Core Group Meeting - Bible Study

Week 3, Sept 21: Assimilation Event - Picnic or Outreach

Week 4, Sept 28: Core Group Meeting - Bible Study

Week 5, Oct 5: Gathering Event - Preview #2 with a barbeque and bounce-house



- As a team (and with your coach) turn to the TimeLine at the End of the Chapter and Draw a continuous WWWW over the 4 months for your “Leaf Development.”

- Start with your first Preview Service and write the date down; then write the dates down for the subsequent events
  - Launch Team (Core Group) meetings
  - Assimilation Events
  - Preview Services
  - Outreach Events

Planning Schedule for Stage 2, Month 1

Month ____________

Week 1 date__________
Host a gathering event
Personal Evangelism
Meet people/prospects

Week 2 __________
Servant Evangelism or
serving the community
Launch Team meets
Meet people/prospects
Personal Evangelism

Week 3 __________
Gathering Event
Personal Evangelism
Meet people/prospects

Week 4 __________
Launch Team meets
Personal Evangelism
Serving the Community
Meet people/prospects



Stage 2, Month 2

Month ____________
(repeat month 1)

Week 1 ___________


Week 2 ___________



Week 3 ___________



Week 4 ___________






Stage 2, Month 3

Month ___________

Week 1 ___________
Host a gathering event
Personal Evangelism
Meet people/prospects
Build ministry teams
Work on Agenda Harmony

Week 2 ___________
Launch Team Meeting
Servant Evangelism
Meet people/prospects
Personal Evangelism

Week 3 ___________
Personal Evangelism
Meet people/prospects
Build ministry teams
Work on Agenda Harmony

Week 4 ___________
Launch Team Meeting
Servant Evangelism
Meet people/prospects
Personal Evangelism



Stage 2, Month 4

Month ____________
(repeat month 3)

Week 1 ____________



Week 2 ____________



Week 3 ____________



Week 4 ____________




The Leaf Development Monthly Cycle

***  GOAL: Get 50 new people to attend each preview service   ***

Check out the potential in each different fishing pool by asking 3 questions:

1.  How many can the church planter and spouse get there through their personal networking? (for example, 10 people)
2.  How many can the core group get there? (Ask them – take that number and divide by 2. For example, they say 40, you plan for 20)
3.  How many do you need to get through impersonal invitations? (Direct Mail, newspapers, radio, etc.) Use expected response ratios to plan for the remaining needed. (e.g. if you need 20 more new people, the rule in direct mail is one new family checking you out for every 1000 brochures, so you will need to send out 8,000 brochures, assuming 2.5 people per family)

Additional ideas:

1.  Every month gets harder to get 50 new people. Work relational networks as hard as possible at first, saving up impersonal invitations for later if possible.
2.  New attenders often have the best network potential. Provide invitation resources for them.
3.  Momentum is a key. Going backwards in numbers and quality is not helpful!

***Try to Assimilate as Many of those 50 New People into your Launch Team***

Hold an assimilation event 7 – 14 days after your preview service. Assimilation events are easy-to-attend social events that help people personally connect with each other and the group. New people have different ‘adopter’ rates – in a church plant some are early adopters, an equal number are middle adopters and there will be a few late adopters. Recognize this – pull, but don’t push. For many people, it will take two, three or four Preview Services and a few other events before they are ‘on-board’.

Many churches will also have a meal or fun-time immediately after their Preview Service, so you do Two Assimilation events per month.

4. You will understand how to expand your ministry teams and leadership base.

3-Point Range: The Ideal New Church %’s and Development Paths

A. The Curious Seeker 33%

Who are these people, how do they get connected to your church, and how do you develop them spiritually?

•  Evangelism Path (Normal and Natural)
•  Assimilation Path
•  New Believer Path

B. The Casual Christian   33%

Who are these people, how do they get connected to your church, and how do you develop them spiritually?

•  Spiritual Growth
•  Relational Connection
•  Personal Discipleship
•  Acts of Service

C. The Committed Christian 33%

Who are these people, how do they get connected to your church, and how do you develop them spiritually?

•  Leadership Training
•  Agenda Harmony
•  Spiritual Recharging


What are the %’s and Spiritual Development pathways you have for each of the 3 groups in your plant.

How can you help establish these as user-friendly, normal and natural pathways?




Ministry Team Development:
At this stage, you need to begin to pull together at least 4 of the 5 Key Ministry Teams.  Note: there will be more on Ministry Team Development in the next chapter.

1.  Worship Team – as you plan for larger worship venues

2.  Kids Team – to care for kids and help learn about God’s Word and God’s Love

3.  Outreach Team –  to recruit people to join you in

a.  Incarnational Outreach
b.  Attractional Outreach

4.  Connection/Assimilation Team – to figure out how to develop a pathway for people who come to your worship gatherings so they can increasingly connect with

a.  Christ and His Word
b.  The Church and It’s Mission

5.  Small Groups/Christian Formation – to create discipleship pathways and pastoral care settings

a.  While you may begin to split into 2 small groups at this point, for some this happens in the next phase.
b.  Don’t forget to find ways for each of the 5 ministry teams to have some kind of “small group experience” where there is prayer, fellowship/fun, and some kind of biblical study of the purpose for your group.

