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View Parenting Plusses

Parenting Plusses for Your Congregation

How Helping Plant a New Church Positively Impacts the Sponsor Churches
by Dr. Larry Sherman
Associate Superintendent/Director of Church Planting
Great Lakes Conference of Covenant Churches

“Parenting” is big in Evangelical circles.  Whole organizations and seminars are devoted to parenting.  My wife is a veteran teacher in the public schools.  She will tell you that the difference between success and failure for most children is the involvement of parents in their children’s education.
Parenting is God’s way of giving children the best chance for healthy spiritual, moral and physical growth.  He wants children placed in the context of a nurturing family.  What works for the human family also works best for the family of God.
Parenting is the best way of planting churches.  Of course, some churches wonder if they can handle the “cost” of parenting.  Parenting does cost something – but the joy of seeing your off-spring thrive and have an impact for the kingdom of God more than makes up for the cost.
In the human family, estimates are that it now costs $200,000 or more to raise a child through college.  Some families spend nearly $500,000.  In the Covenant family, we have done estimates as well.  We have found that it costs $100,000 of ‘outside’ support to start a new church.  This financial support comes from three sources: the Covenant, the Conference, and the sponsoring church(es).  Another way of thinking of it is that your extended family helps you with the financial costs of raising your child.
Other “costs” to the parent church include giving people to form the mission team for the new church.  In looking at dozens of parented projects all around the Covenant, from various-sized churches, we have found that an average of 7% of the attendance goes to be a part of the church plant.  On average, that percentage is restored to the parent church within a year.  And we’ve found cases where the parent church receives an increase in attendance.  This happens because some people are attracted to a church that is willing to be involved in evangelism in this way.  Also, the parent church is challenged by the evangelistic enterprises of their “off-spring”
– just like our children help us try new things and thereby expand our vision.  The kingdom impact is that after a year, there are many more people in Covenant churches – and many of these are new believers.  In fact, our new churches are very adept at making new converts.

Per 100 attenders per year:
-  the average Evangelical church sees 3 people come to Christ,
-  the average Evangelical Covenant church sees 6-7 conversions,
-  the average ECC plant sees 12 conversions,
-  and the average GLC plant saw 42 conversions in 2004.
We also find that parented projects are very healthy.  On average, newly-parented churches have 200-350 in attendance after 5 years.  Whereas, churches started by the denomination in an area where there are no other Covenant Churches average 50 in attendance after 5 years.
Next year – or perhaps during the next five years – your church may sense God’s call to be involved in parenting a new congregation.  It’s the best way to plant churches – and it’s a great way to expand God’s kingdom.  I’d encourage your leadership to begin praying about this and planning for this.  We’d be happy to help you think about this – give us a call.

Category:Parenting - Churches Planting Churches