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Understanding Covenant Church Planting


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Presentation with Q&A discussion introducing the principles and practices of Covenant Church Planting in Evangelical Covenant Church. Facilitated by Michael Carrion & Jason Condon at Midwinter 2015, Denver CO.

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Understanding Covenant Church Planting

  1. 1. Understanding Covenant 
 Church Planting I. Welcome & Introductions A. Opening 1. Facilitators: Intros… a. Jason R. Condon • Dir. of Church Planting, East Coast Conference • National Church Planting Team • for this handout and other resources • b. Michael Carrion • Church Planting Pastor , Promised Land Covenant Church, Bronx • Church Planting Coach, East Coast Conference 2. Participants: Two Quick Sentences… a. share your name and your church or ministry context b. share why you’re here, what you hope to get out of this time B. Why Church Planting? 1. Every church began as a church plant (including yours!) 2. Biblical expression of the Great Commandment & Great Commission 3. “Planting new churches is the most effective evangelistic methodology known under heaven.”- C. Peter Wagner C. The Top Ten List for Starting New Churches 1. New churches needed as majority of Americans don’t attend church 2. New churches are more effective at conversion growth 3. New churches are the only truly effective way to reach 
 the growing ethnic populations in America 4. New churches are needed to stem tide of ideological moral erosion 5. New churches have historically been the best method for reaching each emerging new generation 6. New churches give a group of connected churches“market share”
 and greater influence in their community 7. New churches grow exponentially faster than established churches 8. New churches are a laboratory for church leadership development 9. New churches are the research & development unit of God’s Kingdom 10. Provide excellent on-the-job training for energetic young pastors | Understanding Covenant Church Planting1 NOTES:
  2. 2. II. Overview | Covenant Church Planting Phases A. Calling: “Am I called to plant… a Covenant Church… at this time?” 1. Recruitment 2. Assessment & Discernment Process 3. Assessment Center B. Training: Preparing Church Planters and Launch Teams 1. Church Planter Training Intensive 2. Launch Team Training Day 3. In Development: Church Planting Certificate Program 
 through North Park Theological Seminary C. Start Strong: Officially Launching as a Covenant Church Plant 1. Prerequisites: 30 Adults, 3rd-Stream Funding, 1 Support Church 2. Well-Conceived Project Plan 3. Covenant Agreement Signing D. Lead Well: “encourage, equip, and multiply church planters 
 for a sustaining church planting movement” 1. Supervision: Primarily the Conference Director of Church Planting 2. Coaching: depending on Conferences and/or context, 
 combo of DCP, Church Planting Coaches, and Peer Coaches 3. Multiplication: Church Plant will Parent or Partner with other churches in the planting of their first church plant 4. Membership: Upon meeting the necessary criteria and missional viability requirements, complete process for becoming a full member congregation in the Evangelical Covenant Church III. Calling | Assessment Process A. Early Phase: Candidate Orientation & Initial Assessment 1. General Information on Covenant Church Planting a. "What Are We Looking For in A Church Planter?" - an overview of what we value in a church planter and his or her ministry b. "Church Planter Identification Process" - overview of how we assess church planters and pursue church planting c. Optional: Conference-specific materials 2. Covenant Compatibility, Core Competencies, & Risk Assessment: a. Online Questionnaire: "Connecting with the ECC”: 
 six short answer questions to respond to as we discern ministry and relational fit between Church Planter and the Covenant b. Online Survey: Church Planter Candidate Assessment • "The Church Planter Candidate Assessment (CPCA) is a statistically validated assessment tool. CPCA provides over 20 reliable scales which accurately measure key church planting characteristics identified by church planting experts. Over half of these scales have proven predictive of specific church growth measures." c. Initial Conversation • in-person meeting, phone call, or video chat • Purpose: answer question,“Why Covenant Church Planting?” 3. DECIDE: determine if process should continue or conclude | Understanding Covenant Church Planting2 NOTES:
  3. 3. B. Middle Phase: Deeper Dynamics & Risk Assessment 1. Ministry & Family Dynamics a. Site Visit • Purpose: “There’s no insight until you’re on-site.” • ideally hear Candidate preach (eventually get digital sample) • observe and interact with who“follows”them • informal“reference checks” b. Candidate & Spouse Meeting • if married, meet with couple together • Purpose: “Is the spouse all in? Is this a healthy possibility?” 2. Additional Leadership Insights & Church Planting Competencies a. Online Survey: Six Christian Leadership Styles, • "There are Six Styles of Christian leaders. Knowing your style will help you understand how God can use your gifts, passions and personality to their fullest - a blueprint to lead as God intended." – Dave Olson, creator b. Preaching/Teaching Sample c. Ministry References: at least two (2) each of 
