Bubble Churches


We again welcome Randy Rowland as a guest blogger for his second post in this series.

One African American Church planter in Atlanta has an interesting expansion strategy for church planting in African American communities.  He envisions planting “bubble churches” in well educated and well resourced corners of the community and then hiving off need based churches that are highly subsidized by the parent church in order to create a sustainable church planting movement.

The visionary pastor who shared this model with us was deeply concerned that denominations and ethnic fellowships find ways to be self-sustaining in much more localized practices, moving away from the expectation of on-going sustaining funding from denominations and districts.

Part of the vision of the Bubble Church model was also rooted in the idea that local leaders could be identified, trained and deployed to church plants more effectively by doing all the leadership development work in a very defined area where it is more likely that the cultural context of that region is innately understood rather than needing to be transmitted to the limited number of emerging leaders who have cross-cultural skills.  Again, we are reminded that Black or African American is not a description other than race – and the racial designation is only a small part of a group’s localized cultural ethos.

What do you think of the "bubble churches" strategy?

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I really applaud what I think I hear in your all-too-brief description of the "bubble church" model. It does not seem to be the same as a multisite arrangement where the second church is a campus--a fad I'm decisively not a fan of, as a permanent arrangement!--but rather a needy daughter-church arrangement in which the daughter can grow up and be on her own eventually. This seems like a great use of resources for kingdom of God church planting.