Let’s Give It All Away!
Stadia’s Kingdom Contribution
Starting January 1, 2019, Stadia began giving away their vital church planting services for free – at no cost and with “no strings attached” — with no requirement of ongoing investment back to Stadia.
Our Internal “Gut Check”
Why would Stadia give away our services? We had an internal “gut check.” After an evaluation of our commitment and priorities, our Stadia team re-examined our own course of action in how to exponentially multiply church planting. Our team was looking at the U.S. Church planting numbers, and we saw the stark realities of what we are facing.
First, we assessed our progress. Since 2003 Stadia Church Planting has started over 600 churches. The number of churches we’re planting globally is skyrocketing, but our U.S. church planting rate has not grown at the same level.
Second, we reviewed a recent Pinetops Foundation independent report, The Great Opportunity: The American Church in 2050. The report revealed that staggering population growth and increasing numbers of people unaffiliated with a local church. Combined with a rapid increase in dying or declining churches, this has resulted in a critical need for thousands of more churches in America.
The Church at large has been helping to start roughly 4,000 churches a year over the last several years. While that number has remained the same, the closure rate of churches continues to grow, the population continues to grow and the lostness of the coming generations continues to grow.
The next 30 years will represent the largest missions opportunity in the history of America.
Stadia has a passionate desire for every child on the planet to experience the Good News of Jesus Christ through a local church. It’s that commitment to “every” that convicted us to dig for answers to the question: “What do we have to do to exponentially increase the number of U.S. churches planted?”
Wrestling with the question regarding our Kingdom contribution and sensing that financial barriers were a key limiting factor in church multiplication, we decided: “Let’s give it all away!”
Since late June 2018, we’ve been at a full sprint to prepare for this moment. After going public on January 1, 2019, we have already been overwhelmed by the opportunities for collaboration that God is bringing about to see even more churches planted than ever before!
There are so many big lessons that our Stadia team has learned that we would like to share with other networks. One of the biggest and most important lessons is that we aren’t smarter, better, or more blessed than anyone else. We basically keep writing down all the dumb stuff we have done or well-intentioned things that haven’t worked, and then we do our best to help the next generations of church planters not repeat them those same mistakes.
As Stadia has planted hundreds of churches across the U.S., we have developed and continue to refine our unique and ever-adapting church planter services. Our full portfolio of services, from pre- to post-launch, are delivered at a cost to Stadia of $74,000. These services include: church planter discovery, development and assessment, project management, coaching, bookkeeping, training, fundraising intensives, residencies, post-launch support and many more.
When we bring these services alongside catalytic leaders who have been called and affirmed as church planters, the resulting church plants generally thrive in ways that give them a great launching pad for long term growth and health. Of those churches Stadia has had the honor of serving:
- 90% of Stadia’s U.S. plants are actively engaged in their vision at year 5, as opposed to 60% of other plants at year 3.
- Stadia’s U.S. plants are on average 67% larger at year 4 than other church plants.
Stadia is committed to starting churches with a DNA for multiplication. Stadia’s U.S. church plants have invested thousands of dollars into church multiplication over 15 years. Our approach prepares church plants to start with reproduction in mind, so each church plant represents a new movement of church planting.
From birth, Stadia church plants:
- Invest in starting more U.S. and global churches.
- Develop future church planting leaders by hosting residency programs.
- Prepare for future campuses.
- Intentionally focus on children, increasing the multiplying impact for future generations.
Though others may not be in the same position to give everything away, the key is to remain Kingdom minded. Understanding that the overarching goal is to make disciples and to build the church, we can all evaluate how to best contribute to this mission that is greater than any one of us. Our team knew that we were supposed to make this shift to help more and more church planters plant stronger, sustaining, and multiplying churches for the generations to come.
The challenges, problems, and opportunities we currently have are far too big for any of us to handle alone. It is going to take the larger evangelical family working together, collaborating, and sharing all that we have if we are ever going to make a dent in the lostness of this world.
We think collaborating, sharing knowledge, and soberly identifying areas where our strengths can be complementary and where our weaknesses can be complemented, are all vital to seeing the Kingdom grow.
Our plan to “give away” our services for free is designed to increase collaboration with networks, denominations, organizations as well as individual church planters. In an effort to facilitate this, Stadia will:
- Provide our services to church planters strategically and widely across the U.S. at no cost. Over 16,000 people a week Google the phrase “church planting,” but a lot of them think it’s a solo endeavor. We’re determined to come alongside as many leaders as possible and set them up for success.
- Share our services with church planting organizations, denominations, and networks at no cost. There are some great folks out there with big dreams of great church planting impact. We will align our expertise with theirs and fill in gaps so that together we can increase the quantity and quality of our efforts. This removes financial restraints and how planting is “credited,” allowing collaboration at an unprecedented level.
- Continue to maintain our effectiveness while also improving our portfolio of services. With exposure to more new churches, we will continue to learn, refine and sharpen the tools God has helped us develop. As needed, we will add staff to ensure scalability and keep up with growth.
We can provide all of our services (assessment, fundraising intensive, pre-launch training, project management, bookkeeping, bloom, post-launch training, coaching, etc.) or specific services based on their needs. We simply want to see more churches survive, thrive and multiply. If you are reading this and you are a part of a church planting network or the church planting arm of a denomination, let’s talk!!
The Next Generation of Planters
The next generation of church planting is what we are all about! There are so many things that we are learning as we start to see the first waves of churches being planted by Millennials and soon on their heels Gen Z’ers.
These generations have never lived in a world where Christianity is the home team. They live in a context where “silver bullets” never really work. They know that church planting is hard work, and while it might have been “sexy” once, it isn’t now. The plethora of new church plant postcards in the mail has become more and more ineffective. It has become common for the local community to watch as the local school turns over two or three church plants over the years. The ground is harder and people are more skeptical.
We are learning that the upcoming generation of planters is more entrepreneurial than the generations before them. They are more likely to want to be a part of a team that plants rather than flying solo. The new breed of church planters thinks about global impact and deep local engagement simultaneously. They are planting churches that embrace both gathering and missional scattering – rather than an “either-or” position.
The upcoming generation of planters desires more diversity in the local church across economic conditions as well as ethnic and generational lines. They want to be a part of various denominations, networks and cohorts all at the same time. These new planters are embracing many forms of technology, while at the same time pressing into deep relationships to equip and call people to be salt and light in their own neighborhood.
What we know and continue to be reminded of daily is that the future is bright! God is raising up some of the greatest leaders that the Church will ever know, and these leaders will plant some great life-giving, multiplying churches. And Stadia will be there to help, serve and guide them all along their journey, so that the generations to come will know of the name and fame of Jesus.
If you are a denominational, network or sending church leader and would like to talk about how Stadia might be able to serve your planters just drop an e-mail to email@example.com, and we will set up a time to talk to hear about the church planting dreams that God has placed in your heart.
If you are considering planting and need help, go to www.stadiachurchplanting.org and begin the Discovery journey. We look forward to meeting you!
 Pinetops Foundation, Independent Report, “The Great Opportunity: The American Church in 2050”, 8.