Steps to Planting a New Church in the Western North Carolina Annual Conference

steps(1)Simon Peter said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” Then Jesus replied, “Happy are you, Simon son of Jonah, because no human has shown this to you. Rather my Father who is in heaven has shown this to you. I tell you that you are Peter. And I’ll build my church on this rock. The gates of the underworld won’t be able to stand against it.” Matthew 16:16-18 Common English Bible

Each annual conference in the connection has their own Pathway to Planting new churches. The essential steps in planting a new church in the Western North Carolina Annual Conference includes the following:

If you are a person interested in becoming a church planter:

1.Share your interest with the District Superintendent. Ask for their prayer support and guidance as you investigate a planting ministry. Developing a Covenant of Support between the prospective planter and DS can be especially helpful in this early stage of discernment.

2.Complete the initial Path 1 assessments as directed above and share the results with your District Superintendent and Rev. Gary Shockley, Director of Church Vitality.

3. If after these initial conversations and assessments you decide to move forward you will be asked to complete aDiSC Personality Inventory (found online at www.pdiprofile.com).

4. Please provide three letters of reference that speak to your ability and effectiveness in starting new things. These letters should come from:

  • a clergy person who has observed and/or supervised your ministry
  • a lay person who has grown in their faith because of your ministry
  • a friend who does not participate in church

5. Submit a most recent copy of your resume.

6. Complete and submit the Church Planter Application Form found in the drop down menu of the Church Vitality webpage on our conference site.

7. After completing these initial steps send an email to gshockley@wnccumc.org and request a Planter Assessment Interview where a small group of trained assessors will meet with you for an hour or so to listen and discern alongside you and recommend next steps. If you are married it is required for your spouse to join you in your interview. No exceptions!

8. After your Planter Assessment Interview someone from the Conference Church Vitality Office will visit you in your ministry setting and observe the worship service and hear you preach. If you are not currently serving as pastor in a local church setting you may requested to submit a recently recorded sermon on DVD.

9. The Director of Church Vitality and your District Superintendent will meet with you to review the discernment and assessment work you’ve done to date and recommend next steps.

10. If there is consensus that God is calling you to a church planting ministry you will be invited to attend a training event with a few lay people who may be the early genesis of your “launch” team. During this phase of initial training you will have time to outline your initial strategy and timeline for developing your project (e.g. purpose of the project, target group, goals and strategies, site location, funding strategy and etc,.)

11. Participation in a two-year Academy for Planters will help you experience ongoing assessment, training, and fellowship with other potential planters. The Academy would include reading assignments, field-trips, coaching and quarterly gatherings as a group.

12. It is expected that the new church pastor will be coached by a trained and certified ministry coach with specific training in working with new start pastors.

13. If and when church planting opportunities may arise each appointment season your name may be recommended for a potential appointment.
If you are a local church, missional network, or cluster of churches interested in planting a new church

1.  Share your interest with the District Superintendent. Ask for their prayer support and guidance as you investigate a planting ministry.

2.  Contact the Director of Church Vitality(Gary Shockley) for a conversation about your interest in this at gshockley@wnccumc.org or 704-577-0021.

3.  Ask your district’s Church Vitality Strategist to create a detailed demographic study of the proposed area for planting and have them meet with appropriate leadership for review.

4.  Visit Readiness360.org and make arrangements for your church to take the Readiness360 Survey. This unique tool is designed to help churches assess their readiness to multiply ministry including starting a new campus or satellite.

5.  Schedule a visit with your District Superintendentand the Director of Church Vitality to review the results of your demographic research and Readiness360 survey.

6.   If after these initial conversations and assessments you decide to move forward you will want to move toward the appointment of someone who has been assessed and trained for church planting. The person secured as the new site pastor is critical to the success of the new congregation and, therefore, must move through the Pathway to Planting Process as outlined above to ensure they possess the behavioral characteristics, skills, and affinity to guide the new extension, satellite or congregation into effective mission and ministry. The District Superintendent, Lead Pastor and the Director of Church Vitality must consult closely regarding this appointment.

7.  The new church start pastor, if not already a part, will join the two year Academy for Church Planting to continue training and support for their work.

8.  It is expected that the new campus or satellite pastor will be coached by a trained ministry coach with specific experience in working with new start pastors.

9.  If you are seeking financial support you will need to download, complete and submit a Proposal. Proposals, with funding requests from the conference, are received and processed quarterly.