Stages of Reproduction
by JD Pearring, Church Planting Lead
Part of what Transformation Ministries is all about is helping churches partner with and parent new churches. Some churches are excited about the possibilities and on board with reproducing. Others seem disinterested in church planting. Still others find themselves in the middle of those options.
Let’s take a look at what we might call the STAGES OF REPRODUCTION:
Some churches are currently resisting reproduction. Like couples who have decided against having children, these churches do not want to reproduce. Church Planting expert Bob Logan uses the term “hostile” to describe how some pastors and churches respond to the idea of parenting a daughter church. One famous pastor of a mega-church in our country once remarked, “We came dangerously close to planting a daughter church.”
Other churches find themselves grappling with the clear Biblical command to “go forth and multiply.” They are starting to wonder why this hasn’t been part of the natural development in their church. They are asking questions, checking studies and beginning to realize that they do not want to be, as multiplication specialist Red Ensley put it, “a dead-end link on the chain of Christianity.”
Many, if not most churches find themselves in the “Not Now” stage. They realize that health leads to reproduction. They recognize the need to expand and parent someday, but they are caught up with other things right now. These folks typically say things like, “As soon as we get our facility built we’ll consider a plant.” Or, “We’re not large enough yet.” Or, “When we get our staffing, or program, or financial issues remedied, we’ll look into it.”
Many churches have moved to the stage where they are actually doing something. They might be financially supporting a church planter or two. They may open their facilities to a church plant in their area or perhaps they’ve given gently used equipment to a new church in the region. They have jumped into the game.
Other churches have moved to the point of being an Aunt or Uncle church. They might not feel ready to parent, but they are willing to generously support a planter. They’re having planters up front in their services and are growing in support of a church planting movement.
Some churches have moved a bit farther along the reproduction journey. They’ve become that special Aunt or Uncle–the GodParent. They are praying and giving and are available for special appeals by church plants for one-time gifts over and above previous commitments; to send people to help out with a preview service; or to have a baby shower to buy items for a church plant’s nursery.
Some churches have actually moved to the point of daughtering a church. Like having kids biologically, this might be a deliberate, planned, thought-out strategy. A parent church might have the clear approach that they will give $50,000 to $100,000 and 50-100 people to get a church launched. Or it might be more of “an accident.” They might only be able to give a few bucks and a few people, but they are responding to God’s personal call to be parents. They may or may not be joined by another parent church, but they’ve taken responsibility to help a church get going.
Some churches have had such a good experience in parenting, that they are having plenty of kids. My four sisters have had seven kids, seven kids, six kids and four kids respectively. And I’ve joked that they are baby-machines, constantly pregnant. Some churches are like that–they’ve become multiplication centers.
Some have multiplied so much that they’ve approached becoming a denomination unto themselves. Their kids are having kids. Some are reproducing like wildfire, leaving a lasting legacy.
Churches range throughout these stages, from resistant to rapid reproduction.
The application is clear: let’s identify where our church currently finds itself along the reproductive journey. Is your church resistant? Questioning? Waiting? Involved? Moving toward parenting? Cranking them out?
After identifying where we are, there’s one last application I’d like to challenge you and your church to take: consider making some movement further along the reproductive line. If you’re thinking, “Not now,” I’d encourage you to rethink that and at least do something–support a church planter, give something. If you’re doing something, consider taking the challenge on of being a GodParent, or perhaps it is time to daughter that first church–or that second one.
Let’s move along the reproductive journey.
Church Planting Lead
I long to help pastors fulfill their calling to the mission of Jesus! I've been blessed to have others come alongside me, teaching me how to coach and support Christian leaders.
My StrengthsFinder top five are Futuristic, Ideation, Learner, Input, and Strategic meaning that I'd love to help you see a path forward in situations that seem impossible and difficult, from a ten-thousand-foot level, at a relational level, and/or in real life.
I'm currently the Senior Pastor at First Baptist Church of Alhambra (discoverthejoy.org), with extensive experience in SoCal and Texas as a church staff member, a missionary, and an academic.
I'm privileged to be married to my amazing wife and to parent our three great boys! I look forward to hearing from you!
- Rev Matt Barnes PhD
Jack is the former Executive Pastor for 32 years at High Desert Church in Victorville (highdesertchurch.com), California. He’s been on staff for over 37 years, has seen the church grow from under 150 to 8,000 people with four church sites in the High Desert, and currently serves as a Mentor Pastor for Transformations Ministries working with 9 Senior Pastors in the Inland Empire.
He’s served on a number of non-profit boards, including Forest Home Christian Conference Center, Association of Christian Schools International, and American Baptist Churches of the Pacific Southwest. He has also served as a public school board member for Hesperia Unified School District for 19 years in a district of nearly 22,000 students. Jack has also served on the board of directors for the Hesperia Recreation and Park District for 10 years and a church plant, Fellowship Monrovia Church for nine years.
Jack and his wife, Linda, have been married for 51 years and have 3 adult children and 6 grandchildren. Our oldest son, Ethan, is married and lives in San Diego, and is the Athletic Director at Point Loma Nazarene University. Our other two adult children, Phoebe and Jared, our both public school teachers for the Hesperia Unified School District. Each of the three adult children is married and has two children each.
Top 5 StrengthFinders:
Visit Jack's website: jackhamilton.co
A natural leader who is a compelling communicator, Dr. David Harris has over twenty-five years of ministry experience as a pastor, church planter, evangelist, church consultant, and conference speaker.
He served as the Thrive Director and the Managing Director of Thriving Churches International at Bayside Church in Granite Bay, CA. A native of Chillicothe, OH, he has served as an adjunct college professor and has pastored churches in Charlotte, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Sacramento, and Phoenix.
