I would love some feedback on this idea!
First, three observations:
(1) There is a huge initiative right now to church plant in the CRC (and in many mainline denominations).
(2) There are also many churches in the CRC who have been declining and have reached a critical point (the church has been declining through two pastors and/or has been declining for more than five years and/or is facing the decision to close within the next two years). Perhaps these churches missed reaching the rising generation and now have a desire to do so.
(3) One of the biggest challenges in church planting is without a doubt the cost of facility and equipment.
A Modest Proposal
What would it look like to come alongside many declining churches and attempt to nest a new community within their congregation? This was done at Haderwyk Ministries in Holland, MI. Watershed became a church plant within Harderwyk. They ended up becoming three congregations within one campus. Check it out here:
This could solve the facility/equipment issue if the "nesting church" agrees to allow the planting church free use of the space and the sound equipment.
The key, it seems to me, is that the "nesting church" does not have creative control or any kind of governance over the church plant (this has always been the problem when an older generation starts an informal, 11am service ... the people in the 11am service have no power). The church plant has its own elder/deacon board and these people are separate from the "nesting" congregation.
(1) Do most church plants need to start in a different kind of found space (school gym, store front, warehouse, etc.) or can they exist in an older church?
(2) What if people from the "nesting" church want to be on the launch team of the new church plant and/or transfer their membership to it?
- John Burden, Providence Church, Holland Michigan