10 Church Networking Models—Part 2

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We’re excited to get back to the second part of our conversation about Church Planting Networks with Dave Ferguson and Patrick O’Connell. Through Exponential and the NewThing Network, Dave and Patrick have learned first-hand that networks are one of the best ways to live out the Great Collaboration, partnering with other leaders and churches to have greater Kingdom impact than one church could achieve alone. Today, we look at Part 2 of 10 Models of Networks featuring an additional five network models.

We’ve said it before but it’s worth repeating: More networks will lead to more churches being planted. That’s why we want to help you get into a network. Our goal is that no church tries to accomplish the mission alone. There is simply too much at stake.

The best way to help you select and join a network is to take you on an abbreviated tour of the various network models. Because it’s a lot to consider and pray about, we split the list of network models between two articles. If you missed the first article, go back and read about the first five network models here.

Remember, each of these networks is unique; each has strengths and weaknesses. The locus of control is different in each one; the interdependence is different. The way participants interact is different. That’s the beauty of having all of these available. But I can say with confidence that all of them have a goal to synergize efforts of leaders and churches for greater kingdom impact.

After you’ve read about and considered all 10 models, ask yourself: Which one best fits me and the people I’m leading. Then join one.

6. The City-Focused Network

City-focused networks are built around the idea of reaching a single city or metro area for Jesus. They are similar to regionally based networks in terms of prioritizing mission and relationships around a specific geographical area, but usually hold theological values more loosely. There is often a high collaborative value in city-focused churches due to the smaller number of potential churches able to join the network’s mission.

Examples of city-focused networks:

• Austin Church Planting Network: ACPN is a collection of church planters from across the greater Austin area that works together for the social and spiritual renewal of the city and suburbs through helping church planters accomplish Jesus’ mission to make disciples. AustinChurchPlantingNetwork.com

• The City Network: These churches are dedicated to a broad network of mission-minded churches and pastors in the Treasure Valley (Idaho) region to join God’s kingdom work in planting, revitalizing and resourcing gospel-centered, reproducing churches. TheCityNetwork.org

• The Cyclical LA: This growing collective of leaders is an ecumenical community of innovators who share a common culture and set of practices created to thoughtfully start new churches across Los Angeles. CyclicalLA.com

• Greater Boston Church Planting Collaborative: GBCPC is a true collaboration of churches from across the greater Boston region, helping each other plant more churches. They encourage church planting and multiplication movements through dialogue, common vision building and mutual learning. EGC.org/Church-Planting

• Houston Church Planting Network: HCPN is a network of networks that come together to strengthen church planters to reach every man, woman and child in the Houston Metro area. HCPN.org

• San Diego Church Planting Movement: Churches in the SDCPM collaborate to change the spiritual landscape of San Diego County through local churches working together to plant healthy, reproducing churches. They are aligned around relationships, reproducing, resources and church planting residency. SDCPM.org

• Transforming the Bay With Christ: The churches in the TBC network are working to catalyze a holistic gospel movement in the Bay Area that results in spiritual and societal transformation. TBC.city

7. The Rural Network

Rural networks are an important contrast to many networks that tend to be oriented toward cities. Not surprisingly, these networks are dedicated to reaching rural communities while incorporating a number of characteristics seen in other types of networks, such as assessment, training and coaching specifically designed to reach rural communities.

Examples of rural networks:

• Dirt Roads Network: Dirt Roads seeks to establish a network of rural, disciple-making, life-giving, transformational church plants throughout the heartland through residency—sharing common values, best practices and fueling each other’s passion for rural church planting. DirtRoadsNetwork.com

• Rural Home Missionary Association: RHMA seeks to plant new churches in rural America and strengthen existing churches through resourcing, coaching and conferencing. RHMA.org

• Rural Japan Church Planting Network: This is a great example of a network with a calling to rural locations but unreached people … in Japan. en.RuralJapanChurch.com

8. The Family of Churches Network

Some churches elect to form a family with other churches. Generally, these churches are highly driven by relationships and shared values. Their values often include a mission orientation to church planting. Like franchise models, families of churches may share names. But this is typically more a product of relationship than model. These networks may hold theological and ecclesiological values loosely but are likely to share many of the same characteristics. Families of churches usually emanate from an original geographical core, but are not constrained by geographical limits.