David loves investing in others, and he has coached pastors, corporate executives, and leaders in preaching and/or public speaking. Additionally, he has coached and developed hundreds of pastors and corporate leaders in leadership, team building, strategic planning, and conflict management. Helping others realize their maximum potential is a passion of his.
David’s wife, Tami, is the Regional Executive Director of Human Resources for a Fortune 500 Corporation out of Philadelphia. A California Labor Law Specialist, Tami has trained and taught hundreds of church leaders about the consequences of their HR Blind-spots, and how they can avoid them. Tami and David currently live in Scottsdale, AZ, with their two disobedient dogs and two cats.
David’s education is extensive and includes a BA in Christian Ministry, a Master of Church Management, and a Doctor of Ministry in Preaching and Communication Dynamics.
StrengthsFinders: Maximizer, Futuristic, Strategic, Activator, Learner
Bill has spent the past 30 years in pastoral ministry at Beachpoint Church (beachpoint.com) serving Huntington Beach and Fountain Valley, CA. Over the past 13 years, he has led the church as it’s senior pastor. Prior to that, he spent 17 years developing student and family ministries. He has also spent the past 22 years as an adjunct faculty member at Biola University and Talbot Seminary teaching Christian leadership and pastoral ministry.
His top five StrengthFinders are Belief, Strategic, Maximizer, Relator, and Significance.
Through God's unique design and years of experience, Bill has found a passion to come alongside pastors to discover God's vision, define reality, and discern a strategic way forward to make disciples.
Bill and Kimberly have been married for 31 years and they have three kids.
I’ve been in full-time ministry since 1985. Born in 1960 outside of Boston, MA. In my growing up years, while my dad pastored, we lived in Massachusetts, Ohio, Michigan, and New York State. I attended high school in East Lansing, MI, and Binghamton, NY. I then graduated from Judson University and Northern Baptist Theological Seminary (both in the Chicago area.)
My first full-time assignment was at First Baptist Church of Pontiac, IL as a youth and music pastor. In the last year of my time at Pontiac, I was the interim senior pastor until 1989.
In 1989, I moved to Kansas City, MO, and planted Rolling Hills Community Church and was so blessed to pastor that new congregation for 19 years. Then I moved to Big Bear Lake, CA in 2008 and was the lead pastor at First Baptist of Big Bear (Now Bear Valley Community Church) for 4 years. Then our family moved down the mountain and was the lead pastor at First Baptist Church of Temple City, CA, (now onehopetemplecity.org) for 9.5 years. Currently, in my semi-retirement years, I am the Connections Pastor at Grace Point Church in Topeka, KS (gracepointtopeka.org).
My top 5 StrengthFinders:
I simply want to coach pastors in order to come alongside and richly encourage them as I know ministry can be challenging, lonely, and draining, as well as at the same time rewarding, and invigorating. I believe there is no call like a lead pastor. Yet, pastors need others who understand what it is like to be a pastor – for no one can truly understand until they have been in such a called position.
I come from a line of pastors. My grandfather, dad, two uncles, and brother have all served as pastors. I believe I have a rich heritage and am still only here because I stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before me.
My wife, Diona, and I have been married 28 years and our son, Gabriel (age 26) and his wife, Tanya abide in Syracuse NY. They have a boy, John who is seven months old! We now reside in Topeka, KS near Diona’s mom and sister. I currently have a YouTube podcast called “Mathaino” and am teaching through the book of Exodus!
Gregg Svalstad currently serves as Executive Pastor at Purpose Church in Pomona (purposechurch.com ). He has also served in the roles of Senior, Associate, Discipleship & Groups, and Youth Pastor during his 40 years in ministry. He served in three different sized churches - small (150-250), medium (300-500), and large (3500), in very different geographical and demographic areas - Pomona (mid-urban Inland Empire), Sacramento, and Huntington Beach/Fountain Valley (Coastal Orange County).
Gregg's Top 5 StrengthsFinders are Developer, Arranger, Strategic, Adaptability, and Maximizer.
He has a sports background and feels like he was always a better coach than a player or performer. He has been serving as a mentor and coach throughout his ministry career and loves to coach pastors to be able to apply the perspective he has gained from all of his various roles to the role and context a pastor is currently serving.
Gregg and his wife Laurie will celebrate their 40th anniversary in 2023 and have two young adult children: Caleb (28) and Emma (23).
Bio coming soon!
Since 2011, I have considered myself an advocate and thought partner for those with whom I coach. My credentials pertinent to coaching pastor leaders are an undergraduate double major in Psychology and Philosophy/Religion; a Master of Arts in Leadership; and Certification as a Christian Leadership Coach (since 2012).
I am the Executive/Spiritual Formation Pastor at Cold Springs Church (coldspringschurch.net) in Placerville, California (since 2007). These and other ministry associations afford me the opportunity of coaching and equipping a variety of leaders.
My top 5 StrengthsFinders are: Learner, Ideation, Strategic, Connectedness and Futuristic.
I wish to coach pastors because coaching is non-hierarchical in style and I consider the peer-to-peer approach effective in bringing out one’s best. The goal of the coaching relationship is to help the person being coached to move forward. Thus, whether to get unstuck or discover the next steps, the point is to help the person thrive. This fits well with my passion to journey with others as they increasingly become who God has created them to be.
I am originally from Southern California. I was raised in a ministry family, a typical “pastor’s kid” so to speak. In 2006, my husband (of 34 years) and I moved to Northern California, about 40 miles east of Sacramento. I still travel often for ministry and family visits, both to Los Angeles and Orange County.