When church plants dont work out

When Church Plants Don’t Work Out

We all love to read stories of new churches being planted and people being reached with the good news of the gospel. But what happens when planting doesn’t go to plan? What lessons can we learn?

Many moons ago I worked in market research, putting together projects to help different brands and products understand how they were perceived by the general population. Remember Skoda as they sought to change their image from being ‘a skip on wheels’ (!) to quality cars that could be a realistic option for family? We were a part of that project.

Whilst I love working as a pastor and previously a planter, that background in research has never left me. For a while now the idea has been bubbling around in my head of combining these strands by seeking to sensitively contact church planters for whom the planting experience has not been as they expected or hoped.

I want to speak to people who have planted and either the plant did not last, or is perhaps struggling and just 'limping along'. Or perhaps it might be doing better now but was 'touch and go' for a season. As we listen to a variety of examples, experiences and stories, what lessons can we learn for the future? Indeed what lessons can we learn from other networks and streams?

The study went live in the New Year, and I’ve had some very helpful input from various planting organisations to hone the questions to seek to collect helpful responses.

Check out plantingquestions.com for more information as well as the link through to the questionnaire. Alongside ‘numbers’, the hope is also to survey a few people 'in depth' for some more qualitative richness. A number of people have already come forward to offer their experiences, but I would love to speak to more people.

I would also love some genuine breadth, so if you know different planting networks, denominations, streams or individuals from around the world, please do pass on and encourage people to fill in the questionnaire. The more data we can collect, the more stories we can listen to and the more meaningful the results as we seek to understand and interpret them.

If you have any questions, or could put me in touch with individuals from around the world who may oversee planting networks, please do get in touch.

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