 boss/supervisor, peer/colleague, direct report/employee 3. DECIDE: determine if process should continue or conclude C. Finalization Phase: Invitation & Confirmation 1. Invitation is a Dual-Process between Covenant & Conference a. Conference: Reviews & Approves Invitation • DCP should feel fairly certain (>75%) candidate will pass • Conference Superintendent clears candidate for invitation • Conference DCP submits Assessment Center Invitation Form b. Covenant Church Planting: Reviews and Approves Finalization 2. Candidate Completes Finalization Assessment Tools: a. Personality Tests, Short essays on Family of Origin & Faith Journey b. Potential Church Planting Project Executive Summary c. Background Check & Disclosure Forms 3. Invitation to Assessment Center a. confirmed upon completion of finalization materials b. Covenant Church Planting extends official invitation 4. 2-Day National Assessment Center a. significant review of prep materials, variety of interviews, personal presentations, and one or more counseling sessions b. Team of Assessors, usually comprised of Conference DCPs, the Covenant DCP, a Christian Counselor, Dept. of Ordered Ministry, and seasoned Church Planters c. DECIDE: Two possible dispositions… • Recommended • Not Recommended What questions or comments do you have about the "Calling” process? | Understanding Covenant Church Planting3 NOTES:
  4. 4. IV. Training | Preparing Church Planters and Launch Teams A. Church Planter Training Intensive: sponsored by Start & Strengthen Churches, training done by select group of DCPs & Planters 1. Goal: make church planters expert and able to train in the entire church planting process so that the Church Planter can then lead and train his or her entire launch team more effectively 2. Invited:“Recommended”church planters only 3. Format: 5 days of intensive training on principles, techniques, tools, 
 4-Stage model, coaching, and more; held twice each year with 15-30 church planters, National Church Planting Team, Adjunct Trainers (seasoned planters), Conference DCPs, and Coaches 4. Example: B. Launch Team Training Days: Conference-sponsored event 1. Goal: Train entire Launch Teams in one day with the principles and practices of Covenant Church Planting, so as many as possible are excited and equipped to fully support the planting pastor and each other in the launch of their new church 2. Invited: entire Launch Team of a new church planting project 3. Format: 1 day, includes lunch; presentations & extensive team time; the Church Planter, DCP, and any Coaches lead the training 4. Examples: What questions or comments do you have about Training? V. Start Strong | Launching Healthy Missional Churches A. Prerequisites for Covenant Agreement Signing 1. 30 Adults: initial Launch Team in place, which will continue to grow and develop towards the full launch of the church plant 2. 1/3rd Funding: commitments in place for approximately one-third of the external funding (matched 2:1 by the Covenant & Conference) 3. 1 Support Church: At least one Parent, Partner, or Mission Friend Church directly involved in supporting the launch of the new church
 (plus any additional Conference-specific tasks & administrative prep) B. Project Planning & Covenant Agreement 1. Well-Conceived Project Plan: works with DCP to craft strategic plan 2. Normal & Natural Pathways (full doc a
 The following five questions helps the church planter think strategically about what they hope to accomplish in the lives of people as a result of the ministry: 3. In this new church, what are the normal and natural pathways for… a. Making Disciples that are maturing in Christ b. Evangelizing People so they come to a transforming faith in Jesus c. Reproducing Leaders that effectively lead, serve, and multiply d. Instilling a Stewardship Culture of generosity, sacrifice, faithfulness e. Multiplying Churches that are healthy, missional, and reproduce 4. Covenant Agreement signed by Church Planter, Conference, & Covenant; outlines expectations, parties, resources, key benchmarks | Understanding Covenant Church Planting4 NOTES: Support Church Categories: Parent Church • Think“Mom & Dad” • Provide initial 30 Launch Team member, 3rd-stream funding of $50-70k over 3-4 years. Significant relational connections & collaboration • Primarily nearby mission field, full support, fishing license for Launch Team, bless & celebrate Partner Church • Think“grandparents”&“older brothers & sisters” • Provide support in range of 1/2 to 1/5 of similar“parenting”efforts • Regional mission, seek to“tithe” members, tangible support, short-term missionaries Mission Friend • Think“aunts, uncles, 
