A New Church Planting Model Is Born

Things slowed down quickly in Atlanta in early 2020 as the pandemic hit full force. By the time we re-opened Beacon Church ATL months later, there was this undeniable shift that had taken place in the hearts of our church body and team. Services started back as usual, but things felt different. 


Because of our location, we noticed over 90% of our members were young professionals and college students and that their schedules were crazy. It wasn’t uncommon for many of them to miss Sunday service a few times a month due to their busy schedules. 


My wife and I began to ask ourselves: how can we make the greatest impact on the community we have right in front of us? 


For us, it was rethinking the way we have boxed in our ministry to simply be Sunday morning focused. 


Now, we’re located in the south. Isn’t it a sin not to meet on Sunday? Sundays are for church, right? But what about those who aren’t in church? What if they are working or traveling or don’t go to church? How can we reach them?


As we prayed about these questions, we felt God give us a crazy idea: make church on demand. Simply put, bring the church to the people. And it was then that this crazy new model was born.


A New Model: Church On Demand


The way we are doing church now is a hybrid of several church plant models. 


Here’s a simple overview of our structure:


  1. Rather than having an in-person Sunday service or even live streaming, we are developing intentional and engaging content that is all hosted online. 


  1. YouTube is the central hub where we host all of our video content. 


  1. The new messages go public every Sunday and stay online as on-demand content.


To create community around this content, we train leaders to host watch parties and have home church with friends. We call these house churches Crews. These Crews meet for about six weeks straight and then all come together for a large group gathering called a “Pop Up Service,” where we have live worship and a dynamic service, kind of like a Sunday service vibe. 


It’s new and very simple right now. Our focus is on building authentic community and reaching the lost.


It’s a groundbreaking model, and we are already hearing how God is moving. This whole time, the key for us has been being willing to adapt and innovate as we felt God leading. 


This “model” isn’t for everyone, but it shows that the Church can be innovative. It also reveals that it really doesn’t have to be about one weekly service or meeting in a building. And as a pastor, you will always lead your best when you step out and do what God has called you to do. 


Asking the Tough Questions


What if churches reconsidered the why behind their existence?


Is it for a service, the city, a crowd, or is it for lost souls? These were all thoughts running through my head as we were scrambling to figure out how our nine-month-old church was going to survive a pandemic. 


In our effort to strive for excellence, we realized we couldn’t do everything perfectly, but we could do a couple of things well. Our mission at Beacon Church is to be a beacon of hope and love to all people. So in everything we do, we strive to filter it through our mission. As we tried to gather the necessary equipment to film services on an incredibly low budget—well, really with no budget—we had to scramble to make something work.


Sometimes, it is easy to get caught up in the “perfection” mentality instead of focusing on the impact of slow and steady progress. Church planting success looks different for everyone, especially coming out of a pandemic, and it certainly isn’t linear. 


In all this madness, God spoke to my heart (and I believe to many other pastors’ hearts) through this last season with the simple question, “Are we going to focus more on our image or our impact?”


I vote let’s make an impact!


First published on StartChurch.com. Used by permission.