Baltimore - Washington DC Church Planting Study

A good review of church planting in the DC-BMore area came out this past February.

The State of Church Planting in the Washington DC / Baltimore Corridor was led by Ron Johnson and published by Accelerate, a church-planting network working in partnership with the Exponential Network.

The study recognizes difficulties in cataloging all non-English-speaking churches, churches without formal incorporation or traditional media advertising, and those still under the care of a planting church, but its results are extremely enlightening. Praise God for the hard work, and may the report be useful to you, dear reader, God's servant.

Executive Summary
Church planting churches, national and local networks, and denominations have planted at least 274 churches in the last five years in the Washington Baltimore metropolitan area. 92 of these churches (34%) are in non-English languages.

1. Church planting churches
• 15 church planting churches have been identified (churches that have helped plant three or more churches in the last five years)
• Church planting churches provide the most training, support and ongoing coaching for church planters
• Planters who have attended an internship / residency program at a church planting churches are often better equipped to plant

2. National and local networks
• 12 national and local networks have been identified
• Networks are strong in assessment and training. However until they establish local hub church training centers and coaches, their coaching will be sporadic
• Network started churches are still a small number as the national networks have not yet established churches as hubs in the Washington DC / Baltimore corridor

3. Denominations/associations
• Most denominations are providing opportunities for assessment, training and coaching although it varies greatly in amount
• Denominations would benefit from having church planting churches that would develop internship/residency programs and partnering with national networks

4. Church planters
• The tensions and needs expressed by church planters can be seen as external (what we do) and internal (who we are). The external needs most expressed were the need for team support from sponsoring churches, funding, training, and learning effective ways to reach
the community
• The internal needs most expressed were the need for relationships with peers for encouragement, support and accountability; and coaching relationships with an experienced church planter who they can learn from, bounce ideas off of and from whom they can experience a sense of permission

5. Common Best Practices for Equipping Church Planters - There are at least nine common best
practices for equipping church planters:

• Assessment
• Church planting training
• Internship, residency, or church planting experience
• Sponsoring churches involved in helping the plant
• Administrative and strategic support
• Coaching/mentoring relationship
• Peer-to-peer relationships
• Ongoing training opportunities
• Exposure to available resources

6. Coaching/mentoring relationships and peer-to-peer relationships are key weaknesses.
• In most denominational or network situations a planter is to find a coach or one will be assigned. Most coaching is sporadic and coaches are often not trained. Attention to chemistry, availability, experience, and flexibility of coaches is important
• Peer-to-peer relationships are often left to the planter to initiate. Most planters have a number of other planter friends but meeting is usually sporadic and often lacks direction. Planters often desire relationships across denominational boundaries