Planted Church Autonomy

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by saturneptune, Sep 27, 2013.

  1. saturneptune

    saturneptune
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2006
    Messages:
    13,977
    Likes Received:
    0
    If a thriving local Baptist church plants another church, at what point do you think the planted church should become autonomous? When they are financially self sufficient? When there are enough mature spiritual leaders to fill church offices? Thoughts?
     
  2. Revmitchell

    Revmitchell
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2006
    Messages:
    38,308
    Likes Received:
    784
    When they are able to constitute and support themselves
     
  3. saturneptune

    saturneptune
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2006
    Messages:
    13,977
    Likes Received:
    0
    Rev, in your experience, does the mother church have to grant permission for the plant church to become autonomous?
     
  4. padredurand

    padredurand
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2004
    Messages:
    4,384
    Likes Received:
    20
    The mother church should determine that before the plant has her first worship service. I don't like the terms mother-daughter church but it is illustrative of the relationship. At what point does a mother let her daughter fly from the nest, as it were?

    There should always be a strong bond between the two but if there is no plan for the plant to be autonomous then it would be hard to define it as Baptist. Often, new plants are considered an extension campus of the existing church with no real plan of autonomy. The plant should anticipate the mother church always being part of their life with financial, resource and staffing support. The level of support should be determined in advance.

    If it is a true church plant autonomy should be part of the plan from the beginning. What are the benchmarks that the new church is ready to go it alone? I believe that is subjective.

    Our church just celebrated her 7th anniversary. We went it alone. I can tell you there have been times over the past seven years that we probably would have missed what I would consider reasonable marks of being self-supporting. Finances have waxed and waned. I've been bi-vocational since Day One. The goal was for me to be fully supported by the church at some point. We're not there yet. A local SBC plant shuttered the doors after a five year run because they missed the five year goal for financial self-sufficiency. It's a shame that they closed because of finances. It's a shame because they were still doing vital ministry but the mother church had made a five year financial commitment. The plant was unable to meet the budget they had become accustom to without a check from the mother church so they walked away.

    Mature leadership is important too. We are blessed to have two retired pastors who serve as elders but they have not been there since the beginning. Had we waited for mature leadership to come into the fold, so to speak, we would have never started.

    Had we been under a mother church who set fixed goals in the areas you mentioned in the OP, we would have thrown in the towel years ago. God did not call our church to be successful. He called us to be faithful. When we acknowledged that "...God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:19 NAS77) we moved forward.
     
  5. Herald

    Herald
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2011
    Messages:
    1,600
    Likes Received:
    0
    You make some good points.

    One of way of looking at Baptist church planting is to establish a missions work before forming an independent church. If a church plant cannot support itself, or does not have sufficient leadership, it should fall under the authority of the sending church as a missions work. Once the missions work has a qualified pastor/elders, and is able to support itself financially, it may be time to establish it as a independent church.
     

Share This Page

Loading...