TIP:  Some plants will continue to gather their “Launch Team” and also have “Ministry Team Meetings.”  Here’s what it could look like (often starting with some food and fellowship)

Worship with a few songs.
Inspire where the church planter teaches from God’s Word and focuses on the current challenge ahead.
Thanksgiving where the people are thanked and stories of life-change are told.
Huddle in Ministry Teams.  (note: those attending for the first time can either meet with the pastor to find out more about the church; or, they can be encouraged to sit-in and check-out the Ministry Team they’re most interested in).

PRAYER Close with prayer and (possibly) more worship. 
Idea on Prayer – split the people up into triplets and have each one share one prayer concern and one person that they plan on inviting to the church (or one person God wants them to touch with His love) – then PRAY… 

TEAM APPLICATION:  How will Ministry Team Development work for you?
Leadership Development:  THE PAT = Pastors Advisory Team
From Church Planting Landmines byTom Nebel and Gary Rohrmayer

Because you don’t know who really buys into you and into the specific vision of the church plant and because you don’t know the character or spiritual leadership of your growing core team, here are key principles:
1.  Multiple leadership phases are recommended before the official leaders are elected.  (We don’t want the “cement to set” too early – we want to continue to mix in new people.  Or, to change the metaphor, we want to keep more lives developing and feeding new life to the growth of the church.)
2.  Church-sounding nomenclature should be avoided.
3.  Titles which imply permanence (such as “board”) should be avoided.  Don’t give titles, instead invite people to get involved in ministry.
4.  A clear purpose and time-frame for each phase must exist.
5.  A changing of the guard must occur at each phase.  Many new leaders will come with future growth.  They’re not all there at the start.
a.  You can find some leaders from outside your core in the first two phases.  This is particularly helpful if you don’t have many leaders to choose from at the outset.  Some of these outside leaders (or advisors) could be a trusted friend of the planter, another church planter or pastor in the area, missional leaders from the parent/partner churches.
b.  The multi-phase approach can allow middle adopters to get into leadership; since they often will not be willing in the earliest stage.
6.  Be looking for spiritual fruit and specific giftedness from individuals at each phase.  Use an annual evaluation of leaders to help determine fruitfulness and help them know what is expected.  (see end)  Don’t be hasty in the laying of hands…  I Timothy 5:22

Phase I: PAT – the Pastor’s Advisory Team
-  to help the planter make key decisions up until the Launch of the Church (phase 4 of the 4-stage launch)
-  included in this group is someone who will work as the financial assistant to write checks and make financial reports.
-  included also is someone who will tally the offerings (with another volunteer) and make deposits.

When you get to Launch (Phase 4 in the 4-stage Launch), you will move from the PAT to the TLT (Transitional Leadership Team).

How will you apply this for your plant?


Addendum #1: A Case Study
The History of the First Preview Service Ever!!

Granite Bay is in the east suburbs of Sacramento. With a population of about 15,000, it had very few churches, each with little spiritual impact. Located directly west is Roseville, another growing community with a population of 55,000. Although a number of church plants have prospered in Roseville, that city was highly unchurched as well.

The key obstacle was limited contacts in Granite Bay, and none in Roseville. Five Covenant churches were interested in helping, but none were able to commit many resources to this church plant.  We had an excellent church planter available to help part-time, but little else. Where should we begin?

We decided to start with the age-old strategy of ‘pray and plan.’  So in October 1994, we held a Core Group Development prayer meeting. We invited any contact we had who would come and pray for the starting of this new church. 22 adults and one 12 year boy came. After a relatively lackluster meeting, it was closed by an invitation to pray. The 12 year old led out. “Dear God, help my dad to find a job so we can stay here. And help this church to make it, so we will have a church to go to.” His emotion and transparency ignited the meeting, so that when we had finished praying there was a real sense of God’s presence with us.

Yet that key obstacle was still there. There were still hardly any good contacts. After a second prayer meeting in November attracted 43 people, we decided to try a sneak preview service in early December. We were desperate to make networking inroads in the community! A facility seating 80 was secured, word of mouth contacts were worked extensively and 9,000 brochures were sent out inviting people to attend this special Christmas service. Sunday morning came with gloom and showers, yet God surprised us all! 161 people showed up!

For the January service, personal invitations and a direct mail piece led to 235 people attending a Super Bowl Sunday service. There were 72 first time visiting family units! There seemed to be a real vacuum in the Granite Bay / Roseville area for this kind of church. In February, the leadership team decided to not do any external advertising, to see who was really on board. There were over 60 first time visitors through word of mouth and 241 in attendance.

After a fourth preview service in March, Bayside Covenant Church started meeting weekly on Easter Sunday with 403 people in attendance. Attendance settled in at about 220 shortly thereafter.


Addendum #2:  Advantages To A Preview Stage

1. Conserves critical energies of the church planter and core team at the initial stage, so most of the energy can go into people gathering and follow-up.

