Exponential Australia Church Planting

What Type of Church Should you Plant?

Not only are there two ways to plant, church-led planting and pioneer-led planting, there are many different models of church you could seek to plant. The five main types of churches are:

  1. Micro Churches
    Micro churches are simple forms of church that often have no paid staff or property. They can be gathered to form a network of micro churches, and they are usually highly relational, adaptable and flexible in their approach. They often have a specific missional focus on a people group, place or area of interest. Their patterns of gathering can be quite diverse.

    Micro churches are low-cost and effective at reaching those who would never step into current forms of church. They can be lay led and exist along various social and community networks and can be multiplied quickly. They have proven to be effective amongst migrant communities but risk reinforcing cultural and ethnic divisions. Due to their size, micro churches can be fragile, and will struggle to survive without intentional discipleship and leadership multiplication.

  2. Neighbourhood churches
    These are small churches with a strong connection to their local community. They often have a paid staff member and are built around a parish model that ministers to the needs of the surrounding local community. These churches are often less programmatically structured and highly relational, gathering on a regular basis in a shared space accessible to all in the community.

    Neighbourhood churches are ideal for localised communities, whether that be in rural, suburban or city areas. Their model tends to bring different ethnic and cultural groups together and can accommodate people with diverse views. Due to the local nature, they can be impacted significantly by local change such as gentrification and immigration. They may also struggle due to financial demands related to staffing and building upkeep on a smaller community and can place significant demand on a solo pastor.

  3. Regional Churches
    Regional churches often draw people from a larger geographical area. They are less connected with the local community and have a more program-driven and organised approach. They often have multiple staff, each specialising in different ministry areas with some administrative support roles. The role of the pastor in these churches is less focused on connecting in community and more focused on leading a staff team. These churches often base most of their ministry around this centralised location. These churches can become resource churches for other churches in there are.

    Regional churches tend to be most effective in middle to upper class suburban populations where there is a large proportion of Christians, or a significant de-churched community. Their programmatic approach often attracts families and young people and allows for pastors to work in areas they are most passionate about, rather than holding multiple areas of responsibilities. Regional churches risk becoming disconnected to their local community and distracted from multiplying disciples due to the demands of current programming.

  1. Multi-site Churches
    Multi-site churches are churches who have made an intentional decision to plant in different locations yet stay under the same leadership and governance structures. Multi-site churches can have a mixture of models involved in different sites, but often take a more regional church approach. Church plants functions as new congregations of the same church and are supported by central resourcing.

    Multi-site churches are an effective way to reach into a new local community that may not initially be able to support a church community. It provides support and accountability for the planting pastor, while releasing them to plant a new expression. The challenge for planters of this form of church is often balancing the autonomy of the new site with the alignment with the sending church. There is also a challenge for new sites to be contextually relevant to the local community while still respecting the central location.

  2. Mega Churches
    Mega churches are very large churches who are often both regional churches and multi-site churches. Healthy mega churches seek to support and resource city wide movements, and intentionally seek to raise up and develop leaders for ministry and church planting. They are often supported by large staff teams, both of ministry and administrative staff.

    Mega churches can be an effective way to reach cities or regional areas in significant ways. The resources of a mega church often allow them to develop leaders and programs that can have a broad impact. Leading a mega church well takes a very humble and open-handed leader, who uses their influence to serve the city and the broader church, rather than their own needs or the needs of their church.

Do you want to read further about different models of church planting, access this free book by Ralph Moore, Mega, Multi, Micro. No matter what type of church you want to plant, you should connect with others who can support you through the process. If you want to talk more about church planting in your context, contact Exponential and we will connect you with people who can help you discern your next steps.