Church Collaboration

 How Churches Can Work Together for Mission

Option 9:  New Church Plant

Collaborate to Start a New Congregation

In 2001 four ELCA churches in the south suburbs of the Twin Cities formed a partnership to plant a new congregation in Rosemount, a fast-growing suburb. Each of the four committed money, staff support and people to this effort, which was also supported by the St. Paul Area Synod and by Pastor Richard Mork, who was the area mission director for the national ELCA.

Pastor Per Nilsen, who was on the staff of one of the four churches, was called as the mission developer in early 2002. In January an ALPHA class started and on February 3, 2002 the new church, named Community of Hope, held its first worship service. Members from each of the four supporting churches who lived in Rosemont were encouraged to join Community of Hope, and attendance averaged about 200 during the first year. Community of Hope started out in a middle school and built its own worship center in 2005. Average attendance is now about 700.

For more information you can download a brief History of Community of Hope or check out the Community of Hope web site.

Merge to Plant a New Congregation

The Absorption Merger page tells the stories of Spirit of Hope Lutheran Church in Nebraska and Shelter Rock church in New York. In both cases a declining congregation gave itself to a larger, thriving church in order to plant a new congregation.

There is a similar story in the Dallas area. Pitman Creek Church of Christ in Plano area started in 1949. Like many churches, it grew rapidly but faced conflicts that resulted in a sharp decline. During its growth years it built a 50,000 square foot facility with an auditorium that seats 700. In 2005 the leaders of Pitman Creek started conversations with the leaders of Highland Oaks Church of Christ, a long-established successful church in Dallas. The two congregations merged and started a new satellite congregation in the former Pitman Creek facility. More information is in this article or the Highland Oaks website.

The Leadership Network has a terrific handbook, "Creating Strategic Alliances and Partnerships for Planting New Churches" that you can download from this site.

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