 and cousins” • Meaningful commitment to tangibly support through prayer, resources, volunteering, and the occasional celebrated Launch Team member • Measurable healthy missional efforts,“picture on the fridge”, care packages, volunteers
  5. 5. 5. Key Highlights from Covenant Agreement: a. Funding: 3 Major Sources + 1 extra source: 
 1/3 Conference, 1/3 Covenant, 1/3 Parent or Partner Churches,
 + Planter required to do personal fund-raising (if no official Parent/ Partners, church planter must do significant fund-raising) b. planters must do monthly reports and send in Mission Giving to Conference & Covenant before appropriation checks are released c. expected by year 3 or 4 to have 225 in worship attendance and be financially self-sufficient by time church goes off appropriations d. expected to parent or partner in planting a church by year 5 What questions or comments do you have about 
 Prerequisites, Project Planning, and Covenant Agreements? C. Four-Stage Launch Overview 1. Purpose: build missional momentum and effectiveness, 
 while having“permission”to focus and pace yourselves accordingly 2. Key Metrics: Each stage is 3-4 months with clear benchmarks a. Discipling Relationships: Those who are intentionally receiving discipleship, with the commitment to disciple others when ready, for the ongoing reproduction of disciple-making disciples b. Launch Team Members: Specifically asked to commit to launch, the reliable leaders and hard workers, can count on each other c. Worship Attendance: Through prayer, evangelism, invitation, events, marketing, follow-through, and more, reach or surpass goals for each stage d. Key Ministries: Develop key ministries such as Worship, Children, Hospitality, Follow-up & Connection, Small Groups, Evangelism & Outreach. Improve“letter grades”throughout each stage 3. Example of a Suggested Launch Timeline & Benchmarks KEY: DR = Discipling Relationships, LT = LaunchTeam Members, WA =Worship Attendance, KM = Key Ministries Quality Letter Grade D. Stage 1: Launch Team Development (3-4 months) 1. Goals: gathering like-minded, missionally-motivated people into a healthy team that will show up and get it done 2. Team Mix: a. Roughly 1/3rd each: Committed Christians, 
 Unchurched Christians, New Christians/Seekers b. reflective of target population (multi-ethnic, 18-30 yr-olds, etc.); c. balanced gifting (musical, kids, hospitality, admin, etc.) 3. Benchmarks: a. minimum 30 committed, gifted adults b. 50% of Launch Team from new contacts c. planter is seen as the legitimate leader of the group d. increasing number of people contacted, coming, and connecting with the group with growing enthusiasm STAGE: LaunchTeam
 Development PreviewWorship/ MinistryDev. SoftLaunch/ WeeklyWorship HardLaunch/
 “GrandOpening” Post-Launch1: Depth&Stability Post-Launch2:
 NewOutreach&Growth Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul DR: 6 8 10 12 14 20 ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? LT: 30 40 50 55 60 65 70 70 75 75 75 75 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A WA: N/A N/A N/A 80 100 120 90 110 125 150 130 130 130 135 135 160 140 140 140 KM: N/A C C+ B- B B B+ B+ B+ A- A- A- A A A A A A A | Understanding Covenant Church Planting5 NOTES:
  6. 6. 4. Launch Team Landmines a. tasks not titles; process not promises b. faithfulness and fruitfulness need to be demonstrated c. Three“highly”types of people to watch for: • highly controlling - simply don’t put up with, out-counsel • highly needy - direct them to care (be extra-mindful of own pastoral care capacity, especially during this stage) • highly missional - engage, enlist, and invest in fully d. Guard against:“Insiders”&“Outsiders”; 
 Nurture & Balance:“Family”&“Friends” E. Stage 2: Preview Worship/Ministry Development (3-4 months) 1. Goals: gathering more people to the new church, developing effective ministry systems, practicing what you’ll become, accelerating growth, continue to build momentum 2. Benchmarks: a. 50 new people attending each preview service b. strong word-of-mouth: over half of guests from personal invitation c. double size of the Launch Team d. 75-125 at each monthly worship service (momentum building) 3. The‘W’(a key feature of Stage 2) a. for most, gathered worship is the high-bandwidth high point of their experience of God and his community at a new church b. but there’s a tension, especially early on, as also need depth with Launch Team development, training, and small group experience c. yet both“extremes”can overshoot many types of people you hope to reach, so also need a more accessible middle ground d. Repeating Cycle: each one is“open”, invite to and during each gathering (as appropriate, depending on readiness of person) e. Suggested Rhythm: • Worship: music, message, related key ministries, vision casting, evangelistic call, a vital invite opportunity to invite to the following weeks (invite at each different gathering as well) • Launch Team Mtg 1: orientation, bible study, vision-casting • Gathering Event: picnic, bbq, service project, bowling, etc. • Launch Team Mtg 2: prep key ministry teams for next Preview • Worship: like week 1, only improved upon, more new people F. Stage 3: Soft Launch/Weekly Worship (3-4 months) 1. Natural continuation of Stage 2, with some freedom to still tweak, improve, and overhaul as needed; church is very much acting“as if”
 (plus, people are more forgiving when it’s labeled“Pre-Launch”:) 2. Goals: a. develop more strength and structure through vital ministry teams and effective systems b. strengthen and improve your Key Ministries c. strengthen gathering and growing prior to Launch d. increasing outreach and evangelistic efforts 
 (present from start, but now shifting toward higher priority) e. develop leadership and volunteers f. finalize Grand Opening Launch Strategy | Understanding Covenant Church Planting6 NOTES: Wk 1: 
 Preview Worship Wk 2: Launch Team Mtg Wk 3: Connection Event Wk 5:
 Worship Wk 4: Launch Team Mtg MONTH 1 MONTH 2 …
  7. 7. 3. Benchmarks: a. minimum of 80 in the weekly services (“75 is the enemy!”) b. quality of Key Ministries improving from B to B+/A- c. increasing number of people serving in ministry teams d. 50% of adults in small groups G. Stage 4: Hard Launch/“Grand Opening”(3-4 months) 1. Goal: launching strong (qualitative), launching large (quantitative), letting the entire community know we’re here! Help assure sustainability and growing Missional Impact for future generations 2. Benchmarks a. Launch past 125 in Worship, stay above 125 throughout b. Key Ministries with letter grades at B+/A- c. Great facility that can accommodate growth to 200+ d. Seeing increasing numbers of people coming to Christ e. Healthy Mix: 1/3 mission-minded, 1/3 formerly de-churched, 1/3 formerly un-churched 3. Net Growth = (Visitor Flow x Retention Rate) – Backdoor Loss
 crucial to pay attention to each of these variables to help identify what’s working and what needs improvement, and not focus on the wrong areas H. Four Scenarios for Application & Adaptation of 4-Stage Launch 1. New Church Plant: from scratch, no pre-existing ministry or group 2. “2.0”Church Plant: pre-existing ministry, new to the Covenant, ranging from soft relaunch to hard reset 3. New Campus: extending church’s pre-existing ministry to a 
 brand-new location using principles of church planting 4. New Worship Service: multiplying the church’s ministry footprint through duplicating worship services, ranging from identical to completely different. Church planting principles can be very helpful I. Cautions & Common Mistakes 1. New Church Plants (sometimes others): a. go too fast, skimp on key components b. downplay or ignore benchmarks 2. “2.0”Church Plants (sometimes others): a. assume“regular attenders”= Launch Team b. don’t make the“hard asks” c. don’t revisit foundational principles 3. Discipleship-Centric (sometimes others): a. downplay or disregard role of“gatherings”and medium- to larger- group dynamics b. subdued or absent pursuit of faithful & fruitful“sustainability” within the model c. confusing“organic”with lack of structure, goals, and godly effort What questions or comments do you have about the 4-Stage Launch process? | Understanding Covenant Church Planting7 NOTES:
  8. 8. VI.Lead Well | Covenant, Conference, and Local Church A. Missional Leadership & Ministry Stewardship 1. The pastor will lead and serve in reaching and discipling many for Christ in the church plant’s city and surrounding region 2. The pastor will attend to the overall faithfulness and fruitfulness of the ministry in both qualitative and quantitative measures. With required monthly reports and sharing with Coaches, Cohorts, and the DCP, the pastor will celebrate, assess, and seek accountability in this pursuit. B. Supervision, Coaching, and Cohorts 1. Primary supervision is provided by the Conference DCP, serving under his or her Superintendent and Conference Executive Board 2. A primary Coach shall be provided to the project for the first 3 years, and in years 4 and 5 as needed 3. Some Conferences also regularly gather Church Planters together for training, resourcing, and encouragement. Examples include: a. East Coast: Three Regional Cohorts - New England Cohort, NY/NJ Metro Cohort, Mid-Atlantic Cohort b. Northwest: All-Conference - Church Planter’s Connection C. Mission Giving 1. 10% of local tithes and offerings will be contributed to our shared mission in the Covenant a. 6% for the shared ministry of the Evangelical Covenant Church b. 4% for the shared ministry of the Regional Conference 2. This commitment is a requirement to receive monthly appropriations and shall continue for the life of the church 3. Mission Giving commitments must be fulfilled prior to the church adopting additional mission commitments D. Stewardship & Sustainability: 
 Congregational & Financial Goals by end of each project year 1. Year 1: 130 in worship attendance, 33% progress towards Financial Self-sufficiency 2. Year 2: 160, 66% progress towards Financial Self-sufficiency 3. Year 3: 190, 100% financially self-sufficient by end of Appropriations 4. Year 4: 220, 105%, preserving or using surplus for parenting or partnering in church planting 5. Year 5: 250, 110%, using surplus for parenting or partnering in church planting E. Multiplication & Membership: 
