In addition to the church plant being launched this fall by Pittsburgh City Outreach, the MCM Network will be planting LifeStone Church in the South Side community of Pittsburgh. Jack and Jamie Thomas moved to Pittsburgh last year to plant this church and they have seen God do some amazing things already. Their small Neighborhood Group has now grown and transitioned into a good-sized launch team, and in fact they have their first ‘Practice Service’ this Sunday.
To give you some perspective of where LifeStone is in the scope of planting, here are the different stages we utilize for our MCM church plants:
- Neighborhood Group: We start a small outreach group in a potential community that meets weekly and goes through a curriculum that equips group members for evangelism. In addition to the weekly meetings, they also do an outreach/service project each month. The goal is to simply serve the needs of the community and be a blessing to those within the community.
- Launch/Street Team: As the Neighborhood Group grows and it becomes apparent a church plant is not only possible but purposed by God, we connect the group with a church planter and the month before we start monthly ‘Preview Services’ we transition the Neighborhood Group into a Launch Team, or Street Team. This team now divides into different ministry teams for the purpose of the services (hospitality, kid’s, security, worship, tech, etc.).
- Preview Services: Usually 4-5 months prior to the Grand Opening of the new church plant, we will begin holding monthly preview services. These services serve multiple purposes:
- To give the various ministry teams the ability to work out their processes and systems for the sake of excellence at the Grand Opening.
- To provide opportunity to build momentum in the church & community toward the launch.
- To give the team leaders opportunity to build their teams bigger, which in turn establishes a bigger base from which a larger launch is possible.
- Grand Opening/Launch: This is an exciting day when the church officially goes public with weekly services. At this point, the church may not have all the bells and whistles of an established church, but they are doing one thing well: providing a weekly worship service that not only is done with excellence but is impacting the spiritual climate of that community.
If you are, or have been, part of a church plant. Are there other stages you utilized or you would add?