Parenting Field Guide

First phase: Prepare

Step 1: Map your starting point (Chapter 1)

  • Gauge the congregation’s commitment level.
  • Build trust as a foundation to action.
  • Seek God’s will with an eye toward where God is already moving.

Step 2: Make the case to parent (Chapter 2)

  • Discover the biblical, demographic, strategic, and pragmatic reasons to parent.
  • Develop a case and prepare a winsome presentation.

Second phase: Engage

Step 1: Build a lead team and engage the congregation (Chapter 3)

  • Define the purpose of the team.
  • Recruit a lead team of qualified people.
  • Develop team trust.
  • Orient the team to the parenting process.
  • Engage the congregation in the vision for parenting.
  • Engage the conference director of new church development for partnership resources.

Step 2: Navigate hidden forces (Chapter 4)

  • Address the parenting congregation’s fears.
  • Identify the congregation’s existing values and develop parenting values.
  • Address resistance to change.
  • Develop prayer energy and strategy.
  • Use “force field analysis” to gain perspective.

 Step 3: Build a sustainable funding plan (Chapter 5)

  • Develop a preliminary funding plan that will bring the plant to sustainability in three to four years.
  • Develop a preliminary budget and define revenue sources.
  • Discern your approach to risk management.
  • Set the planter up for funding success.

Third phase: Establish

Step 1: Discern planting opportunity (Chapter 6)

  • Determine general need in your community.
  • Discern your congregation’s capacity for “cultural reach.”
  • Leverage tools to discern best potential target group.
  • Make room for planter input and Spirit leading.

Step 2: Select a parenting model (Chapter 7)

  • Consider a range of parenting options.
  • Select a model based on integrating principles.
  • Seek confirmation of parenting model through prayer.

Step 3: Call a lead planter (Chapter 8)

  • Build a planter profile based on potential target group.
  • Determine potential candidates’ accountability to Minnesota Annual Conference, basic pastoral skills, environmental risk, and financial and marital health.
  • Check references.
  • Arrange for an expert assessment of the chosen candidate, and employ other assessment tools.
  • Confirm vision alignment of planter and parenting church.

Fourth phase: Release

Step 1: Release the planting team (Chapter 9)

  • Release the planter for full-time planting work.
  • Release members from the congregation to the plant through the selection process.
  • Release a wide range of resources to the plant.

Step 2: Support the planter (Chapter 9)

  • Understand and participate in the governing team.
  • Provide for planter coaching.
  • Develop planter/parent covenant.

Step 3: Allow the parent church to recover (Chapter 9)

  • Accelerate the parenting church’s health with Natural Church Development checkup (available through the Office of Congregational Development).
  • Address leadership development with mentoring.
  • Take time for recovery of attendance, finances, and emotions.
  • Celebrate successes and understand setbacks.
  • Capture learning from parenting experience for next plant.


Information taken from Multiplication Moves: A Field Guide for Churches Planting Churches by Ben Ingebretson (Faith Alive, 2013).    

Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church

122 West Franklin Avenue, Suite 400 Minneapolis, MN 55404

(612) 870-0058