 Furthering the Shared Mission in Years 4-5 1. Church Planting: Parent or Partner with other churches in the planting of your first church plant 2. Member Church. Upon meeting the necessary criteria and missional viability requirements, complete process for becoming a full member congregation in the Evangelical Covenant Church | Understanding Covenant Church Planting8 NOTES:
  9. 9. F. 30-60-90 Project Revitalization Process With a shared commitment to a thriving and flourishing church plant, and a belief in the faithful stewardship of kingdom resource, we put in place this process. When a church planting project falls significantly short of healthy missional benchmarks (qualitative, quantitative, or both), the following process is in place with the prayerful hope of fully restoring the project to its missional vitality. 1. Initiating | Missed Benchmarks & Missional Renewal
 When the DCP or Coach determines that any crucial benchmarks have been missed for two (2) consecutive months, they and the church planter will prayerfully and purposefully initiate the following project revitalization process 2. 30 Days | Action Plan for Healthy Recovery of Project a. Planter has 30 days to create an action plan that has a credible chance for success b. The DCP, Coach, and a select group of church planting peers meet with the planter to develop, review, and approve initial action plan c. Progress Milestone • If a suitable plan is not developed and approved, the church planting project will conclude • If a plan is approved, planter and project will continue with next stage of the process 3. 60 Days | Measurable Progress toward Missional Goals a. Having successfully completed the first 30 days of the plan, the planter now has 60 days to demonstrate significant progress towards the specified benchmarks and missional markers b. The DCP, Coach, and select group of church planting peers will review implementation, provide encouragement and resourcing, and determine if suitable progress is being made c. Progress Milestone • If measurable progress is not on track to reach renewed goals, the project will conclude • If measurable progress is on track, planter and project will continue with final stage of process 4. 90 Days | Full Recovery of Healthy Missional Vitality a. Having successfully completed the previous 60 days of the plan, the planter now has 90 days to reach and maintain the outlined requirements of the renewed project goals b. The DCP, Coach, and select group of church planting peers will review implementation, provide encouragement and resourcing, and determine if renewed goals have been reached and sustained c. Progress Milestone • If the renewed goals are not reached and sustained, the church plant project will conclude • If the renewed goals are achieved and sustained, the planter and project will have successfully demonstrated healthy missional leadership and the continued growth and sustainability of the church planting endeavor to which God has called them Closing Q&A | Wrap-Up
 | Understanding Covenant Church Planting9 NOTES:
  10. 10. VII.Resources & Bonus Materials A. Contact Info for Jason: • • (860) 479-2020 • B. Web Resources: 1. a) this is where Jason posts many of the materials and resources for our East Coast Conference church planting efforts, as well as many of our National Covenant Church Planting materials b) Find handouts, audio, and other materials from our monthly cohort gatherings, training events, teachings, and more 2. a) simple resource site compiled by Directors of Church Planting across Covenant - not pretty, tons of good (some“classic”) content! b) Includes entire Church Planting Resource Manual - church planters are expected to thoroughly study and adapt from the manual 3. a) created by, an Evangelical Covenant Church (along with a host of other great digital tools) b) free for any church, easily collect, track, and visualize key metrics C. Some Books: 1. Planting Missional Churches: Your Guide to Starting Churches (2nd Edition), by Ed Stetzer and Daniel Im 2. Viral Churches: Helping Church Planters Become Movement Makers, by Ed Stetzer and Warren Bird (2010) 3. Exponential: How You and Your Friends Can Start a Missional Church Movement, by Dave Ferguson and Jon Ferguson (2010) 4. Planting Fast-Growing Churches, by Stephen Gray (2007) 5. Influencer [online notes:] - this is easily one of my favorite books, heavily influences (heh) my strategy in the DCP role 
 (a good companion book: D. Ten Church Planting Maxims 
 (especially for the planter, but good for everyone involved) 10. You will be broken 9. Plant behind the plow. Prayer is the plow. 8. People are polite (*cough* lie) - don’t just believe them :-) 7. 75 is the enemy 6. You can’t plant from behind a desk (or computer screen!) 5. There’s no magic bullet 4. God is in the vision – the devil is in the details 
 (so don’t ignore the details and derail the vision) 3. Its the relational – not the technical 2. Isolation kills – connection gives life 1. It’s a God thing! | Understanding Covenant Church Planting10 NOTES: