Vital Components of a Healthy Church-Planting Model

(Unsplash/Sushobhan Badhai)

We're so "ether-or" in our viewpoints, aren't we? We have a tendency to form an opinion, stake a position and defend it against anything that looks different.

Tension can be good. Out of tension flows a creative discussion and differences of opinion that force us to re-evaluate our viewpoints and emphases to ensure that we're thinking biblically and effectively.

For example, right now, the tension in church planting discussion surrounds models.

Should we launch large and fast?

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Should we take our time and build a strong core group?

Should we start having church to make disciples?

Should we make disciples and allow a church to form out of the discipleship?

Should we be attractional? Missional? Uni-laterally bi-directionally intentional?

And so we have megachurches, house churches, traditional churches, organic churches, plus a lot of dead and dying churches (unfortunately).

As we've planted Grace Hills Church, we keep using three words to reflect our model and approach to making disciples.

We Will Be Attractional

The 'Come and See' of the Gospel

The attractional approach gets a bad rap for a couple of reasons.

First, some churches know how to attract people to a production, but have no depth past Sunday morning. Second, we sometimes think the sound, the lights and the technology are the attractive part.

We need to be attractional by living distinctively redeemed lives, keeping our integrity and trust with the surrounding world, leading people in genuine God-directed worship, serving in tangible and visible ways and teaching a life-changing, absolute truth from the Word that acts like a sword, piercing to the depths of the human heart.

The shiny objects may get you attention, but what really attracts people is genuine community, authentic and relevant teaching, heartfelt worship and genuine love between people.

We Will Be Transformational

The 'Come and Die' of the Gospel

Jesus invited four fisherman to follow Him one day. By the end of the Gospels, they are ready to die for Him.

In fact, three of them do indeed become martyrs for the faith, and John suffers nearly to the point of death for the gospel.

That is transformation. That is life-change.

And that needs to be celebrated from the very birth of a new church.

We Will Be Missional

The 'Go and Tell' of the Gospel

God's intention was never for us to isolate ourselves from the world or to imitate our surrounding culture.

Rather He wants us to infiltrate the culture around us and demonstrate His love to the least, the lost and the last of humanity so the nations of the world can be brought into the enjoyment of the glory of God.

If attraction is all abou t gathering a church, then mission is more about scattering the church into the community, and into every possible mission field on the planet.

Perhaps we should stop arguing over which model is the best or most biblical and see in both the ancient and the modern church the power and effectiveness of being attractive to the culture, transformational for individuals and missional for believers.

Balance might just be the key.

Brandon Cox has been a pastor since he was 19 and has served churches large and small, including serving as a pastor at Saddleback Church. Currently, he is planting a purpose-driven church in northwest Arkansas. He also serves as editor of and Rick Warren's Pastors' Toolbox and authors a top 100 blog for church leaders, as well as a blog about men's issues, a blog about blogging and a blog about social media.

This article originally appeared at

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