In 1990, I was called to be a mission developer on the staff of the Ohio District of the LCMS. I was paid district scale, which was generous considering my level of education and that it had been 23 years since ordination. The days of that kind of church planting are gone.
Through a providential set of events, while teaching my D.Min course on Church Management, at 3:00 pm on Monday, January 15, 1990, I felt convicted that God was calling me to plant a new church in the southern suburbs of Cleveland. That call is very comforting when you go through all the ups and downs of church planting.
Since that start in 1990, I know of only one other successful district church plant. This is out of probably 12 attempts. Nobody has ever counted because, I suspect, they don’t want to see the number. From Royal Redeemer, where my work is based, we have had three successful church plants out of four attempts.
My definition of church-planting success is surviving five years and being financially self-sufficient. I have heard lots of young leaders brag about all the churches they planted. By far, most turn out to be small group Bible studies that soon disappear.Read More