2nd Generation Church Planting: How to Start Healthy

On April 9, 2017, Siloam Korean Church of Atlanta (PCA) launched its English Ministry (EM) as an independent church. Siloam Community Church (formerly Siloam English Ministry) is a result of God's providential work in the KM and EM. Here are some of the things that we as a congregation are not only thankful for, but believe is important in having a healthy start to a 2nd generation church plant within an asian-american (specifically Korean-American) context.

The EM should financially support its own pastor before planting.

Two years before our launch service, Siloam EM called Tae Chin as its EM pastor. His financial support all came from the EM. It was not only a good statement of commitment and investment into a more responsible approach to its pastor, but it was good ground for a culture of "standing on its own feet" that began. 

When second generation EM's still have the mindset of a graduated youth ministry, they will not understand the need to financially support their own pastor. They will default that responsibility to their ecclesiastical parents, the Korean Ministry (KM). Although it seems like a great position to be in (get all the benefits without paying any costs), the EM will not be able to "count the cost" of being its own church. They will want the independence and freedom but not consider the real responsibilities that KM's have been burdening for years.

Hence, financially supporting its own pastor is discipleship for an EM. It teaches a body of believers that has been accustomed to having everything done for them to take ownership and grow through the challenges of sacrifice and others-oriented ministry.

The EM should be very cautious about planting in reaction to the KM.

Reacting instead of thoughtfully responding may be an unwise approach to any situation. Seeking congregational independence from a KM is no exception. An EM should not allow for a congregational culture by its divergences from and frustrations with the KM. Some may say that EM's should never seek independence from a KM when the KM is not convinced that an independent EM is right for its vision and context.

The KM should not fear a loss of "owning" the EM.

It was the session of the KM that initiated the move to plant Siloam EM as an independent church. Not only was the session in agreement on this, but the congregation was in agreement as well. The excitement, anticipation, and support that the KM communicated to the EM leading up to the launch service was encouraging and humbling. It was even more so because we, the EM, were not looking to become independent. The KM did not see it as losing ownership of a part of its ministry, but as a better way of serving the kingdom of God together.

The EM should be devoted more to God's will being done than building its own religious kingdom.

Sometimes, it can be easy for an EM to be more committed to building its own ecclesiastical kingdom than Christ building His church. What if it is God's will that an EM not be independent? How open would an EM be to such a calling? What if God wanted to close doors on an EM? How willing would an EM be to accepting such a providential move? Should there be a willingness to surrender and abandon one's own ministerial vision if it is not in alignment with God's will for that congregation? Such questions, though difficult to answer, need to be considered and answered by EM's. 

We, as a church, exist to be faithful and do the best that we can for this church plant. But may our ecclesiastical vision and commitment never compete with or replace the will and direction that Christ desires for our ministry. To affirm the possibility of God's will being different from the desires we may have for ourselves is not a lack of commitment to our church plant, but rather evidences a greater commitment to what our church plant should be as long as God sees it fit for us to continue ministering to the people He sends us and to the community He has placed us in today.