New ways of thinking about planting new churches are emerging. An active program for starting churches today requires a multi-pronged approach which incorporates many strategies. Some new churches will be in a position to become larger, programmatic churches and others will be among several types of new church starts:
- Some larger congregations are “birthing ” new congregations in nearby communities, lending a core group of people for a period of time to support the new church and help it do its work. These may begin as satellite congregations and emerge as free-standing congregations as they grow.
- Others are so called “comma connections,” congregations that come together in response to a felt need in a community, and whose members want to respond to that need (care of the homeless, outreach to an immigrant community, etc.)
- Affiliating congregations – churches already in existence, but wish to begin a discernment process toward affiliating with the UCC or becoming churches with full standing in the UCC
- Multi-site congregations is an emergent pattern in which several “house churches” may be part of a wider, connected congregation.