2. It is a somewhat painless way of enlisting the help of other churches and Christians - low commitment / high impact.

3. It gives the new church a much better option than meeting every Sunday too soon, when you are still too small and weak.

4. It gives visitors a simple, non-threatening way to observe what your church and connect with people.

5. It allows the church planter to demonstrate public ministry skills - often a strong area for many church planters.

Potential Liabilities

1. The new church needs to gain momentum with each preview service. The impression that fewer people are coming each time is not helpful!

2. Every preview service needs to be done with excellence. Count the cost and make sure there is the talent, volunteer bodies and funding to make each one happen well.

3. This model is based on the ability of the church planter to be attractive leader to new people and help them make step-by-step commitments to the new church. Lack of success at this stage will likely indicate poor potential in church planting.

A Warning

Most new churches benefit greatly from a focused effort at leaf development, through beginning a once a month service. Often, well-intentioned launch team members will encourage the group to begin to meet for worship weekly. Resist the temptation! You are too young and too weak to jump into weekly services! You are still growing the launch team! If you do, the new church will find that all the energy of the group will focus on solving system problems created by the stress of meeting weekly. Little energy is left for gathering and relationship building, the two keys to strong leaf development.

There are occasionally cultural settings (for example, some Hispanic church plants) that require an adaptation for the leaf development stage. Changes should only be made in dialogue with your Conference Director of Church Planting and the ECC Director of Church Planting.

Addendum #3: Adaptation of Preview Service

Contextual Example in an Urban Area

•  Back in Stage 1 – weekly Bible Study with light worship

•  Now in Stage 2 – instead of the evening Bible Study, add a once-a-month Preview Service
o   Previews offer a higher worship component
o   Opportunity to invite more people once a month.

•  Then, during the other weeks, go back to Bible Study & light worship.
o   And work to get as many to come back for Bible Study.
o   And begin to recruit these folks for ministry teams and to help with outreach.

Remember –
The GOAL is to double your Launch Team and this is a tried-and-tested method.

This is a helpful way to gather those people who want to see what “church” will look like when it launches.

This is a venue for church planters and their worship leaders – who often have large group gifts.

‘Leaf Development’ Goals, Activities, Benchmarks and Warning Signs

Developmental Goals

1.  Work with Supporting Churches and Contacts to Get Ministry Team Help
2.  Get 50 First-time Visitors to Each Preview Service
3.  Assimilate as Many of Those 50 as Possible
4.  Keep Reconstituting the Core Group / Launch Team
5.  Keep “First Core” People Happy and Motivated
6.  Begin Developing Your Own Indigenous Key Ministries

Most Productive Activities

1.  Work Networks and ‘Get the Word Out’ so 50 New People Come to each ‘Once a Month’ Service
2.  Weave New People In to the Launch Team.
3.  Develop Quality Music, Preaching, and Children’s Ministry for each ‘Once a Month’ Service.
4.  Begin Identifying and Training Workers in the Five Key Areas
5.  Keep Momentum Going in the Right Direction


1.  A Minimum Attendance of 70 - 100 at each month service.
2.  Strong Word of Mouth Continues - Most of the New People are Coming from Personal Invitations.
3.  Fifty New People Assimilated into the Launch Team by the end of Leaf Development.
4.  Financial Record-Keeping Now In-house.
5.  Appropriate Planning for the Five Key Ministries in Branch Development.
6.  Stage Two Details - Facility Contract, Possible Office Location.

Warning Signs

1.  Limited Word of Mouth Visitor Flow – Few New Leaves.
2.  Lack of Resources to Do a Quality ‘Once a Month’ Service.
3.  Few New Attenders Coming to Assimilation Events.
4.  Momentum Going in the Wrong Direction.


DRAFT Strategic Ministry Plan
For Our New Church

1. Theological Basis >>
  2. Spiritual Foundation in Prayer >>
      3. Mission Field - Need of our Area >>
        4. Evangelistic Strategies >>
          5. Our Specific Vision >>
              6. The Strategy of the 4-Stage Launch >>
                Stage 1 - Roots: Launch Team Gathering
                Stage 2 - Leaves: Preview Services
                Stage 3 - Branches: Preparatory Worship
                Stage 4 - Fruit: Launch
                  7. Leadership >>
                      8. Covenant >>
                        9. Finances>>

The Four Stage Launch Strategy: Stage 2 - Leaves: Preview Services
What we will do to achieve the “Growth-marks” for Stage 2 – Preview Services

- How will we contextualize Preview Services?


- How will we Build our Core Ministries?
  Typical core ministries are:
Worship, Kids, Small Groups, Connection (assimilation and hospitality) and Outreach/Evangelism.



Develop a planning calendar for the next 3-4 months.
1 month time frame (repeat this for 3-4 months – to double the Launch Team)
1st week     2nd week         3rd week         4th week
Preview Services   Launch Team     Assimilation     Launch Team
Date_________   date ________     date________     date ________

You will put an overview of the 4-stage Launch strategy in your public Strategic Plan.  This is something that can be shared with prospective Launch Team members and potential major donors.  This will help build confidence.

Category:Phase 2 - Monthly Preview Services
Church Planting Resource Manual