Monday, April 19, 2021

Fitch on Church Planting

In a seminar on church planting at Northern Seminary, David Fitch outlined three different models of church, and described their characteristics. This is my summary of the talk.


Franchise Model

Update Church
(seeker, relevant)

Mission Model
(Incarnation focus)


Caring for denomination members

Being relevant to people who are turned off church.

Reaching non-churched people,
seeking injustices and bringing kingdom.

First Step

Get services running as people expect
Sunday church service, children’s ministry.

Same things, but updated to be relevant, easy, convenient.

Inhabit a context. Move, work and live there.  Find people of peace


Methodist is same everywhere

Survey the context to be relevant.

Exegete context. Find places of pain? What is causing pain?.  Where do people gather?

Getting started

Establish a church buiding with sign outside.

Do a launch with big publicity.

Landing.  Establish two or three leader people.  Get a job.

Get involved in neighbourhood.  Find networks.

Horizon to self sufficiency

Three years

Three years, but getting harder.

Ten to fifteen years



Better music and messages

Incarnational.  Aims to be part of rhythm of life. 
Eating together is important


Person from denominational school

Charismatic entrepreneur with celebrity to drive preaching

Polycentric group that know their giftings.  Push decisions down and out.


Teaching for doctrinal reinforcement for people who already believe.

Relevant communication. Topic driven.  Equipping people to deal with problems of life.

Proclamation of the gospel into and over the context.  Where is God at work?  Explain how to serve Jesus as Lord there


Not a primary focus

Seeker sensitive, evangelistic event.  Assumes people find God by going to a church on Sunday

Training and locating people to be present in places of hurt, pain, brokenness, suffering and injustice to see what God will do.


Justice is something that government does.  Church might challenge injustice or train people to participate in government’s justice activities.

Find a project.  Use money for justice projects.  Might even have a justice centre/place where people who need justice and those who want to do it can meet.

Develop a presence amongst the poor, the hurt, the broken, the oppressed, the victimised, the lost.  Live with them in their community and see what God will do.

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