Planting with a Plan in Place

Planting a church provides the opportunity to set the DNA of the church’s mission and vision from inception. I love this about church planting. As I have been preparing to plant Immanuel Church, I have given much thought to how we will multiply disciples. Every planter needs a plan for multiplication. Here is our plan to make disciples who change and help others change. DiscipleshipIllustration2 Worship: Realigning our priorities and passions through Clusters.

We believe the initial realigning of one’s priorities and passions most effectively happens in life-on-life contexts which we call Clusters*. Clusters are a group of 3 to 4 people of the same gender (1-2 disciple-makers and 2 disciples-in-training). These people meet regularly for accountability, discipleship, and to experience pastoral care. Clusters allow new believes a clear and easy first step of discipleship with mature believers. Clusters provide the opportunity for everyone at Immanuel Church to be either discipling or being discipled.

*We unapologetically stole this term from Renewal Church in Greenville, SC. Thanks guys.

Imitate: Becoming more like Jesus through Life Groups.

These small clusters join together into groups, which serve as the primary vehicle for discipleship, community, and gospel-change at Immanuel. Life groups provide a context where families, singles, college students, and senior adults of different races and socioeconomic backgrounds become more like Jesus as they live life together with God’s Word at the center. They are an important extension of the pastoral ministry of the church leadership. In these groups believers grow as they receive and give pastoral care to one another. These groups will meet weekly throughout our city region. One will not need to be a member of Immanuel to join a Life Group. Every week the groups discuss and apply the main points of the previous weeks sermon.

Share: Living on mission for Jesus through everyday rhythms.

We believe that as the gospel transforms people, God places these transformed people into broken and misinterpreted lives where they become His hands and feet to bring help and hope in Jesus. To live on mission we ask our members to do four things: meet, give, invite, and tell.

We desire to meet new people in the everyday rhythms of our life. We encourage the members of Immanuel church to take the initiative to meet new people weekly in their workplace, children’s school, community events, community programs, neighborhood parties, neighborhood gatherings, sporting events, etc.

We desire to give of our time, talents, and resources to love our neighbors as ourselves. For example one might give up his time to help a neighbor move, give up her routine to have a play-date with a community family, give way her skills helping to create a community garden or coaching a sports team, or give away his resources by taking a meal to a struggling neighborhood family.

We desire to make invitation habitual. There is no more important invite than to the corporate gatherings on Sunday and one’s weekly Life Group. Invite people to your home every week for a meal. Create events and invite people to them: block parties, summer BBQs, ladies bible study, etc. Invite people to the rhythms of your life: birthday parties, recreation, movies, etc.

We desire for every member of Immanuel church to know his or her story of God’s saving and changing grace through the gospel that they might be able to tell it to others. We believe that, as people understand, experience, and help others change, they will be better equipped to apply gospel truth to specific situations in the stories of unbelievers. This happens as believers receive and give pastoral care in their growth groups. We believe that everyone has a gospel story. It may not be the gospel of Jesus Christ, but it has all of the elements of the gospel: identity (creation), problem (fall), solution (redemption), and hope (consummation). We encourage believers to look for points of intersection, links between what unbelievers are saying and the Bible story, and as one identifies those narratives he can begin to relate these to the Bible’s gospel story, and how these truths have changed his life.

Equip: Leading others to make disciples of Christ through theological and leadership training.

We believe the church trains leaders and leaders change the world. Thus training leaders is a high priority of Immanuel Church. We hope to have two levels of training: Life Group training, and Pastoral Training. Being invited does not guarantee positions of leadership, but does provide the leadership of Immanuel the opportunity to better evaluate one’s life for the possibility of serving in a leadership role in Immanuel or an Immanuel church plant. It is not required to receive this training prior to being placed in leadership. However, all Life Group leaders and assistants must begin this training upon placement. The candidates for this training are individuals who have proven to be leaders in the context of their Life Groups. Their life is “elder-like” and reflects the character qualities of 1 Timothy 3. They have also demonstrated what it means to live on mission by meeting, giving, inviting, and telling.

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Jordan Branch is the Lead Planter and Lead Pastor of Immanuel Church, a church plant in the Denver Area that will be planted in 2014. Jordan has served as the Minister to Children and their Family for the past several years. Jordan received his B.A. from Boyce College in 2004 and an MDiv degree from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in 2006. Jordan is married to Jessica and father to Nathan, Lillian, and Bryce.