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Parent Church Pastors Blog

Welcome to the Parent Church Pastors Blog. We will be recruiting the help of some very productive Parent Church Pastors to share their wisdom and expertise about the Parenting/Partnering Process. We hope that their insight will help you as you work to develop your teams or plan your church multiplication strategy. If there is a topic that you would like us to touch on, please email us at info@mnchurchplanting.com.


Who Should Be My Church Planter?

Church plants have greater success when working with a parent church. You may have church planters seeking your church as their parent church or you may have dreams of your church planting churches. As the parent church pastor, how do you know who will be the right church planter to work with?

When I was around 8 years old, I wanted to be an ice dancer. Unfortunately, I had never been on ice skates. I had no understanding of what being an ice dancer would involve. Rather than enter myself in an ice dancing competition, first I put on skates and stepped onto ice. I realized immediately that I was not designed for ice dancing.

Many dream of planting a church but have no understanding of what it will involve. Rather than immediately plopping them into a church planting setting, it is wise to assess them. Assessing church planter candidates provides a picture of his or her personality, experience and potential to succeed. Through assessment a person may realize that he or she is not designed to plant a church.

Our office uses Church Planter Profiles to assess church planting candidates and will gladly help you in the process of assessing potential planters. We are able to see who is ready to plant now, who has potential to be trained to plant in the future and who might need to reevaluate the dreams of being a church planter.

Even if someone assesses well, that does not mean you should parent a church with him or her, especially when it comes to campus churches or Parent Affiliated Churches (PACs). Finding the right person involves asking many questions.

How is the church planter’s vision compatible with the vision of your church?
What are the church planter’s theological views?
What expectations does the church planter have from you and your church? Are you willing to deliver those?
What expectations do you and the parent church have for the church planter? Is the church planter willing to deliver on those?
How does the church planter’s personality mesh with your personality?
How does the church planter respond to leadership?
What do others think about this person as a church planter, including the planter’s spouse and family?
What ministry experience does this person have? 
What church planting experience and/or previous involvement in a church plant does this person have?
Are there any red flags about the church planter or working with this individual?

When you hire a staff member, you consider the expectations for the job with the applicant’s experience and qualifications. You take into account the personality of the applicant and determine whether that person will work well with the rest of the team. In the same manner carefully examine potential church planters.

It is wise to assess church planters early and often. Before you agree to parent a church planter who approaches you, take the time to assess the church planter. When you seek individuals for your church planting dreams, take the time to assess before offering a role to anyone. 

Even with assessments and asking questions, we must always trust the Holy Spirit to guide us in our church planting. 

- Amber Woller

If you are interested in having a church planter assessed or would like more information, please contact our office.


Parenting Churches - Dave Oler's Story

"I believe our church planting story began at our 2009 Missions Convention when we invited God to use our church to be a blessing to the entire region of Northeast Minnesota.  After the Convention, my radar was up waiting for God to show us the next steps to impact our area.

I believe it was a cold February day when I was invited by Roger Stacy to meet Mike Stevens at a local restaurant. The result of that meeting was a clear opportunity for our church to Parent a new church plant in Cloquet. At that time, Cloquet was the largest city in Minnesota that did not have an Assembly of God church. Once our leadership said YES to the opportunity, the Lord showed us His power through working out all the details. For instance, our church planter received an opportunity to live rent free in a home in the community. Also, a local church in the community who had built a new building but had come upon hard times asked Mike to preach for them each Sunday and compensated him. Later on they allowed him to launch Good Hope Church from their facility. Not long after that we were able to help them out by purchasing the building debt free. This past week we celebrated Good Hope’s 3rd birthday. Today, over 170 people will worship Jesus in that young faith community in Cloquet, MN.


In the Fall of 2011, Zach McNeil asked to meet with me. Zach and his wife, Michelle, had been attending our church for a year after moving back from the Twin Cities. They live about 25 miles from Hibbing in a small rural community named Goodland.  Zach told me he had a burden for his community and spoke about some of the need there. He asked if he could start a Bible Study in his home. I gladly gave him permission because I knew he had receive a call to ministry years ago and I thought perhaps now is the time for him to take those steps. By week two of the Bible study there were 30 people who showed up at his home. When Zach reported this to me, I asked him if he would consider planting a church in that town. Within a week, he felt confident that this is what the Lord was calling him to do. There was only a shutdown church building available in the community for a meeting place. We were offered the chance to use it for free and on Easter Sunday in 2012 we launched Goodland Community Church and 130 people showed up to celebrate. That was stunning since Goodland has a population of 41 people.  Today, 18 months later the church has continued to reach people and has close to 75 attendees.


We started parenting because of the enormous need in our area. We’ve learned that the Lord honors and blesses every step of faith we take to build His Kingdom.  We have found that our people are more engaged in our missions efforts because they see proof that it works.  Overall, the ministry has grown from 300 to over 600 through multiplying. These new families has faith in Christ because we took steps of faith to become a parent church."


