When Does A Church Plant Become a Church?

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KMK

Administrator
Staff member
What are the distinguishing characteristics between a 'church plant' and a 'church'. When does a church plant know that they have become an actual church?
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
In presbyterianism it is when the church has its own governing session of elders I think.
What are the distinguishing characteristics between a 'church plant' and a 'church'. When does a church plant know that they have become an actual church?

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Taylor

Puritan Board Senior
In the OPC (at least in my presbytery), after a church plant becomes financially stable and sustainable, it then appeals to the presbytery to be particularized as a congregation. So, in that instance, the distinguishing factor is a recognition by the broader regional church.
 

Taylor

Puritan Board Senior
In presbyterianism it is when the church has its own governing session of elders I think.
Yes, I forgot this part. A church plant in the OPC is overseen by the presbytery itself. When it is particularized, it begins to have its own elders appointed.
 

KMK

Administrator
Staff member
In presbyterianism it is when the church has its own governing session of elders I think.


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In the OPC (at least in my presbytery), after a church plant becomes financially stable and sustainable, it then appeals to the presbytery to be particularized as a congregation. So, in that instance, the distinguishing factor is a recognition by the broader regional church.

Could either of you point me to the exact language these denominations use in evaluating the success of a church plant?
 

Taylor

Puritan Board Senior
Could either of you point me to the exact language these denominations use in evaluating the success of a church plant?
Unless someone beats me to it, I can pull some quotes from the OPC Book of Church Order later when I am at my computer.
 

SeanPatrickCornell

Puritan Board Sophomore
In my observations, among Reformed Baptist churches, it's when the members vote to "incorporate" as a church and formally elect the church officers.

The way it should work is: A "sending church" has an ordained Elder go somewhere in which there is no church and then "plant a church". People start showing up, this minister preaches to them and administers sacraments, but during this time, the "church" is still supported by the sending church and the elder of the new church plant is still beholden to the sending church and is still a member of that church kind of "on loan" the the proto-church.
 

Edward

Puritanboard Commissioner
In presbyterianism it is when the church has its own governing session of elders I think.
I think the financial test is important. There is provision for a loaned session for a particular church - or was, as I recall.

PCA BCO 5.9 gives the presbyteries some flexibility, but I have seen criteria which suggests at least 50 committed to membership, self supporting, and at least two men qualified to be ruling elders.

I know when we started our church, we organized ourselves and then sought admission to the presbytery from independency. Members of presbytery did consult to make sure the outcome was smooth, but it did permit certain 'efficiencies'. But the entire circumstance was unusual.
 

Alexander Suarez

Puritan Board Freshman
Are you asking about how it is practiced in various Presbyterian denominations? Or, are you asking in relation to the theoretical work behind the distinction?
 

Andres

Puritan Board Doctor
In presbyterianism it is when the church has its own governing session of elders I think.


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This. A "church plant" isn't a particularized congregation until it is self-sufficient meaning it would have it's own, local session to govern and oversee it. Until this happens, it will be overseen by a committee of elders generally from the Presbytery where the plant is located.
 
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