Why was Mission Catalyst created?
For the sake of the gospel. Planting and growing churches is God’s strategy for fulfilling the Great Commission. Kingdom growth happens when local churches grow in size and number.
Why do we exist?
To release the dreams of highly-committed church leaders.
What’s our niche?
We equip teams of leaders to start hell-rattling churches that are passionate about transformational good news. Our structure removes the middle man between God and local church leaders. Our theological views, which include the blessing of Sabbath rest, push grace and salvation to the forefront.
What kind of churches?
Churches that engage the culture, foster healthy relationships, and aspire to imitate Jesus in character and priorities, including the irrepressible passion to seek people for God.
Why are we independent?
The churches we plant are not officially affiliated with any denomination because an independent structure allows the churches flexibility, freedom, and funds to invest more in winning people to Christ.
Is Mission Catalyst a denomination?
While denominations are generally on the wane, they are not inherently bad. According to dictionary.com, a denomination is “a group of religious congregations having its own organization and a distinctive faith”.
Second, there are two kinds of denominations: parental and grandparental. Parental denominations insist on strong controls on the activities of their churches and employees. Grandparental denominations are less controlling and more facilitating. Third, no one today is starting a new denomination, per se. Instead, networks of churches are springing up that exist to (a) facilitate the evangelistic success of the local church, and (b) coordinate global mission initiatives. Some people may label Mission Catalyst as a denomination, but we believe it inaccurately characterizes our ministry. We are, in fact, a network of churches that are loyal to our God-given message and mission and passionate about taking it to the world. Denominations tend to exercise a tighter degree of control or authority over a collection of congregations than do other systems of governance such as associations or networks. Our governance is minimal. We insist that member churches are unified in doctrine and that they share our irrepressible passion for reaching the lost.
Who is MC’s primary audience?
Our local churches are non-negotiably focused on reaching the next person who needs Jesus. (For example, this local church video of Allison’s story appeals to just about anyone who has an interest in spiritual things.) Mission Catalyst, on the other hand, appeals to local church leaders and donors from among those who share our theological perspective. (This Mission Catalyst short film explains MC’s niche to people who wonder why we are starting independent churches.)
How do you define donations?
All giving to the local church, with the following exceptions: money donated to a capital campaign, money earmarked for a parachurch ministry that has no connection with the local church, donations of goods and services.
Mission Catalyst churches pay forward to the network support office 5% of their tithe and local giving (self-funded) or 10% (MC funded). How does the network office allocate the percentage it receives?
To plant as many churches as we can. The network office operates frugally on a small percentage of what is received so that every possible dollar goes toward creating and resourcing local churches.
May women be pastors?
Mission Catalyst believes that God has gifted and called both men and women to be ordained ministers. No distinction is made between the genders.
Are network pastors employees of Mission Catalyst?
No. They are employees of the local church.
Does Mission Catalyst hire and ordain pastors?
Pastors are employed and ordained by their local church.
Do you encourage the churches to use any particular worship style?
No. We expect every church to experience worship in whatever style is most effective in communicating the gospel to the people they are trying to win to Christ.
Do you provide sample bylaws for a local church as a suggested governance model? How about some guidelines for hiring and setting pastors’ pay?
Does Mission Catalyst affiliate with churches outside of North America?
Each of our local churches has a mission project at least 100 miles from their own city in addition to what they do locally. They may choose to support a ministry anywhere in the world, but Mission Catalyst itself invests time and money only in First World countries.
Does Mission Catalyst operate schools, youth camps, etc.?
If a local church wants to operate a Christian school or purchase a youth camp, they are free to do so. The network itself exists only to plant, support, and resource local churches, so it does not own or operate any institutions that are not based in the local church. For example, if leaders of the network decide to begin a media ministry, a pastoral training program, or any other entity, it will be based in a local church.
Are donations to Mission Catalyst tax deductible?
Yes, contributions to Mission Catalyst, a tax-exempt organization under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue code, are deductible for computing income and estate taxes. Persons in other countries should check with the appropriate authority.
Does Mission Catalyst accept tithe?
What does the network office not regulate?
We insist on these six things from a member church:
- The church is non-negotiably outreach focused.
- The church affirms and agrees to teach the doctrinal summary.
- The church is involved in a mission project at least 100 miles from its community.
- The church sends 5% of their tithe and local giving (self-funded) or 10% (MC funded) to the network support office so we can plant more churches and resource the congregations.
- The church manages its finances with integrity and responsibility.
- The church creates a Pivotal Design team ASAP.
Everything else is determined by the leaders of the local church. Examples include worship style, membership requirements, and pastoral selection, ordination, tenure, and salary.
What about a church that agrees to two or three of the points above but not all six. Can it become a network church?
No. They are welcome to attend our events (including Planting Team Assessment), but network membership is reserved for those who agree to all six.
Why insist that churches affirm the doctrinal summary at all? Why not welcome churches into the network that believe the basic Christian doctrines?
Scores of networks exist that are mission-focused but have various theological views. Mission Catalyst is unique in that it brings together churches with (a) a passion for mission, (b) a desire to live by and proclaim a unique message, and (c) methods that work. Philippians 1:16 and 2 Timothy 1:13-14 make it plain that doctrines must be defended by those in church leadership.
What if a church signs the commitment form but does not live up to the teachings of the church?
We trust that those who sign the commitment form will do so with the intent of living and ministering accordingly. If a case arises where a church signs the form but becomes an embarrassment to the cause of Christ (e.g., sponsors anti-pope billboards or ordains homosexuals), Mission Catalyst leadership reserves the right to discontinue affiliation.
Why would a local church join Mission Catalyst? Why not be totally independent?
Until Mission Catalyst started, there were no examples of churches that retained the MC doctrinal niche and were evangelistically effective. There are now! Some churches want to be independent, but most realize the benefits of belonging to a network of churches that share a common faith, passion, and mission. Churches decide on an annual basis if the benefits they receive are worth the required investment.
What about membership? Does a church member belong to the network or the local church?
Membership is a local church issue.
When people are baptized in a local church, do they automatically become members of the church? In other words, are baptism and church membership tied together?
Local churches decide their own membership requirements.
What if there’s no Mission Catalyst church in my city, but I’d like one to be?
Review our affiliation process, and contact us if you’d like to know more.
Let’s say we are exploring affiliation with Mission Catalyst. Will someone from MC come to our city and meet with our leaders?
Yes. If you cover our travel expenses, we are happy to come for an initial meeting.