Launching a New Church
CRITICAL MASS GUIDELINES FOR LAUNCHING REGULAR WORSHIP SERVICES IN A NEW CHURCH
"Critical mass" in a church planting project is defined as a large enough number of adult believers who possess a solid commitment to planting a new church and who possess the requisite spiritual gifts to ensure that the new church will be able to offer to the target community a balanced program of expected church ministries when the first worship service is held. It is a "crowd" that is needed to draw a bigger crowd and gain momentum in a particular ministry context.
What is Known About Critical Mass in Church Planting
Critical Mass is determined by community sociological and cultural factors (i.e., critical mass is partially determined by culture and demography)
Churches that want to rapidly grow beyond the "200 Barrier" need to launch the first worship with 40-100 active adults in the core group.
In general, the larger the critical mass of people at the birth of the church, the faster the growth and the more likely the new church will break the typical growth barriers.
Churches that are planted in rural or small-town communities where the congregation probably will never grow beyond 200 members require a smaller critical mass of people
compared to a church plant in a more populated area with a greater potential for growth.
Preview services are often helpful in gaining critical mass and in preparing for the first public worship service (launch).
Multiplying small groups assists in the development of critical mass.
Attendance at the first public worship service (launch or birth) often exceeds the average worship service attendance that follows by about 50%.
Guidelines for Determining Critical Mass
The church planting pastor, in consultation with the Leadership Team and the Partner or Parent Advisory Team, should make a prayerful determination about the potential for the growth of the new church.
A survey (either formal or informal) of the core group should be conducted in order to determine if the necessary personnel and spiritual gifts are present that will be needed. The
needs will likely include children's teachers and workers, worship leader(s), greeters, ushers, musicians, and nursery attendants.
The most critical ministry roles that need to be identified and in place in a leadership team prior to the launch (birth) of a new church include:
- Lead Pastor/Planter
- Worship team leader
- Children's ministry team leader
- Recruiter - evangelist
- Organizer - implementer
- Shepherd - caregiver
- Financial administrator
- Recruiter - mobilizer
The church planting pastor and the new congregation need to make a request to the Partner or Parent Advisory Team to enter the Launch or Birth stage of development, advertise the new church, and begin formal worship services.
The Partner or Parent Advisory Team votes on the request and either approves or delays the launch date of the new church.