Global Church Planting Network

Accelerating Church Planting Globally

National Initiatives

"Whole Nation" Church Planting Process 1                    譯文

Please click on your area of interest:

Basic Understanding

Opportunities for Peer Learning

Foundational Books and Articles

Research and Best Practices

Continental Snapshots



Basic Understanding

What is a National Church Planting Process? A national church planting process is not an event, rather an ongoing coordinated process in which the majority of denominations and mission agencies focus energies towards a single purpose. This purpose is that the nation (state, province or city) be filled with multiplying disciple-making communities (i.e. churches) in each of its geographic (village, neighbourhood and high-rise apartment), ethnic and cultural spaces - taking steps towards completing the Great Commission. 2

Key Elements of a national church planting process includes:


  • a national leader with passion and vision for his or her whole nation to be discipled to Christ.
  • national team casting vision and supporting an ongoing, practical strategy to mobilize the whole church to disciple the whole nation beginning with the least reached. 
  • sustained focus and flexibility helping overcome challenges and resource the movement.

Research / Strategic Information:

  • national research providing clarity on where new churches are most needed, and which means of disciple-making and church planting is currently bearing most fruit. An initial survey is often adequate to begin a national conversation; sample here. Russ Mitchell shares how to develop a 'prophetic message' here. More research training and resources here.

Gathering Places to Engage Leaders:

  • developing relationship with leaders of larger denominations and mission agencies who, working together, can accelerate disciple-making and church planting in the nation.
  • periodic national vision casting and training events
  • discussion of shared goals to disciple the least reached in their region. (Appropriate goals will vary by context. For an example of such a incremental approach, please click here.)

Support Systems:

  • regional training for planters, pastors and other leaders
  • 'backbone' or 'nesting' organization to serve administratively. More here.
  • concerted prayer, abiding in Christ to listen and obey (John 15:4)

Foundational Books and Articles

Please click on one or more of the following links which may be helpful in understanding the national initiative process (sometimes called DAWN [Discipling a Whole Nation] or SCP [Saturation Church Planting]):

Strategy Overview:

  • Simple: In a Word - What is DAWN? - Dr. James Montgomery (1 page in PDF)
  • Much better: It's a DAWN Strategy if... - Dr. James Montgomery (6 pages in English or Spanish).   What is DAWN? by Bernardo Salcedo in Spanish
  • Best: DAWN 2000: Seven Million Churches to Go - Dr. James Montgomery (88 pages, text only in PDF) (230 pages, full scan in PDF). 

Prayer: manual by Brian Mills (PDF)

Research: manual by Roy Wingerd (PDF)

More below...

Research and Best Practices

Historical Overview Research by Russ MitchellWhat are we learning about effective national SCP processes globally?

Not all national SCP processes produce equal fruit. What makes the difference? With limited resources, which emphases are most fruitful? Russ Mitchell has gathered input from over 100 SCP practitioners from every continent and issued a preliminary report (January 2018). His 15 page + appendices PDF is available here with supplementary PPT here.

If you didn’t previously share your insights; new participants in the survey please click this link.

The following best practices are offered also by practitioners and teams regarding...

The national church planting process: an overview - ; best practices ()

Building your national facilitation team (PDF); Training leaders (PDF); Goal setting (PDF)

The role of a backbone organization serving the movement ()

Continental Snapshots - some applications and expressions:

Africa: MANI 2008 Handbook for national initiatives in South Africa and Portuguese speaking nations: here.

Ross Campbell shares an overview of national initiatives in Africa during the Movement for African National Initiatives (MANI) gathering in Nigeria 2011. (In PowerPoint: PPT1 PPT2)

Ethiopia: video introduction by Bekele Shanko in mp4 (125MB) or wmv (980 MB).


