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2007 Survivability & Health . Center for Missional Research. 12 Denominations/Networks. Southern Baptist Sovereign Grace Ministries Baptist General Conference Leadership Network General Baptists Wesleyan New Thing Network Assemblies of God Evangelical Free Foursquare Christian Church

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2007 survivability health

2007 Survivability & Health

Center for Missional Research

12 denominations networks

12 Denominations/Networks

Southern Baptist

Sovereign Grace Ministries

Baptist General Conference

Leadership Network

General Baptists


New Thing Network

Assemblies of God

Evangelical Free


Christian Church

Lutheran Church Missouri Synod



  • Sample:A sample of 2266 church plants were selected among 12 denominations or church planting networks of which 2080 were determined to still exist or not.

  • 500 Plants: Over 1000 church plants were contacted by phone to determine their survival, of which 500 completed the telephone survey

  • 100 Factors: Over 100 factors were tested for higher attendance and baptisms as well as church plant survivability.

  • EFCA: Round 1: 20 Planters, Round 2: 46 additional, Total: 66

  • Researchers: Ed Stetzer, Phillip Connor. www.namb.net/cmr

Worship styles

Worship Styles

Church planting models

Church Planting Models

We are emerging, organic, slightly seeker, purpose influenced, Acts 30- because 29 is already taken, Hispanic, house church that meets in a movie theatre and is on an Incarnational mission.

Denominational assistance

Denominational Assistance

Networks are the buzz (54 affinity networks), but denominations are planting many more networks.

Sponsoring churches

Sponsoring Churches

Three major questions

Three Major Questions

  • Survivability:How many plants survived?

  • Growth:Did they grow?

  • Conversion: What was their evangelistic effectiveness?

100 factors

100 Factors

1 survivability

1. Survivability

Do 80% of church plants fail?

Survivability 68 efca 87

Survivability: 68%, EFCA: 87%

Good news

Good News

  • The vast majority of church plants survive!

  • EFCA: Did very well in this area.

  • There is probably less risk planting a church than taking a first pastorate.

  • There has been a major change in the survival rate of church plants in the last decade due to reproducible systems.

Church plant survivability

Church Plant Survivability

Four Critical Factors

1 expectations factor

1. Expectations Factor

  • When the church planter’s expectations meet the reality of the church planting experience, the chance of survivabilityincreases by over 400 percent.

    • Realized expectations: 87% survivability

    • Unrealized expectations: 61% survivability

2 leadership development

2. Leadership Development

  • If the church planter provides leadership development training for new church members, the odds of survivability increase by over 250 percent.

    • Training: 79% survivability

    • No Training: 59% survivability

3 planter network factor

3. Planter Network Factor

  • The church planter who meets with a group of church planting peers at least monthly increases the odds of survivability by 135 percent.

    • CP Network: 83% survivability

    • No Network: 67% survivability

4 financial factor

4. Financial Factor

  • Church plants that have a proactive stewardship development plan enable the church to become financially self-sufficient. They also increase the odds of survivability by over 178 percent.

    • Stewardship plan: 81% survivability

    • No Stewardship plan: 68% survivability

    • Only factor to show up all three areas.

Survivability summary

Survivability Summary

  • Since late 1990’s most church planting groups are using a systems approach to church planting.


Efca corrections

EFCA Corrections

  • Expectations Factor

    • Assessments too high, Proposals too optimistic, Coaching & Bootcamp too soft

  • Leadership Development

    • Beef up leadership development: BC, Coaching

  • Planter Networks

    • Emphasis Intentional CP Networks

  • Financial Factor

    • Realistic Financial Projections

  • 2 growth

    2. Growth

    What is the growth rate of church plants?

    Church growth attendance

    Church Growth: Attendance

    Growth rate

    Growth Rate

    Efca corrections 2007 theme

    EFCA Corrections: 2007 Theme

    Ten growth factors

    Ten Growth Factors

    1 expectations factor1

    1. Expectations Factor

    • The church planters’ expectations are realized to a large degree.

    • The church planter has a vision of what God wants to do, and they don’t get distracted from the accomplishment of that vision.

    • Because of this focus, they achieve greater results and find greater satisfaction.

    2 leadership development1

    2. Leadership Development

    • Leadership is taken seriously in higher attendance church plants.

    • Church plants that experience higher attendance conduct leadership training, build their leadership base, and delegate leadership roles to church members.

    • This is an ongoing process from the time of the plant throughout its lifetime. It's not left to chance or to personal initiative

    3 training factor

    3. Training Factor

    • Bootcamp: Training for planter prior to launch

    • Class 101: Church plants that experience the best attendance results provide training for new members and communicate clearly the expectation that they participate.

    • CLASS System: Training is used to help new members better understand the Christian faith, know the organization and culture of the church, and learn how they can identify and use their gifts and find a place to serve.

    4 high expectations membership

    4. High Expectations Membership

    • These church plants also require new members to sign a church covenant.

    • They know that it’s imperative for new members to take their commitment to the church seriouslyas soon as they’ve committed their lives to Christ.

    5 financial factor

    5. Financial Factor

    • Those who attract more people see financial stewardship as an integral part of the Christian life and necessary for personal growth.

    • As these churches develop stewards, they also develop their church and become self-sufficient.

    • The planters in churches with higher attendance receive financial compensation, allowing them to focus on the church's growth, not their own basic needs.

    • They also receive health insurance and most of the premiums are paid for by the church plant, the sponsoring church, or the denomination.

    All budget attendance

    All: Budget & Attendance

    6 promotion factor

    6. Promotion Factor

    • High attendance church plants mail invitations to services, programs, and events.

    • Though this is important for any church, it's critical for church plants. It helps establish your presence and purpose from the start.

    • These church plants keep awareness high, which keeps their visitors, attendees, and members involved and informed.

    Promotion publicity

    Promotion & Publicity

    7 ministry factor

    7. Ministry Factor

    • Children: Special children’s events such as a fall festival or Easter egg hunt help church plants gain and sustain attendance.

    • Block Parties: These church plants also conduct block parties as an evangelistic outreach.

    • Holidays: They use holidays or other opportunities to attract people and to be attractive to those who are already attending.

    8 reproduction factor

    8. Reproduction Factor

    • Higher attendance church plants look for missional opportunities and start at least one churchwithin three years of their own plant.

    9 location factor

    9. Location Factor

    • Where the church plant began has an impact on its ability to grow.

    • Church plants that begin in school facilities have some obvious benefits, such as visibility, access, parking, and classroom -worship space.

    • After the first year—church plants meeting in both schools and movie theaters exhibit higher attendance.

    • This is basic church growth 101.



    10 team factor

    10. Team Factor

    • Planters have been assessed for suitability.

    • They also have multiple staff, facilitating steady and more sustainable growth.

    • Their planters are full-time, not part- or half-time. The indication is—limiting staff limits potential for numeric growth.

    Growth summary

    Growth Summary

    • EFCA: Our plant growth is slightly higher.

    • Big Picture: Growth much lower than we anticipated.

    • Rocket ship planters are not the norm.

      • Planters doing conferences, writing books

      • Rocket ship planters: Probably about 20%

      • Associate pastors in large healthy churches.

    • Don’t have to settle for low numbers.

      • EFCA: 100, 200, Reproducing are realistic

      • Need to have realistic growth expectations.

    3 conversion growth

    3. Conversion Growth

    Are church plants growing by conversions?

    Conversions per year

    Conversions Per Year

    Conversion growth rate

    Conversion Growth Rate

    Efca corrections1

    EFCA Corrections

    • Conversion Growth Rate: Move from 13% to 20% Prayer Goal

    • Evangelism Best Practices (Large Churches)

    • Reproduction Best Practices (House Church)

    Five evangelism factors

    Five Evangelism Factors

    1 training factor

    1. Training Factor

    • Training is high on the list of priorities. Development of members and staff is a constant process.

    • They provide leadership training to help support the requirements of their expanding ministries.

    • They delegate leadership roles to church members. They believe in a team approach to ministry.

    2 financial factor

    2. Financial Factor

    • Self Supporting: Having a proactive stewardship development plan enabling the church to be financially self-sufficient

    • Full time planter: working full-time over part-time as the church planter.

    • EFCA: Major factor in EFCA plants.

    Stewardship conversion

    Stewardship & Conversion

    3 promotion factor

    3. Promotion Factor

    • Sending out mailers to invite people to services and church events is part of a strategy they use to reach their communities for Christ.

    • The church plants with higher baptisms would not consider "hiding their lamp under a basket" (Matt. 5:15).

    • They promote and publicize. They use various means to tell their story, so that ultimately they can tell His story.

    4 ministry factor

    4. Ministry Factor

    • Block party: conducting a block party as an outreach activity

    • Children’s programs: Conducting a mid-week children’s program.

    • Special events: Conducting a children’s special event (i.e., Fall Festival)

    5 reproduction factor

    5. Reproduction Factor

    • Evangelism: Church plants with higher baptism counts engage in ministry evangelism—food banks, emergency shelters, drug and alcohol recovery programs, and other ministries.

    • Needs: They recognize that the community will not connect with their church unless they connect with their community. They look for needs, and find ways to meet those needs.

    • Planting: Starting at least one daughter church within three years of the church plant.

    Reproduction conversion

    Reproduction & Conversion

    Conversion summary

    Conversion Summary

    • EFCA: This a growth area for us. We did worse than other plants.

    • Church plants that evidenced consistently higher baptisms over a four-year period were intentional about their ministries and involved in their communities.

    • They practiced what they proclaimed—evangelism, church planting, stewardship, and training for leaders and new members. They used promotion effectively.

    • They help us understand that higher baptisms are not an accident. Neither are they a work that we accomplish. But they are a work that God does through us as we focus on the things that matter most.



    Financial overview

    Financial Overview

    Funding outside sources

    Funding: Outside Sources

    Receipts offerings

    Receipts: Offerings

    Total budget all

    Total Budget: All

    Total budget efca

    Total Budget: EFCA

    Total budget efca vs all

    Total Budget: EFCA vs. All

    Financial self sufficiency

    Financial Self-Sufficiency

    Efca budget attendance

    EFCA: Budget & Attendance

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