This is part one in a two-part series.
In the work of multiplying disciples, leaders, and churches, there’s a role for everybody–and for every body. When it comes to multiplying churches, some do the sending and some are the sent ones.
Last March, after over a year of intentional preparation and even more time spent praying, dreaming, and planning, First Evangelical Free Church in Maplewood sent out Capital City Church to the West Seventh Neighborhood in St. Paul. The goal: to reach more people with the Gospel than they at First Free Maplewood could reach otherwise. This was due to no deficiency on the part of First Free or its members. On the contrary: it was due to their Kingdom mindset. They realized that people are unique and that Christ’s Body gathers in different locations in different ways–and that this is good.
Sending out a church plant to reach more people with the Gospel is no small task for a sending church, but it is a labor of love. Learning how to support a church planter and team takes patience, communication, and sacrifice, and First Free committed themselves to these things, making room in their budgets, their leadership, and their hearts for what God would have them do.
There’s a cost to church multiplication, and while sending out a team of people can cause a change in a congregation’s dynamics or culture, First Free’s experience with that was minimal, as was the vacuum of church leadership that some churches experience when multiplying. First Free gave much to help Capital City plant–emotionally, financially, and otherwise–God also blessed them in unique ways as well, removing their anxiety and growing their focus on outreach in their own context. God opened doors for more people to use their giftings, for people who wouldn’t otherwise have leadership opportunities to lead, and for His resources to be stewarded as He would have them be.
Now, seven months later, First Free is already looking on the horizon for what God would have them do next, both in their own Kingdom niche and in where they could send a church next. Their advice to those considering church multiplication? Don’t hesitate; don’t be afraid of stepping out in faith. Would you join them in praying, in seeking God’s leading for where He wants His Church and His churches to go?
Special thanks to Pastor Todd Olson of First Evangelical Free Church in Maplewood for sharing his thoughts on sending out Capital City Church.