Dave Oler
First Assembly of God, Hibbing 


Parenting Churches - Dirk Currier's Story

When Dirk Currier began pastoring Northwoods Assembly of God in Perham, he didn’t necessarily have a passion for church planting, yet his passion for training leaders and focus on evangelism has led Northwoods to parent two churches. The first church plant, Harvest Barn in Detroit Lakes, was a result of Brian Erickson, one of Dirk’s leaders, developing a heart for the nearby community. Rather than selfishly hold on to a leader, Dirk made the choice to support and empower Brian’s call to start a Cowboy Church. The second church plant, Northwoods Life Church in Walker, held its grand opening this past Easter, led by Gary Flow. Both Harvest Barn and Northwoods Life Church have already expressed desire to plant churches themselves.

As the leader of the parenting church, Dirk emphasizes the value of unity between the campuses. He builds into his leaders. He connects on the phone and spends time in person with them regularly. His team attends the Sticky Teams Conference, and if they can’t go together, then he buys the DVDs and they watch them together. When the team attends District Council, they take time for doing fun activities together. Leaders of the other campuses return to the mother church to speak. This gives opportunity for others to see what has happened to their investment as well as connect the campuses. Whenever possible, special guest speakers are shared between the campuses.

Parenting church plants has brought Northwoods several benefits:

  • Attendees enjoy the other campuses.
  • The network of campuses helps the church be known in the community. 
  • They are setting the pace and raising the bar for other churches in their community. 
  • When you have an evangelistic outlook, there are fewer inward problems. 
  • The cost to parent a church has been less than a building program. 
  • Most important, souls are being saved!

Although it is never easy to send leaders away, Dirk said, “We can be selfish and hang on to them or we can be evangelistic and let them go and reach people we would never reach.”


Reaching the World...Right Across the Street

Back in October we hosted a CMN START Conference at North Central University.  It was a great time of connecting with students and inspiring them to consider being involved in starting a new faith community.  In fact many of them signed up to continue the conversation at additional events throughout the year.

Last night we held the second follow up event.  We were joined by over 20 students and a couple of our church planters.  The focus of the evening was cross-cultural church planting or ethnic church plants.  Dr. Lee Allison spoke on the need for cross cultural church planting in our nation.  He used an example that compared ethnic church plants and "emergent" or "post modern" church plants over the last several years.  In the time that 175 post-modern or emergent churches were planted over 700 Asian churches were planted.  Which begs the question which one is a "movement".  We need people to reach out to the world that has come to our doorstep.  The reality is that people from closed countries, where it is illegal to proselytize, are now here in the US where we are free to share with them the love of Christ and they are free to respond to His call.  This is an incredible opportunity to reach people who have never been reached before.  I was reading yesterday that the US is the second-largest spanish speaking country in the world and is estimated to take over the first place spot by the year 2050.  It is no wonder that our hispanic districts are exploding with new churches.  People from all over the world are pouring into our country and we have the opportunity, like never before, to reach the world right here at home with the Gospel of Christ.  Growing up my pastor used to say “find a need and fill it” look around you.  There are over 130 different language groups in Minnesota and they all need to hear about the love of Christ.  That is a pretty big need.  Now, who is going to fill it.  It could be you!

If you are interested in reaching any one of the diverse ethnic groups here in Minnesota please contact our office at mdwyer@mnaog.org or call 612-332-2400.


Make Missions Giving A Part Of Your DNA

Sandy and I were in pastoral ministry for 14 years before we became missionaries to the former Soviet Union. In 1985, we planted Abundant Life Community Church in Blaine. The city planner told me back then, “There are already too many churches in Blaine, why don’t you go to East Bethel or somewhere north, we will not let any more land be taken up for a church in this town”. But God had called us specifically to Blaine! For more than 6 years we searched for land. They were the years of our wilderness wanderings- 100s of people every week meeting in a JR high school gym, homes, an apartment building community room, a bank, all over Blaine- almost 7 years and still, no land, no place to build a home for our church. 

Over those years we had saved about $40,000 in a land purchase account (a lot of $ in the ‘80s!) But nothing was opening. One morning I received a letter from Rich Scherber. At that time Rich and Lynette were missionaries in South Africa. They needed $4K to build a church in the Orange Free State. And as I was reading his letter, God spoke to me- “tithe on your land fund and build that church!” I went to my board and told them what I thought God had said. We were a missions minded church, we supported missionaries and ministries all over the world.  We loved missions! 

But on this one, my board had every right to say- “pastor, what about our church? What about our needs? That money is for land here! We do a lot for missions, but we don’t even have a building- this money is ours!” I really expected some push back! But not one person said anything like that. Instead, my board said “Yes, this is God, let’s do it!”

We sent Rich the $4K they built the church, named it Abundant Life (like ours), sent us pictures! But within weeks of sending that check, a farmer came into my office who owned huge sod farms all over Blaine. He said, I don’t know why, but I’d be willing to sell you some of my land for your church. He sold us 10 beautiful acres within clear view of Hwy 65 right in the heart of Blaine. Today the church has 20 acres, a beautiful campus, and it’s surrounded by 100s of new homes and families!

Make missions a part of your church plant’s DNA. “Seek first the Kingdom of God and all these things shall be added unto you”-if God’s mission is our mission, He’ll make sure we have everything we need to succeed in what He calls us to do.


Dr. Lee Allison
World Missions Dir, MN District
Intl. Ministries Coordinator, Minnesota Church Multiplication

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