seven characteristics

1. The relationship /autonomy of the church planter to the sponsor or sponsoring organization. Does the church planter have a sponsor(s)? What is their relationship between the planter and the sponsor(s)? How much autonomy in decision making does the planter have from the sponsoring organization(s)? Where is the new church located in relation to the sponsoring organization(s)? Where is the funding for the new church coming from? Who selects the church planter? Who initiated the plant? Will the new church be autonomous or a ministry/campus of another church? Do the sponsor(s) have a preferred or required model of planting? Are there denominational requirements?

2. The strategy for discipleship including drawing people into the church and leading them into a deeper relationship with God. Will you build a core team one person at a time through relationships with the lead planter? Will you draw a crowd through marketing and outreach? Will you develop fully devoted followers through one-on-one discipleship in small groups? Will you focus on reaching seekers and establishing easy "next steps" for them to get connected at their own pace through a range of "felt needs" based ministries and programs or will you reach people primarily through one-on-one relationships? Will you use a formalized class/curriculum based approach (e.g. 101, 201, 301, 401)? Will you hold regular Sunday worship services? What will the role of your small groups be? Will teaching be primarily done through Sunday sermons, through classes, or through smaller groups? Do you anticipate having a "public launch" or functioning on a more informal, relational basis?

3. What will your staffing philosophy / approach be? Will the new church be able to financially support a full-time paid minister? Will the planter be the only staff initially or will the plant have the funding for a staff team? If bi-vocational, how much time will the planter have to dedicate to the plant? Is the plan to eventually become paid by the new church or to continue in a bi-vocational capacity?

4. Size of the Launch Team / Core Team. How large do you expect the launch team/core team to be when public services are started? How do you intend to build and add to the launch team? Will the team primarily come from a single existing church, multiple existing churches, or from non-believers?

5. How will you build community awareness about the church? Will you grow exclusively through friends inviting friends and relationships? Will you use outreach activities to build awareness and start conversations in the community? Will you use marketing activities to build awareness and start conversations in the community? Will you attempt to establish a broad "brand" awareness and reputation in the community? If so, how?

6. The purpose for starting the new church. Is the new church being founded to reach more lost people in a new geographic area/location? Is the new church being formed as a result of a church split? Is the church being started to revitalize a dying church? Is the church being started to allow a new campus or site of an existing church to be started? If so, for what purpose (e.g. alleviate overcrowding at the main campus, for the convenience of existing members, to reach new people, etc)?

7. Are there models or approaches to which you already have an affinity or bias? Most of us have a hard time breaking past paradigms. Are you coming out of an experience that will bias you to a particular model? Have you seen a specific model in practice that you feel God may be calling you to? What model best fits your experience and gifting? Are there specific models that will best fit the geographic area to which you are called or to the people group you will be reaching?

Nearly every church planting model is distinguished by the answers to these questions.