Canada: Foundational work: 1998 and 2005. Current website:

Latin America - What is DAWN? by Bernardo Salcedo in Spanish


Philippines13 Steps to Saturation Church Planting - Dr. James Montgomery (PDF) Current website:


Nepal: PPT


Average Annual Growth Rate 2002-2012
Percentage of cities with less than 2 churches
Percentage of cities without churches
Percentage of towns & villages without churches
Percentage of cities, towns & villages without churches
Number of cities, towns & villages without churches
Church members as percentage of population
Church attenders as percentage of populationChurch attenders as percentage of population (larger scale)
Population to church ratios

Taiwan: 2015 Church Growth Report in PDF format - Russ Mitchell

Europe: - see helpful 6 minute overview video here. (Spanish: here)            

Learning community reflections on components to keep national processes healthy and growing - in .

'Matrix' working document developed by regional team to develop and expand the movement - in PDF here.
A PPT by member of the NC2P facilitation team here.

France: click for a map here. Each denomination contributes to a database to keep the map dynamic and up to date as cooperative efforts move towards the goal of one church for every 10,000 citizens. The site URL is:

Spain: research summary in PPT. For detailed 10 MB map, please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Romania2001 and 2008 update (PPT summary; PDF detail). Current website:


  • Additional books by James Montgomery here.
  • French translation of Dawn 2000: Explosion 2000 Project Dawn. ISBN 2880271358 
  • PPT: (shared in Budapest 2014) touching on these and other elements of a national strategy, please click here.
  • (Did you know William Carey first made call to systematic world evangelization in 1792; a forerunner of more developed approaches today. Carey's Enquiry Into The Obligations Of Christians is available in htmlepub or mobi.3) Carey wrote the 87 page booklet at age 31.   

Scalability: Sometimes only a few groups will agree to begin. That's a good start and others can participate as they come to see the value. The process can begin with smaller geographic areas also; individual cities, a state or province, a people group. Sometimes a whole nation isn't yet practical but may be in the future. Experience suggests particularly large nations (in population or geography) may best develop separate processes through a different leader in each region. In some cases a leader may have the capacity only for a segment of a nation. The important step however is to embrace the piece of geography the Lord of the Harvest speaks to your heart as you pray and find partners to get underway.

A Comprehensive Strategy: A national (state or city) church planting initiative process is a comprehensive strategy beginning with a priority focus on unreached and least reached people groups. It also seeks to disciple engaged people groups to their fringes and bring ministries of compassion and social engagement reflecting the grace of Christ to the needs of the community. Not everyone will contribute the same disciple making and church planting models. Each contributor however should be welcomed as part of the "eyes, ears and feet" (I Corinth 12) working together for the good of the Body. Best practices will emerge and be learned from. Every effort should be made to maintain the unity of the Body in the bond of peace (Eph. 4:3).


Note on Terminology: GCPN recognizes practitioners use terminology differently to emphasize important aspects of "whole nation" strategies, e.g.

  • "Discipling a Whole Nation" (DAWN) encapsulates the goal in its name.
  • "Saturation Church Planting" (SCP) highlights church planting as the means to move towards the goal articulated in DAWN.
  • "Strategic Church Planting" (SCP) calls for strategy prioritizing greatest needs within each national harvest field.
  • "National Initiatives" is the term favoured by the Movement for African National Initiatives (MANI) to emphasize bold pro-active initiative"A national initiative is an evangelistic partnership within the body of Christ in a given country, drawing major denominations, local churches and Christian ministries together in a multi-pronged national strategy of renewal, church growth, discipleship and missions (e.g. church planting)." - Dr Reuben Ezemadu (MANI Continental Coordinator, 2016)
  • "National Church Planting Process" is used in Europe to emphasize the fact that a national movement is not only an event but a long-term committed process.

Each of these emphases enrich the process of making disciples of all peoples and GCPN is pleased to assist where it can.

"Saturation" Church Planting (SCP) aims to provide one disciple-making community reaching out to each 1000 people. This penultimate goal is based on the assumption that, worldwide, the average church tends to gather about 100 persons for worship. 100 persons have a realistic possibility of sharing Christ with the other 900 persons in their community. An interim goal however may be seek to provide a church for every 10,000 or 5,000 people.

3 "This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at"

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