A Church That Plants Churches
Trinity Presbyterian Church has grown through the regular proclamation of one central message: You are more broken & sinful than you can imagine, yet you are more loved and accepted in Jesus Christ than you can dream, at the same time. Every problem a person faces comes from a failure to understand or apply that good news. We exist to to show that grace changes everything because of what Jesus Christ has done for us. To accomplish that goal we encourage everyone to find and love a church that preaches the Gospel of Jesus Christ clearly. We believe that we as a church can facilitate that goal by planting churches.
Why Plant Churches?
Trinity plants churches to reach the lost. The United States continues to become more urban. Small towns have lost the ability to produce the necessary jobs to maintain their population. Young adults find it necessary to move to cities to find work and the schools they desire. Metropolitan areas such as Tulsa must continue to plant churches to keep up with the demand of a growing population. The Tulsa Metropolitan Area is projected to add 100,000 people per decade for the indefinite future. Planting 20 churches per year would only keep up with that pace. Of course, we cannot plant 20 churches a year, but we must not foolishly believe that one church will ever grow big enough to meet the needs of our city. In addition, statistics show that multiple churches do a much better job of reaching a growing population than single large churches. For instance, a church that adds 20 members a year will have 400 members at the end of 20 years. But through multiplication a church that plants 1 church of 20 people, which the next year plants another church of 20 people, and so on for 20-years, will have reached over 10-million in the same period of time! Of course that kind of pyramid growth is unlikely, but the statistics give a sense of the kind of outreach unleashed by church planting. Finally, un-churched people are attracted to new churches. A visitor feels at home more quickly in new churches. As a matter of fact, statistics show that 80% of the members of new churches have no previous local church affiliation.
How Does Planting Affect Leadership?
Planting Equips More Leaders! New Churches give committed people a chance to lead early. Established Churches inevitably develop ensconced leadership. A Church only needs so many leaders. Once those positions have been filled, the recruitment and training function of the church tends to decline. Church plants offer officer training to completely new and sometimes unexpected groups of people. More people take the responsibility of ministry upon themselves, serving as teachers, leaders, deacons, elders and pastors.
How Does Planting Define a Church?
We plant to create better defined churches. Every Church has a personality-- choosing its own areas of focus. The sharper focus a local church maintains, the more capability it has of reaching its goals. Having more churches planted will allow us to have some churches focused on discipleship, others focused on fellowship, worship, missions, faith and work, etc. We do not dream of seeing ten clones of Trinity in Northeast Oklahoma. Rather, we hope to see ten very different churches reaching a wide range of people.
How Does Location Help a Church Plant?
It is easier to be a vital part of a Church that is close to your house. Ideally, it will increase your missional living if you worship, work, and go to school near your home. It is much easier to invite someone to a church near their home than to one in the next town over.
How Does Church Planting Protect Pastors and a Congregation?
Nothing has proven more detrimental to the Church in our generation than the cult-like status afforded pastors of big churches. Having a college of 10 pastors all serving churches of 300-500 members provides each pastor with mutual accountability that facilitates a healthy spiritual life. Trinity's leadership meets weekly with a group of Acts 29 and PCA pastors to strategize and sharpen one another. We also meet several times a year with the Southwest Church Planting Network and the Acts 29 Network, two organizations committed to planting churches of which we are full-members.
How is Church Planting a Blessing?
We plant to bless our congregation actively engaging in the mission of Christ through planting Churches brings great spiritual blessings, but there is a more selfish reason. According to Ed Stetzer, when a mother church plants a daughter, on average the mother church grows 22%. We have already seen this in our mother church, RiverOaks PCA, who launched us. We think there are some secular reasons to account for this growth, such as increased name recognition and market optimization. But primarily, we think God loves churches who plant churches.
How Does Trinity Plan to Plant Churches?
We plan to plant churches using a team concept. Our increasing community will maintain close ties. We hope to share as much administration cost as possible, even sharing office space when it is convenient. We may even share executives in the future if feasible. As a team we plan to work together to train church planters, and to plant a new church every 3 – 5 years. In 2015 we launched our first church plant, Three Rivers Church (PCA) near Grand Lake with Rev Mark Kuiper and eleven families. We currently have community groups in neighboring towns of Bartlesville and Claremore. Of course we do not know whether these community groups will form the core groups for new church plants, but we pray for it to happen. Each of our church plants will have their own PCA-ordained teaching elder to lead and guide the congregation under the oversight of the North Texas Presbytery.
Where Will We Plant Churches?
We hope to see a minimum of 10 Churches planted in the Greater Tulsa Metro Area in our lifetimes. Currently we have seen five church plants launch in the past ten years: RiverOaks (2008, South Tulsa), Trinity (2011, Owasso), Ethos (2013, Midtown), Three Rivers (2015, Grand Lake), and Inglesia Reformanda Pacto De Gracia (2016, Spanish-speaking PCA work in South Tulsa/Bixby). We are currently working with Crossover Community Church in North Tulsa to see a new PCA plant north of downtown led by Caleb Long. We hope to see other church plants in Broken Arrow South, Broken Arrow North, Sapulpa, Bartlesville, Muskogee, West Tulsa (Sand Springs, Gilcrease), South West Tulsa and Riverside. We also hope to see varieties of styles of gospel-centered churches who plant churches in coordination with the Southwest Church Planting Network and the Acts 29 Network.