Greenhouse Churches Nurture Growth


by David Reynolds, CMA National church planting team leader

A greenhouse provides a healthy, protective, nutritional environment for plants to grow and thrive. Ideally, a seed isn’t simply thrown into the soil right away. Instead, a seed is nurtured and grown into a healthy “start” within the greenhouse.

Greenhouse Churches grow healthy, reproducing church plants. They provide a nurturing environment for a “seed” (a leader-in-the-making) to develop and become a “start” (a prepared leader and team) that is transplanted into the mission field. Denominations are a huge help, but they’re more like the gardeners who provide water and resources. But the church is the Greenhouse, the place where the new growth must happen.Without the local church, there may be addition (new churches planted), but there is no true multiplication (churches planting churches that plant churches.)

Greenhouse Churches, need at least these qualities:

1) A Greenhouse Church is willing to “give itself away”.

This is the key ingredient. No person is ever quite ready to be a parent. The same is true for churches that reproduce; we’re never quite ready. We always need more time, money, people, etc). Yet God meets us after we take a faith step. Churches of any size, age, styel, and culture can be greenhouses for emerging leaders.

2) A Greenhouse Church has a clear leadership development pathway.

In order to reproduce effectively and continuously, a leadership development pathway is needed Therefore, C&MA works together to equip and support our local churches in discovering, discipling, developing and deploying leaders to start healthy, reproductive churches.

3) A Greenhouse Church releases leaders through faith-filled risks.

We must think of ourselves as stewards or managers of God’s resources, and that begins with His people. People belong to God, not us. They are not “our” leaders. We must shift our thinking to consider what God has called His individual people to be and do, and how He would have us help them get there. Many times, this means that we train them and release them. As Pastor Andy Stanley points out, everybody leaves at some point. So the question becomes, how do you want them to go?

An Alliance Core Value is “Faith-Filled Risk” and this certainly occurs with church  planting! Churches rarely ever feel quite ready to reproduce. But God honors faith-filled risk, and He often provides resources after the church has made the decision to release leaders. One church may not be ready to plant an entirely new congregation, but every congregation can take action at some level and particiapte (provide the leader, team members, financial support, housing, cover heath insurance, etc.).

If you would like to discuss how your church can become a Greenhouse Church along with resources that available, please contact David Reynolds at or Eric Oleson,

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