Q. What does Genesis look for in a church plant?
Church planting is essentially a spiritual endeavour, instigated and driven by our Father. Yet God uses human agency to grow His Kingdom.
The following are some criteria we use to assess a request for a grant to plant a church:
A) Is the leader the right person?
Is the leader an ‘entrepreneur’ rather than a ‘manager’? There is some evidence that a church planter should be more entrepreneur than manager.
Some characteristics of an entrepreneur are…
- Clarity of vision and ability to communicate that vision with enthusiasm
- Gifts of evangelism and an evangelistic heart (including one-on-one)
- Ability to work without structure and then create structure
- Tenacity, resolve, determination, perseverance
- Ability to rally others to a cause (leadership gifts)
- Willingness to be accountable to the governance of the core support group
Some other issues are:
- Training – what training or experience in basic sub-ministries (youth work, aged care, etc.) and organisation management does the person have?
- A leader assessment by a church planting organisation or denominational group is provided to determine whether the skills and attributes of an individual or couple are a good fit for church planting and to identify strengths and further areas for the church planter to develop and work on.
- Is the person the right cultural fit for the target group?
- Confirmation by mature Christian leaders – e.g. other church planters, leaders in the area, diocesan leaders. Referees should be given who are available to interview. Is there a review by Geneva Push, Acts29 , City to City or similar?
- Is there a possibility of part-time work (tent making) in the area?
- Are the range of gifts (Ephesians 4) included in the leadership team that oversees the core group/church plant?
B) Who is the target group?
A well-defined description of the target group that God has called the church planter and the core group to minister to is essential. We like to see a focus on new believers.
- Has a target group been identified?
- Does this church plant reach the target group in ways others have not?
- Has an evangelistic strategy been developed?
- Will the location of the gathering(s) be suitable to the mission?
- Does this mission inspire the church planter?
- Future planting possibilities – will this first planting become a beachhead for further planting?
- Does the target group have the potential to provide self-sufficiency in 3–5 years? This will depend on the socio-economic profile of the target group.
C) Leadership team and church plant team
A committed and active leadership team and church plant team is seen as critical.
- Is there a leadership team established with the range of gifts (Ephesians 4:11) and are able to significantly contribute their gifts?
- Has the leadership team been meeting and praying regularly, over a good length of time (3–6 months)?
- Is there a prayer strategy?
- Do some of the leadership team and/or the church plant team have gifts of evangelism?
- Do the socio-demographics of the leadership team and church plant team fit the strategy?
- Is the initial church plant team aligned with the leadership team’s strategy and prayer?
D) Mother church/mentor
The support of a mother church is preferred. However, in the absence of a mother church, a committed, suitable mentor should be in place.
If there is a mother church:
- Does the mother church have a clear, written vision for the target group?
- Has the mother church planted a church before?
- Is the mother church growth-oriented?
- Will the core group leaving have a detrimental effect on the mother church?
- Will the mother church provide support (e.g. prayer, people, funds)?
- Will this support be for a reasonable period (3 years)?
- Is it planned for the new church to become totally independent?
If there is no mother church, then the committed mentor:
- Does the mentor have a clear, written vision for the target group?
- Has the mentor planted a church before?
- Is the mentor growth-oriented?
- Will the mentor provide support (e.g. prayer, time, active oversight)?
- Will this support be committed for a reasonable period (3 years)?
E) Is there a plan?
A plan unifies the core group and team members around the God-given vision of the church plant and facilitates co-ordination of the various gifts within the team.
Is there a written strategic plan, including the following?
- Core Biblical Values
- Mission and vision (for that church and the target group)
- An accurate profile of the target group
- Identified initial key ministry areas
- Preliminary goals, including conversion growth
- A methodology for evaluating success (perhaps use of an external facilitator?)
- Role of prayer
What is the legal structure of the church plant?
- Structure and how it relates to other relevant bodies (denomination, mother church, etc.)
- The selection of a governing body of suitably gifted and called members
- Schedules for governing body’s meetings and the administration thereof
- Accountability of the leader
Are there developed/organised teams?
- Prayer team
- Key ministry areas
- Financial role
- Clear job descriptions of each role
- Involvement of the team in developing the plan
- A commencement timetable
Is there a budget?
- Viable in 3–5 years?
- External, objective audit
F) GLF Policy
The Genesis Life Foundation will generally consider supporting church planting in Australasia (including start up, “re-potting”), with a grant of up to 1/3 of the costs in the first year and reducing over three years, with balance met by the core group and mother church/external sources.
Q. Does Genesis support property projects?
As a general rule, Genesis does not support the development of property and plant for Christian organisations. We are more interested in supporting the development of intangible activities that will be undertaken in the property and plant.
Q. What are the grant conditions?
The conditions of the grant are broadly:
- The grant is to be used exclusively for the project
- The grantee must use their best endeavours to complete the project in the specified time
- The grantee will advise Genesis of any material change in the project
- The grantee will show the grant separately in its accounting so that the use of the funds can be reported to Genesis
- There will be no acknowledgement of Genesis in published material, without prior consent
- The grantee will provide a receipt promptly after each grant payment they receive
- The grantee is to provide an Annual Report as at 30 June or 31 December each year (to be received within 3 months of that date), using our online report system.
- The grantee is to provide a Final Report as at the 30 June or 31 December following completion of the project (to be received within three months of that date), using our online report system.
Q. What is a Church Leader Assessment?
A church leader assessment is usually conducted by a denominational church plant assessment team or a church plant organisation such as Geneva Push or CCCVaT. It assesses the church planters readiness and gifting to carry out a church plant and provides advice on areas where they may need to focus in the lead up to planting a church.