“It’s about mission not survival,”says Steve Pike the head of the Assemblies of God’s Church Multiplication Network that is on track to plant 365 churches in North America in 2011. Steve is an experienced church planter and dynamic leader whose hunger for starting new churches is infectious.
I called Steve because Pentecostalism remains one of, if not the, fastest growing expressions of Christianity in the world. And a big reason is due to its commitment to starting new communities. Sure, four of every ten church plants will not survive, but the emphasis on church planting energizes these faith communities like few other things. In my interview Steve gives us some candid words about what works, what doesn’t, and what declining churches need to keep in mind to turn the ship around.
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The A/G’s Church Multiplication Network takes church planting very seriously. There’s even a button on the website that says ‘Start A Church.’ Of course it’s not that easy, but the passion for church planting it betrays is inspiring. Here are my notes from the interview:
Seminary Training vs Personality Traits
Advanced seminary training does not always translate to effective church planting. Steve describes a minister selection process that concentrates more on a person’s particular gifts and qualities (13) than their aptitude for graduate study because, as he says, too much education can distance ministers from the ‘real people’ in the pews.
Many Church Plants Don’t Survive
Steve says about 40% of A/G church plants fail, often because they’ve started too soon, before the groundwork of a firm foundation was laid.
Church Planting Helps Congregations Grow
When churches decide that part of their mission is to plant new churches, Steve says it energizes the existing congregation and actually leads to more growth.
About Steve Pike
Steve’s passion for church planting began in 1989 when Steve and his wife Cherri, along with their two children, answered God’s call to plant a church in Utah. During the 90’s they were privileged to see the church grow to a family of over 400 attendees that helped to plant five additional churches in Utah. In January 2006, Steve was selected to lead Assemblies of God church planting efforts in the United States and currently serves as National Director for the Church Multiplication Network (CMN). CMN collaborates with church multipliers to equip, fund and network new faith communities in America. Since 2006 the Assemblies of God has invested $4 million directly into local church plants and has planted over 1500 churches across the United States.
Books Steve Recommends
Viral Churches – by Ed Stetzer
Parent Church Landmines - Ben Inglebretson and Tom Nebel
Multi-site Churches: Guidance for the Movement¹s Next Generation - Scott McConnell
A Multi-site Church Revolution - Geoff Surratt, Greg Ligon and Warren Bird
Sponsors I Mentioned
Church Post – If you are looking to improve your church’s communications you’ve got to check out this great email platform. I’ve found it easy-to-use, reliable, and John, Debra and Kim are great to work with.
Wistia – If you’re still hosting your videos at YouTube or another ‘free’ video sharing site you know the drawbacks. Wistia helps me put out great looking videos and see who’s watching for how long. The Wistia staff is easy to work with and very professional.
The Grow My Church Store – Everything from mugs to pens to fridge magnets, this is a promotional products store aimed at helping churches become closer communities, more hospitable, and welcoming. I started this store and shop there often because I couldn’t find anywhere else to go for these products.