The general trend in urban areas is that as the density of the population goes up, the presence of the church goes down. Many groups including Stadia are trying to increase the presence of the church in some of the most densely populated parts of the Twin Cities through church planting. For our Urban Church Planting Q & A series, we interview Chris Brooks, Midwest Regional Executive at Stadia, a church planting network. We include links to Stadia Church Planter Resources, including a Church Planter Coaching Reading List, a Church Plant Budget Template, and other church planting organizations.
1. Why is urban church planting in the Twin Cities important?
The Twin Cities metro is changing rapidly, and those changes are driving relocation as many people are moving into the city. New housing developments are being built at a rapid pace, especially in and around downtown. The Southside of Minneapolis is seeing ongoing revitalization along the Lake Street corridor, and the Northside of Minneapolis is seeing similar development and investment along the Broadway corridor. These two streets are arguably the most historically notorious streets in Minneapolis. The times are changing. As urban areas develop, there will be a need for new churches that speak new languages (both literally and figuratively) to reach the new neighbors.
2. Do you have a church planting model you encourage churches to follow or resources you found beneficial regarding the unique goal of church planting in an urban setting?
The model that I feel is most effective is the “Network Church Planting” model. In this model, a network of like-minded churches join forces to co-plant churches. This model is working in multiple urban metro areas across our nation, and would be a great model to use here in Greater MSP.
3. Is it necessary for a church to be “different” in order to find its identity and/or contrast it with established churches in the area?
That depends on the Church’s mission. New people groups need new churches that speak their language. If a church is reaching a new people group (Hipsters, ethnic groups), then it may be necessary to differentiate from existing churches to appeal to unreached people.
4. How do you recommend pastors deal with the ebb and flow of growth patterns in the early years, and when and how does it look like a church is sustainable?
Pastors need to measure what matters, but not let measurement dominate all of their thinking. Understanding that ultimately God brings the results can help Pastors avoid placing too much emphasis on temporary metrics.
5. What is the loneliest part of church planting? How can pastors find community?
I do not feel qualified to answer this question, except to say that in the Network Church Planting model community is “baked in,” so that a new church planter has an immediate and sustainable community of colleagues.
6. What are some of the challenges of planting a church in an urban setting? How can pastors get to know and become familiar with the community they planted in?
Sadly, the financial model for planting in an urban setting remains challenging. Even the most connected, indigenous urban planter often faces the reality that many of the people they are reaching and shepherding are not in a place to provide significant financial contributions (tithes & offerings). This is the area that needs the most attention and needs solutions. Within Stadia, we have piloted some ideas that are bearing fruit.
Chris Brooks is the Midwest Regional Executive at Stadia. Chris is an ordained pastor who has served with the Minneapolis Public Schools, the Willow Creek Association, World Vision and in various churches.
Other Church Planting Groups: