140: Getting Started in Multisite Planting

Colin Baron started church planting in the early 1990s and has started several churches through the UK, particularly across Manchester where he has been ministering for the last 25 years. In this episode Colin talks about his first wave of multisite church planting in Manchester. For more about Colin's story and church planting philosophy, see his recent book 'Multiplanting'.


Subscribe

To subscribe to the Broadcast Church Planting Podcast, click the link below and then follow the instructions, open the podcast in iTunes and subscribe.


Listen to the Audio


Read the Notes

From a Small Start, How Did You Get Going?

  • Started in a house.
  • One of the team wanted to go to Sunday meetings and do a good launch - and this was very beneficial.
  • On the launch Sunday there were 50-100 people. The following week it dropped down to 30-40.
  • It started with quite a bit of momentum - more than Colin had in previous churches.
  • This was in part down to going with somebody who had a complementary gift.
  • Every other Friday was a half night of prayer with 20-30 people. This really was the core of the church.
  • At these prayer meetings was a girl from Bolton. As they were praying they started to dream a bit about Bolton, but it was half hearted -  during the prayer God spoke to Colin and challenged him whether he had said to plant 20 churches or just think about it.'
  • On the basis of that, Colin stopped the prayer meeting and in faith they planted Bolton Family Church that night.
  • It started with a midweek meeting at her house with a couple of her friends plus Colin and a car full of people joining them. 
  • Simultaneous to this, Colin went to a meeting that a church in Sale had put on where some prophets attended. One of the prophets pointed out Colin and his friend.
  • The prophet gave Colin a picture of stakes in the ground (the 20 churches) but all webbed together - making something that is strong and flexible. 
  • Another guy who had just been saved came along and they started with him in Warrington. 
  • This was modelled on how Jesus would go to people's homes in complicated situations - all it takes is a bit of faith and a person of peace. 
  • After this they also started in Oldham, Macclesfield, Stockport and Salford. 

When You Started in Warrington Were the Others Established?

  • No - Bolton was still a few people in a home and it wasn't clear who would even lead it.
  • South Manchester had growing a bit.
  • For a while Colin led them all on different nights - and saw this model in Acts 2 with the apostles going house to house. 
  • This is also what Paul did in Acts 20.
  • You can do the same kind of foundation laying a few times in a week. 
  • Colin had to think more like a Pauline model than a local pastor without actually articulating a theology that overstated his role. 
  • The key was thinking in terms of a region - which was an apostolic way of thinking.

What Were Some of the Key Ingredients For You?

  • There were a number of small groups - but they changed the language from 'small group' or 'church plant' to 'church in the home'.
  • When they all gathered together they started to call it 'church in the region'.
  • Then realising that some of the plants had vision for a particular town these were called 'church in a town'.
  • Church in a home could be a plant or a part of a church, but either way they were commissioned to grow and to multiply. 
  • The thinking was evolving as they went along.
  • Colin's strength and weakness is to think and say something first and then try to figure it out afterwards - he processes as he goes, with a focus on doing the next thing. 
  • Sometimes things like the Toronto renewal and the charismatic renewal make you look afresh at the Bible and see it more vividly. This is what was happening for Colin with his ecclesiology.
  • Lots of the multisite movement are people trying to fit themselves into a model rather than finding a model that fits Biblical teaching, prophetic direction and the gifts of the people involved.

Reflecting Back on Those First 10 Years, What Would You Do Different?

  • The end product. 
  • The battle was always the trajectory - it was both church planting and multisite. Some of the churches went independent too quickly. 
  • They should have been together for longer.
  • We need to think like chess players and look several steps ahead.