Church Planting: An “Outside-In” Process

Discipleship is an inside-out process, whereas planting churches should be an outside-in process.
We begin with a heart for reaching the far-from-God in church planting.

Let me quote my friend, Pastor Jeff, who planted Sanctuary Church in Toronto:

Before we started The Sanctuary in 2001, we had a core team of four committed families. We spent six months cultivating relationships with people in order to develop the beginnings of trust.
Six months in, we had a pretty good list of names of friends. We asked if they would gather in a
community center one evening and give us some advice.

We explained that two things would take place. We would have a meal together, and I was going to ask one simple question. No one would be embarrassed or put on the spot. We valued and needed their thoughts.

That evening came. In that room sat 60 friends. Here was the question: How would you describe your ideal spiritual community? Elaborate by explaining what is important? What is not? What is significant? What is irrelevant? What does it do? What doesn’t it do? Paint a picture.

  • I was not expecting to hear what I was about to hear.

Unchurched person after unchurched person stood up and shared a picture of the ideal spiritual
community. These were the three most common themes:

  1. God would be important every day, not on just one day.
  2. It would be a spiritual community that cared for the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of one another.
  3. It would be a spiritual community that took responsibility for the greater community. Only as the Holy Spirit could have arranged it, I had already had my index finger jammed in my Bible to hold the place open to Acts 2:42-47.

Over the next 12 months, we baptized 52.
Over the next nine years, these friends would “give themselves away” nine more times, multiplying
themselves into 10 congregations in the Toronto area.

They would give time, resources and leadership away to start two church-planting organizations, which together have started numerous churches within our city. (Jeff Christopherson, Kingdom Matrix, Russell Media, 2012, pages 68-71)

Pastor Jeff will be our speaker at the Alabama Church Planter Network Dinner on Sunday, November 13, 2016, at Eastern Hills Baptist Church, Montgomery. Registration and fellowship time will be from 4:30 to 6 p.m., followed by dinner, worship and sessions for planters and wives. The cost is $25 per couple or $15 per person.

More details are available at:

For more information about church planting among Alabama Baptists, please contact State Missionary Lamar Duke, lead church planting strategist, at 1-800-264-1225, ext. 332, or (334) 613-2332,

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