Author Archives: Duncan Macleod

Chris Elrod on Church Planting

Chris Elrod, pastor at Compass Point, Lakeland Florida, has been writing honestly about his experiences of church planting over three years with the Southern Baptist Convention. Chris has a background as a comedian and toured the United States during the 1990s. In January he wrote a four part series on his blog talking about the reframing of his leadership of the congregation that began as a Bible study in his lounge in 2004.

After three years Chris realised that he’d become sucked in to the pressure to recreate the coolness of well known ‘hip’ churches, trying to become the next Mark Driscoll or Rob Bell. Attempts to ramp up numbers through guilt messages and high profile community stunts just didn’t work, and in fact backfired. Read his posts to pick up on what he learned about integrity and compassion.

Part 1: I was heading around turn three when all of a sudden it spun out of control

Part 2: The Sound Of Screeching Tires And Crunching Metal

Part 3: Life On Pit Row

Part 4: The Conclusions.

The four part article has also been reproduced at Next-Wave Ezine.

Forge Seminars on Pioneering Leadership

Forge Missional Training Network is offering two weekends on pioneering leadership for mission in October, each with different content.

Friday/Saturday 12/13 October Goodlife Community Church, Buderim
Friday/Saturday 26/27 October Bracken Ridge Baptist Church, Bracken Ridge

Speakers are Stephen Hinks (ACOM), Randy Edwards (ACOM), Lloyd Martin (Praxis New Zealand), Duncan Brown (Capacity Builders), Beatriz Skippen (UC Prison Ministries), Dave Chatelier, Brent Sweeney and Brett Swan.

Steve Turner will be running Saturday afternoon workshops for the Uniting Church’s U-Turn initiative, encouraging the development of small groups that engage people outside the church environment.

Cost is $45 per day. Download the registration form here.

Forge seminars on Spirituality Discipleship and Sustainability

Forge Queensland is offering two weekends on sustainable models of spirituality and discipleship, over two weekends, 9 – 5 pm on the Friday and Saturday. Previous ‘intensives’ were held over four days, Friday – Saturday, Monday – Tuesday.

This Spirituality Discipleship and Sustainability unit focuses on the specific spirituality issues faced by people involved in pioneering mission to emerging global cultures.

In relation to spirituality, it relates to finding God outside the church and in strange places. Christian spirituality has been so tied to a Christendom mode of church, and as a result of that we have become dualistic in our understanding of God, church and world. Life is divided into sacred and secular, and God is found in one but not the other. This unit seeks to address this issue directly and help the student to re-conceive his/her relationship to God and the world in a more holistic and biblical way.

The nature and essential character of discipleship will also be explored in relation to contemporary cultural situations and alternative religions. The unit will focus particularly on consumerism as a major religious alternative to Christianity today.

Finally, because missional work is difficult, the unit explores the whole concept of sustainability – staying in there for the long haul. Appropriate disciplines and structures for sustainable mission are developed.

Forge Intensive Heading

This unit presents new models of spirituality, consistent and sustainable for mission in a post-modern context.

By the successful completion of this unit, the student should be able to:
• Demonstrate a thorough knowledge of models of sustainable mission in ‘edgy’ missional contexts.
• Demonstrate a well-developed understanding of ways in which prevailing forms of Christian spirituality can move to being more actional and concrete rather than passive and conceptual.
• Display a well-developed ability to describe and analyse the prevailing consumerist model of church and faith in the West and propose new models of discipleship and spirituality.
• Present a critical response, demonstrating well-developed skills in evaluating how churches worldwide are reinterpreting worship in a missional mode, and how this draws on the history of worship.
• Value and critically regard sources of spirituality outside the church and the opportunities that provide for deepening faith.
• Value radical discipleship over consumerism amongst the people of God.

1) Spirituality outside of the church.
2) Sustainability and mission.
3) Leadership and character issues.
4) Mission and the Spirit.
5) Community.
6) Discipleship & growth.
7) Hebraic foundations for a missional spirituality
8) Justice and a spirituality of activism.
9) Discipling “twenty somethings”.

June 15-16
Goodlife Community Centre Sunshine Coast

Session 1 & 2 Dave Andrews – community as the discipling process
Session 3 & 4 Ken Baker on Hebraic foundations for a missional spirituality
Julia Verdouw on sustainability with finances

July 13-14
Bracken Ridge Baptist Church

Stephen Said, Duncan Macleod, David Chatelier will work through issues surrounding spirituality, consumerism and generational leadership.

The cost is $40 per day or 2 days for $60. Students and unemployed – a donation.

Download the registration form here.