Examples of the family of churches network:

• Church Multiplication Associates: CMA is a network of churches that encourage one another to multiply. The churches are bound together by the commitment to live out the Scriptures in today’s world. The network offers extensive training and coaching resources to help churches multiply at all levels. CMAResources.org

• Ecclesia Network: Ecclesia is a network of entrepreneurial, creative churches and leaders who are on a collective mission to revolutionize the church and reach our post-Christian culture. The network endeavors to share resources and ideas with others both locally and globally. EcclesiaNet.org

• Hope Family of Churches: This is a diverse group of churches leading people into a transforming relationship with Jesus and a community of faith. They are dedicated to reaching New York together. HopeChurchNYC.org

• A Jesus Church Network: This is a decentralized “family of churches” dedicated to unity and collaboration. These churches collaborate both locally and globally to bring new initiatives (including church planting) to fruition. AJesusChurch.org

• New Breed Network: New Breed is dedicated to training church planters in the principles of the first-century church. NewBreedNetwork.org

• Soma Communities: Soma is a family of churches that make disciples, strengthen one another, and plant churches of missional communities toward gospel saturation. WeAreSoma.com

9. Specialty Networks

Specialty networks are missionally driven and organized to reach an underserved segment of society that’s often missed by more traditional networks. Generally, these networks are not geographically or theologically based. Each network develops its own set of training and distinctives based on the population they reach.

Examples of specialty networks:

• Collegiate Collective: Collegiate is dedicated to reaching college and university students with the gospel—by equipping, resourcing and networking the leaders who are engaged in or are interested in reaching students. CollegiateCollective.com

• Cowboy Church Planting: CCP plants in the culturally distinct “cowboy” culture. There are over 200 churches in an American Fellowship of Cowboy Churches centered around this culture. AmericanFCC.org

• GlocalNet: Founded by church planting veteran Bob Roberts, GlocalNet is a family of churches dedicated to engaging every level of society with the gospel. Their model brings church planting and multi-faith initiatives together to engage cities and nations. Glocal.net

• Mosaix Network: Mosaix is a relational network of pastors and planters, denominational and network leaders, educators, authors and researchers that exists to establish healthy multiethnic and economically diverse churches for the sake of the gospel throughout North America and beyond. Mosaix.info

• Praetorian Network: Praetorian is a network dedicated to multiplying gospel communities near U.S. military bases. PraetorianProject.org

• Rize Church Planting: Rize is dedicated to planting churches in Asian communities throughout the Pacific Rim. RizeChurchPlanting.com

• Virginia Deaf Church Planters Network (SBC): This network has a specific initiative dedicated to helping deaf church planters reach deaf people with the gospel. SBCV.org/deafplanters

10. Support Networks

Support networks offer training and resources to church planters that fit a set of requirements and values. These networks may operate in a similar fashion as cooperative networks, but are often independently resourced. They tend to be objective-oriented, seeking to plant churches across a broad geographical area. Support networks may specifically identify high priority zones for future planting or may work towards increasing the number of churches planted every year.

Examples of support networks:

• Acts 29: A diverse, global family of church planting churches, Acts 29 is characterized by theological clarity, cultural engagement and missional innovation. Acts 29 is global in reach. Acts29.com

• Aspen Grove Church Planting Network: The work of this network focuses on serving church planting churches through recruiting, equipping, funding and prayer. AGCPN.com

• City to City: This network recruits, trains coaches and resources church planters and leaders to start new churches and networks in their region with a specific focus on cities. RedeemerCityToCity.com

• Liberty Church Network: This network is dedicated to making 1 million new disciples by 2025 via a network of 10,000 local churches connected through 500 local centers. LibertyChurchNetwork.com

• Orchard Group: The Orchard Group was born in New York City with a focus on planting churches in places with significant density (population), diversity (ethnic makeup), disparity (wealth gap) and difficulty (few churches per capita). OrchardGroup.org

• SEND Network (NAMB): SEND is the effort of the Southern Baptist Convention to reach key cities in North America with the gospel through church planting. NAMB.net

• Stadia Church Planting: Stadia’s mission is to plant churches that intentionally care for children. They offer an array of resources to help churches plant more churches, including assessment, coaching and project management. StadiaChurchPlanting.org

I don’t know about you, but all of this diversity inspires me. Now that you have a better sense of the variety of networks and the benefits, it’s time to take action. Go back through the 10 models and examples of networks and check out their websites. Then contact someone from several networks to get more information and prayerfully consider how you can be part of one.

I urge you—don’t go it alone for another day. Join a Network.

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