By Steve Cordle
“I think you’d make a good church planter.”
I was surprised when a fellow pastor said that to me. I had never before considered the idea of planting, yet it turned out that God was in it.
If the idea of planting a church with the Global Methodist Church has crossed your mind, I invite you to explore it. You do not need to wait for an invitation from a bishop or a presiding elder in order to do so. Rest assured, you won’t be alone; scores of pastors and lay persons are expressing interest and taking first steps.
And you won’t be alone because The River Network, as a strategic partner of the Global Methodist Church, will also come alongside you. Leaders at The River Network provide three essential steps for prospective church planters: assessment, training, and coaching. While it is possible to start a Global Methodist congregation without taking these steps, research shows success is much more likely if planters engage in all three.
The approach of the River Network’s leaders is, “You can do it, we can help.” We won’t advocate for a particular model of church plant; that is up to you and God. We want to empower you to fulfill the vision God has given you. Some may pursue a house church model; others will aim to launch large. Others will target a unique people or language group. We celebrate all forms of Christ-centered, Wesleyan churches. We will encourage full-time, bi-vocational, and lay church planters.
Where does one begin in the planting process?
If you are a pastor interested in planting:
- Contact us at The River Network at info@TheRiverNetwork.org.
We will respond and set up an initial conversation.
- Complete an assessment.
An assessment helps determine a leader’s readiness to plant. It can pinpoint strength and growth areas.
The River’s assessment is a two-stage process: a written inventory and an interview. The written assessment can take 2-3 hours and can be accessed at The River Network Church Planter Assessment.
When completed, the results are registered with our team. We will then set up an interview with you and your spouse, if you are married. Together we will review your assessment findings and discuss God’s call in more detail.
- Get trained.
The River Network will sponsor a variety of training events in the months to come, and you can attend them at any time (the assessment is not a requirement to attend the events.)
Our first training event will be October 26-27, 2022, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. This will be helpful for both pastors and lay people. If you have a potential launch team or lay persons interested in planting with you, we strongly encourage you to invite them. Registration will be opening soon; sign up at Church Planting Essentials to be notified when it does.
In the months to come we will also offer topic-specific webinars and day-long seminars on topics related to planting.
- Register for coaching
Seminars and conferences can provide excellent information, but often leave a leader stranded between the ideal and reality. The goal of coaching is to help pastors focus on what matters most, translate ideas into reality, and provide the encouragement and accountability that results in healthy, growing churches. Classic coaching asks questions. Consulting suggests answers. River Network Coaching blends both approaches to best serve pastors in reaching their goals.
The River will provide coaching for individuals or groups. Once you are on the journey, it is time to connect with a coach. In fact, coaching is so valuable that each planter with the Global Methodist Church will be required to engage with a coach.
If you are part of group of lay people who would like to become a new church:
Perhaps you are part of a lay group that wants to become a new church, but you do not have a planting pastor. Lay people can plant churches too! We will be offering training for groups on how to begin to lay the foundation of a new church. You can begin to function as a launch team even before a Global Methodist Church pastor arrives. Look for an announcement of that first training coming soon.
Laity are also encouraged to attend the Church Planting Essentials training in Pittsburgh, October 26-27.
If you are a local church interested in planting:
Every local church can participate in planting other churches through resourcing, prayer, and many other means. Networking with a few other mission-oriented churches can produce great fruit.
We will soon offer a webinar entitled Churches Planting Churches.
One great growth opportunity is for pastors to participate in the Multiplier’s Learning Community, which is a joint venture between Exponential and the Global Methodist Church. Previous participants have been inspired and equipped to view ministry through a new lens. A new cohort starts this fall. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Launch teams and groups must be approved by the Transitional Leadership Council before publicly identifying as Global Methodist Church plants. The River can guide you through this streamlined process. You can also send an email to Rev. Keith Boyette, Transitional Connectional Officer of the GM Church who will help people with the process.
Church planting is one of the most effective means of reaching people who are far from God, and everyone can be involved in some way.
Prayer is essential in church planting because planting a church is an act of spiritual warfare; we are announcing our intent to damage the kingdom of darkness. If you would like to be part of the intercessory prayer team, please contact the Global Methodist Church through its website.
Although the Global Methodist Church does not yet have designated funding available for planting, Asbury Seminary is providing a number of grants for Asbury alumni who are planting GM local churches. The deadline for 2022 applications is mid-September. For details, contact email@example.com.
Members and friends of the Global Methodist Church can designate financial support for church planting by clicking Gifts and selecting “Church Planting” under Gift Purpose.
How will God lead you to plant and grow the Global Methodist Church?
The Rev. Steve Cordle is the President of The River Network.