Mission Shaped Church

Mission Shaped Church book coverChurch Planting and fresh expressions of church in a changing context

Parish churches alone are no longer able to meet the needs of the highly mobile society of today. We need a range of expressions of church to engage with the variety of networks in our communities.

Mission-Shaped Church is a Church of England report, published in 2004. At the heart of the report is the need for a ‘mixed economy’ of parish churches and network churches in active partnership across a wide geographical area.

Most people do not naturally build their friendship circles on the basis of geography, choosing instead to rely on informal networks. In many cases people live in isolation, becoming consumers without community. ‘Fresh expressions’ of church are needed to connect such networks with Christian faith.

‘Fresh expressions’ generally occur outside the normal Sunday morning worship service. Most connect small groups and relational mission and relate to a particular network of people. Examples given include alternative worship communities, café church, cell church, churches arising out of community initiatives, school-based and school-linked congregations, traditional church plants, new monastic communities and youth congregations.

The Mission-Shaped Church report strongly recommends that fresh expressions become legally recognised by the wider church rather than be treated as an interesting experiment or project. Bishops (read Presbyteries?) are urged to broker the sending of fresh mission teams to cultures or areas where mission presence is thin or non-existent. The report pushes for the identification, selection and training of pioneer church planters, both lay and ordained.

Mission Shaped Church is available from Koorong or can be downloaded as a free PDF file from or bought at the Planning to Plant conference in Brisbane, February 15.

Also available: Mission-shaped Church: A Theological Response by John M. Hull, and Building the Mission-Shaped Church in Australia, by Alan Nichols.


next1000 is a partnership of individuals, churches and organizations actively committed to planting one thousand new Australian churches. The initial gathering of the network was called together in August this year by Steve Addison, of CRM Australia, Tim O’Neill (Ignite), Steve Hall and Wayne Krause. 30 people gathered in Sheffield, Tasmania to map out a vision for an Australian church planting movement.

next1000 now has a web site,, with networking information and resources for church planting. Steve sets out the vision for next 1000 in his free downloadable e-book, available from the web site.

The framework for the next1000 vision spills out of the CRM Matrix Church Planting Movement process that birthed ‘Seeds of Hope’. The eight key factors identified for strategic development are:

  1. Leading: casting vision for church planting movements
  2. Recruiting: finding the leaders we need now
  3. Selecting: choosing the right people
  4. Coaching: empowering church planters
  5. Equipping: training church planters and their teams
  6. Farming: growing the leaders of the future
  7. Parenting: enabling healthy churches to reproduce
  8. Sustaining: funding a church planting movement

The next event in the next1000 movement is a national summit being held at Stanwell Tops, south of Sydney, February 28 – March 2, 2007.
Pre-summit Coach Training February 27 – 28, 2007. Liam Glover from NCD Australia will equip coaches in the application of Natural Church Development to church planting. Steve Addison will lead a workshop on coaching church planters.

Planning To Plant Conferences

Martin Robinson will be speaking at seven one-day conferences in Australia focusing on church planting, between Saturday 3 February and Thursday 15 February, 2007.

Martin Robinson, the National Director of Together in Mission in the UK, will be looking at key elements involved in preparing to plant a new church or congregation. Topics will include church/congregation planting models, researching an area or target group, developing a church planting vision and strategy and enthusing others about it, building and training a core team, evangelising an area/target group, holding onto new converts and contacts prior to starting public meetings.

Sydney – Saturday 3 February, St Pauls’ Chatswood Anglican Church

Perth – Tuesday 6 February – South Perth Church of Christ

Adelaide – Wednesday 7 February – Holy Trinity Church

Hobart -  Thursday 8 February – Holy Trinity Church

Melbourne – Tuesday 13 February, Glen Waverley Anglican Church

Canberra – Wednesday 14 February, Hughes Baptist Church

Brisbane – Thursday 15 February, Ashgrove Baptist Church

The conferences are being organised by Gospel Outreach Ministries, an interdenominational organisation based in Sydney. Greg Middleton, founder and executive officer, works with Stuart Robinson, senior minister of Chatswood Anglican Church in Sydney and National Mission Facilitator for the Anglican General Synod, Peter Kaldor, and Ian Harrison.

Download the registration form (126 kb pdf document) from Gospel Outreach Ministries.

Planting New Churches in a Postmodern Age

Ed StetzerEd Stetzer wrote “Planting New Churches in a Postmodern Age”, in 2003, providing ‘an instruction book for planting biblically faithful and culturally relevant churches’.

Ed has planted churches in New York, Georgia and Pennsylvania. He serves as the Missiologist and Research Team Director at the North American Mission Board in Alpharetta, GA (Southern Baptist) and co-pastor of Lake Ridge Church in Cumming, GA. Ed has a useful web site, NewChurches, focusing on church planting.

The book, “Planting New Churches in a Postmodern Age”, has six parts.

Part 1 – Basics of Church Planting

Stetzer deals with common objections to church planting in a North AMerican environment. He provides answers to those caught in a large church mentality, parish church mindset, professional church syndrome, “rescue the perishing syndrome”, and those who believe the “already reached myth”.

Ed continues by making the connection between church planting and missional theology. He contends that two parallel problems keep many believers from engaging with unchurched culture: a focus on techniques that ignores the substance of faith, and a focus on tradition that ignores accessibility.

Contemporary approaches to church planting are grounded by Stetzer in the examples of church planting found in the commissionings of Jesus and the work of the early church founds in the Acts of the Apostles.

Ed provides a few models for church planting, giving Biblical and contemporary examples, analysing the paradigm, principles, pros and cons.

  1. Apostolic Harvest Church Planter
    starts churches, raises up leaders from the harvest and moves to new church
  2. Founding Pastor
    Starts a church, acts as a ‘church planter’ for short time, remains long term to pastor the new church
  3. Team Planting
    Group of planters relocates into an area to start a church. Often the team has a senior pastor.

Part 2 – Basics of New Church Life
Stetzer looks at what it takes to plant a church. He looks at the role of teams, individuals, lay people, agencies and denominations, and churches. He draws on Charles Ridley’s thirteen categories that indicate likely effectiveness.

Ed advises new churches to carefully choose a structure before starting and try and stick to it. Constantly changing approach saps morale, he says. Congregational purpose should shape the leadership structure.

There’s a chapter on the daily responsibilities and schedule for planters, placing priorities on evangelistic outreach, sermon and study preparation, administration and ‘ministry’ that focuses on people who are likely to become ‘reproducing leaders’. He provides a helpful warning about ‘cultural fatigue’ and advises planters to meet weekly with a supervisor.

Stetzer identifies five roles that need to be filled before a public worship service can be launched (based on Bob Logan’s advice). 1. Pastor – charismatic leader and vision caster. 2. Worship leader responsible for a worship team. 3. Preschool Children’s Minister. 4. Assimilation Coordinator – involves church members and guests more deeply in the life of the congregation. 5. Evangelism networker – promotes activities to reach unchurched and assists other leaders in evangelism through their networks. 5. Spiritual Gifts Mobilizer – coaches peopls in identifying gifts and using them. Stetzer also identifies the critical role played by a ‘welcome coordinator’ and ‘financial organizer’. He warns against appointing new leaders quickly – new church plants attract people from other churches with an agenda.

Planting New Churches in a Postmodern AgePart 3 – Understanding Cultures and Models

Stetzer begins this section by identifying the cultures associated with the Builder and Boomer generations. When it comes to the next generations he cautions against making generalisations based on age cohort, choosing instead to lump them all together as ‘Postmoderns’. I’m not convinced about his arguments. True – predictions about future trends are often shown to be inaccurate. However it is helpful to explore the shared experiences and values being developed by emerging cohorts.

When it comes to exploring modernism and postmodernism, Stetzer draws heavily on Millard Erickson. He summarises the movement in the church and wider culture by writing about a shift ‘from text to interpretations’, ‘from Meta-narratives to Mini-narratives’, and ‘from External to Internal Truth’.

Stetzer contends that postmodernism as a worldview is antithetical to the gospel. He qualifies this statement however by distinguishing between ‘soft’ or ‘pop’ postmodernism and ‘hard’ postmodernism. Stetzer is interested in developing churches that engage with postmodern culture while remaining true to Biblical truth, to reach people who are culturally postmodern.
Stetzer asserts that successful ‘postmodern churches’ will be unashamedly spiritual, promote incarnational ministry, engage in service, value experiential praise, preach narrative expository messages, appreciate and participate in ancient patterns, visualise worship, connect with technology, live community, and lead by transparency and team.

Ed includes a chapter on ethnic church planting models, pointing out that in most denominational settings in the United States the majority of church planting is African-American or ‘ethnic’. He also includes a chapter on house churches, noting that some of his book is not relevant to that setting.

Part 4 – Church Planting Nuts and Bolts

This section covers the practical matters of choosing a focus group for mission, developing a core group, running small groups, finding and handling finances, and choosing a name and logo. He includes a chapter on evangelism, combining insights from the Engel Scale and the Gray Matrix to present the Stetzer Evangelism Journey.

Part 5 – Starting Off Right

This section is designed for new churches that head off into ‘launch mode’ with a public worship service. Stetzer writes about finding a meeting place, getting the attention of the media, launching the new church, worship, preaching, assimilation of new members, growth and children.

Church Planting By Adoption

A denomination or congregation connects with an existing group for a restart. There are a number of ways this may happen.

An existing group invites a larger congregation to help restart by injecting vision, resources and leadership, and perhaps people and finances.

A congregation may enter into a symbiotic relationship with another group who have the capacity to reach a particular people group. For example, a traditional Sunday morning congregation could invite a Pentecostal team to plant an evening youth-focused congregation.

A congregation or denomination could invite an existing group to ‘sign up’. In some cases this group may be growing well but needs a resourcing partner and/or network.


An existing group may have existing access to a network of relationships and entry points into local community.

The effective combination of resources and local knowledge

Fresh input from a wider leadership team can help a local group get over earlier problems.


A local group may have struggled to grow because of dysfunctional attitudes in the leadership and membership. These need to be explored as they’re uncovered.
The local group and new sponsor/partner need to ensure that vision and values are compatible – not necessarily identical.

Forge Pioneering Leadership Intensive

Forge Missional Training Network, Queensland, is hosting Lloyd Martin, Darryn Altclass and Alan Hirsch for four days of training intensives. There’s still plenty of room for extra participants.

Friday 27 October

Darryn Altclass on How to start a Church Plant, how to lead one
Lloyd Martin on Challenges of mission in post-modern contexts

Saturday 28 October
Darryn Altclass on Strategic missional leadership
Lloyd Martin on models for working with young people in community context, and connecting with people in crisis

Monday 30 October
Lloyd Martin on building community, self care out on the edge
Duncan Macleod on servant mission leadership
Alan Hirsch – The forgotten ways – Missional DNA 1

Tuesday 31 October
Alan Hirsch – The forgotten ways – Missional DNA 2 & 3
David Chatelier – Personal stories of mission/evangelism
Steve Turner – Open Forum

Speaker Profiles

Lloyd Martin with coffee cupLloyd & Anthea Martin live in Porirua, a vibrant, poor, multicultural, migrant suburb of Wellington (NZ), where they work in the community, experiment with new ways of doing church, and bring up their kids plus various animals.

Lloyd coordinates Praxis, a network of Christian practitioners in youth and community work, which exists to help others get started in walking with Jesus in their communities. He teaches and writes about working alongside fragile young people and communities. Although he is not as fast around the soccer field as he used to be, Lloyd is blessed with the ability to put goals away with either foot.

Lloyd is the author of One Faith: Two Peoples, an insightful exploration of the development of indigenous approaches to faith among Evangelical Maori Christians in Aotearoa New Zealand. More recently Lloyd published The Invisible Table, a youthwork textbook used in New Zealand.

Darryn Altclass is based in Hobart, Tasmania. Darryn is involved with Forge nationally and is also involved with third place communities in Hobart. Third Place Communities is a collective of missionaries & mission-communities who share & incarnate Jesus in local third places through participating in the social rhythms & practicing the presence of Christ.

Alan Hirsch speaking in Melbourne Alan Hirsch is the national director of Forge Mission Training Network, a specialist missional leadership development system focused on the emerging missional church. Alan was also the Director of Missional Development for the Churches of Christ in Vic./Tas. and team leader of Restoration Community Network, a movement of churches reaching fringe sub-cultures in inner-city Melbourne. He was a founding member of the International Missional Team, a mission strategy think-tank among Churches of Christ in the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand.

Alan has co-authored with Michael Frost a book called The Shaping of Things to Come, on missional church in the incarnational mode.

To register for the Pioneering Leadership Intensive, phone Kelly Edginton 0422 407 859.

Church Planting by Colonization

A sending church commissions one or two couples to go and live in a new area some distance away. This could involve moving home and perhaps starting in new employment. This model is most likely to work effectively in new housing areas.

The team would need to have a lifestyle that allows plenty of time for connecting with local people. Team members would need to have the capacity for self-starting leadership in which sustainable patterns of discipleship are expressed.

This model makes it possible to start in an area where there are no  local church able to plant. A sending church with an excess of local leadership can use and develop leadership skills. A sending church can become actively involved in missionary situation in the same country.

This model requires particular gifts and high commitment. There’s a high risk of burnout, particularly if quick results are expected. Starting with a small team means planning for a long term venture in which rapid results are rare.  If the small team are to be freed to put time into the venture there’s a high cost of financial support. Supervision and support may be difficult at a distance.