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Church Planting Resources

These resources equip congregational leaders with the tools needed for church planting, or establishing a new congregation. Learn about church planting organizations, networks, grants, and more!


4 Resources
From the Staff From the Staff
The Unique Experience of Church Planting
Church planting is different than establishing satellites, multi-sites, a new worship service or...
Finding the Right Church Plant Model
This article introduces and describes five church-planting models.
web resource
The Association of Religion Data Archives
This web resource, provided by the Association of Religion Data Archives (ARDA), is the best...
This organization provides coaching and assessments to help leaders plant new churches.


Tim Shapiro

Tim Shapiro is the Indianapolis Center’s president. He began serving the Center in 2003 after 18 years in pastoral ministry. For 14 years, Tim served Westminster Presbyterian Church in Xenia, Ohio. Prior to his pastorate at Westminster, he was pastor of Bethlehem Presbyterian Church in Logansport, Indiana. He holds degrees from Purdue University and Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary.

Tim’s interest in how congregations learn to do new things is represented in his book How Your Congregation LearnsAfter his extensive work on the Center’s Sacred Space initiative, Tim co-authored the book Holy Places: Matching Sacred Space with Mission and MessageHe has also authored several articles, including Applying Positive Deviance and The Congregation of Theological Coherence.

Church Planting Organizations

For most congregational leaders, growing and exploring their communities can be a good area of focus, especially for those who are moving to a new local area without an existing congregation. This is where church planting can be so helpful. For those out there who might not know exactly what church planting is yet, there are a few aspects to keep in mind.

Church planting organizations are organizations that help people start a congregation in the local area. Many people grew up going to worship sessions, but they may not necessarily think about exactly where those places came from. And while it can sometimes be hard to believe, there was once a point in time in which that congregation simply did not exist. Someone had to be the first one to decide to found that congregation. And that is exactly where church planting organizations can come in to be of assistance.

These are organizations which have great experience in starting congregations all over the place. It can be challenging to spread word of a new group - and it can be even more challenging to find enough room to build a physical structure. Therefore, people might want to think about relying on specialized third parties that have a high degree of experience in this area. With the help of church planting support organizations, it can be possible for just about anyone to start a congregation.

When people think about congregations, they usually will not think of an organization that needs money to survive. However, even a church needs to bring in enough funding to build a structure and keep the lights on. How is a congregation going to be able to do that? This is yet another area where church planting organizations can be helpful. With enough capital, it is possible to construct a building that can serve as a place of worship while also covering the cost of its utilities, thus enabling the ministry more easily spread their message with its members.

Church Planting Networks

For those who may be looking at starting a congregation for the first time, they might want to make sure they understand what kinds of resources are at their disposal. This is where it can be a good idea to rely on the local religious network. One of the top ways for people to network in the local religious community is to attend church networking events. There are plenty of people who work secular jobs who also preach on the weekends. And much like conferences that take place in industries, there are also conferences that take place in the religious world. This can be a great place for individuals who would like to start a congregation to meet with people and potentially figure out how to get a new group off the ground in their local community.

Enlisting the help of church planting networks in this instance can be a good idea. In some cases, one specific church planting network might not have the resources available to get another congregation off the ground, but they might still know another church planting network that does have those types of resources available. And while it may be a good idea for people looking to start a congregation to ask for donations from the local community, they may have more success in getting larger checks by asking for the help of a church planting network.

Furthermore, congregations that have already started may also rely on the help of a church planting network. Sometimes, people will believe it is going to cost a certain amount of money to start a congregation, when in actuality, it grows to cost even more money than they initially thought. In this aspect, groups that are still relatively young might be able to still rely on the help of church planting networks, if they find themselves needing more capital. That way, they'll be able to successfully keep their doors open and recruit more members to their group.

Church Planting International

There are many congregational leaders who might be interested in spreading word of their organization overseas, as well. This can sometimes present a much bigger challenge. First, there is often a language barrier that may need to be overcome. Second, it can also be a challenge to get enough money out of the United States and then use it to build a congregation in another country. And finally, there might also be other cultural barriers that have to be tackled, in order to recruit people from a foreign country to join a congregation. It may come as good news, however, to hear that there are other resources available that can help people who are looking to start a church overseas. This is where church planting international organizations can be helpful.

There are many international church planting organizations out in the world that have a vast amount of experience in starting a congregation overseas. They might know people in the local area who can help someone get their group off the ground. Even if they do not know specific people in the local area, they might know other international church planting ministry organizations that can help to find land, enlist the help of contractors, and market to the local community.

There are a lot of challenges that come with starting to charge internationally. Some of the key things to consider might include how much the land is going to cost, how big the community is, how many members are anticipated to join, the safety of the local area, and what utilities are going to be like when it comes to things like internet, electricity, water, and gas. In some parts of the world, in fact, these utilities might even be particularly hard to come by. Therefore, a lot of planning may first need to take place, in order to get an international congregation established.

Church Planting Resources

In addition to looking for sources of capital, it may also be a good idea to take a look at other church planting resources. These usually come from existing congregations that are trying to expand and open up other groups in the local area, and it can be a good idea to speak to local leaders from these congregations in order to discover what you can do to build a congregation from the ground up.

Next, it might also be a good idea to read articles online from other people who have had success in starting a congregation, and then try and follow in the footsteps of their success, while also learning from some of the mistakes they made along the way. That way, it is possible to emulate what they did right without making their same mistakes. There are plenty of online resources available that can help someone during the process of building a congregation, and taking some time to plan each step in a detailed manner may place you into a solid position to build a strong foundation.

Church Planting Grants

While relying on the help of people in a local community and church planting networks are both great places to look, there are also some church planting grants that are available. A grant is a significant source of money which can be used for helping to start a congregation or church. Usually, an application process may have to take place, in which someone applies for financial support for church planting, stating their case and explaining why they need this money. It is possible that they might even be competing with other people who are also trying to start a congregation, during this process.

Usually, there are restrictions regarding who can apply for a specific church planting grant. For instance, those who are looking to start a congregation overseas might want to take a closer look at international church planting funds. This is usually money that has been specifically set aside for helping someone who is trying to start a congregation overseas. This can be a significant source of money, and can go a long way toward helping someone get their group off the ground.

Some applications for church planting grants can be particularly detailed. Therefore, it might be a good idea for anyone who is planning on applying for a church planting grant to have other people take a look at the application, as well. That way, they can ensure that they always put their best foot forward, placing themselves into the best possible position to be successful during the application process.

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