Today, people are able to build airplanes that fly because, a hundred years ago, the Wright brothers discovered the pivotal design that put the “flying” into “flying machine”. Those who want to create such a machine simply have to decide to build one, study the design, assemble the parts, and send the craft skyward.
Building a prevailing church requires the same process. The Pivotal Design has been discovered, and now it is up to a gifted and committed team of leaders to implement that design to create a prevailing church. Each new Mission Catalyst (MC) project follows a three-phase process, which is outlined below.
From day one, everyone must be aware of these cautions:
Note: Not everyone is wired or called to start and lead a church. Still, there are ways to affiliate with Mission Catalyst. Check out our Partner Affiliation Process.
PHASE 1 - RESEARCH
Pray. Seek clarity about God’s call. Check your heart to be certain that your highest motive is to win people to Christ.
Review the MC website.
Read The Pivotal Design and "Thoughts on the Pivotal Design".
Talk with MC staff to share your situation and vision and to learn about MC’s vision and affiliation process.
Review the MC membership commitments.
If you would like an MC staff member to visit your city to meet with you and your leaders, we are willing to make that happen, providing you cover travel expenses and ensure that your leaders will participate. Steps 7 and 8 will help you get started in choosing your leaders. The initial meeting with MC staff will help you further select your team.
Identify the “leader of leaders”. This person has the giftedness to lead a Pivotal Design team. He identifies people’s potential and unleashes their gifts to create highly-effective ministry teams. He discerns those with leadership potential and helps them achieve maximum impact. He commits at least 15 hours each week to leading the church (beginning in the Assembly phase). Caution: While a group can (and probably will) grow under the guidance of the leader of leaders, it will hit a ceiling. The group simply cannot grow beyond the small church size until each team member can devote at least 15 hours a week to leading the church.
Identify potential planting team members. The planting team consists of the three to four leaders who serve as the church’s initial staff. Each planting team member must have these characteristics:
Corporately, planting team members fill the six roles of the Pivotal Design team, listed below. This list does not describe all the positions or roles in the church; it includes the gifts that must be present on the planting team. The pastors function as specialists as opposed to generalists.
The churches that grow fastest are led by teams that have significant time to devote. Research shows that churches will not grow beyond the small church stage until each team member can commit at least 15 hours a week.
If you and MC agree to continue with the process, the next step is to complete Planting Team Assessment. Team members of funded projects complete the full assessment process. While we strongly recommend the full process for all projects, team members of self-funded projects may complete the abbreviated assessment.
If the assessment is satisfactorily completed, team members attend a two-day workshop. In most cases, the workshop is conducted in the team’s city.
After the workshop, if both parties agree to proceed, MC announces that a new project is entering the Assembly phase.
PHASE 2 - ASSEMBLY
During this phase, which takes between three and 23 months, you are not “doing church” as much as you are “building church”. The project begins in earnest, and concrete steps are taken to bring together the Pivotal Design components. Actions include:
During this phase, MC (in consultation with the planting team) sets benchmarks for the project and gauges its progress, ensuring that the Pivotal Design components are coming together and that the project is on the path to becoming a prevailing church. When all benchmarks are met satisfactorily, MC announces that a new church is entering the Flight phase.
PHASE 3 - FLIGHT
The project is announced as an MC church when: