1. Is a pod church really a church?
The purpose of the pod church is no different to any other biblical church. However, the pod church identifies and focuses on certain important values to ensure we actually live by them. By raising the purpose of pioneering, outreach and discipleship, pod churches will have a clear vision of why they exist. By raising up our values to connect, love, unify and build we will create a healthy culture within the church. Pod’s exist to make disciples who make disciples, and be a church that multiplies itself, until the transforming presence of Jesus Christ is found in every community throughout Australia. Within the Wesleyan Church a pod is actually a ‘Pioneer Fellowship’ as described in the handbook. With all of that said, “YES” we believe a pod church really is a church.
2. How is a pod church different to a growth group?
When a pod church is planted in a home, it may appear to just be a glorified growth group. However, it is different. A growth group will usually function as a small microcosm of a larger church where fellowship and discipleship will take place. A pod church may begin small when it’s launched, and will create a space for fellowship and discipleship, as well as worship and evangelism. It will grow as a fully functioning church with the purpose to multiply. It will exist as a Pioneer Fellowship in Wesleyan Church of Australia, with its own leadership and structure.
3. What about communion and baptism?
Communion and baptism is a vital part of the life of the pod church.
4. Where do my tithes and offerings go?
We encourage generous giving to God through tithes and offerings and believe this is God’s plan for financing his kingdom work. Each pod church has a bank account and is structured in the same way any other church is with a treasurer and local board who are assigned with responsibilities, including the formation of a budget. We encourage every church to send a minimum of 10% of church offerings for mission work outside the pod church. 10% is also budgeted and given to the overseeing body where it is pooled to assist with mobilization of the movement (We call this United Stewardship Fund – USF). The remainder of the offerings are used to meet the expenses of the pod church and preparation for multiplication. The above structure may look slightly different for a pod that is being planted out of a sending church. The sending church may want to maintain some stronger connections with the administration of finances, to assist the pod church while the church is in the early stages of launching. This can be agreed upon on a case by case basis, but the end goal is to equip and release the pod church to be self sustaining.
5. What about membership?
We believe in membership within the Body of Christ and encourage each pod church leader to move people towards local church membership as a step in their discipleship journey. Membership material and training is provided for our pod church leaders to use.
6. What’s the leadership structure?
In the Wesleyan Church a pod church is considered a ‘Pioneer Fellowship’ but with a couple of twists. The main twist is the focus on multiplication in the DNA of the church. However, from a structural point of view it is very similar. The pod church will have an assigned leader to oversee the pod. The leader is accountable to the district leadership or the network pastor. The leader develops a Local Advisory Committee (LAC) within the pod, and that LAC will then act as a board on behalf of the pod church. An LAC role description and other helpful training is provided during the pod leader training.
7. What if the pod church keeps growing larger?
It’s possible (and hopeful), that some of our pod churches will not only multiply more pods but also will grow in size beyond their expectations. Some leaders have the vision and capacity to lead larger teams, reach more people and make more disciples. These churches will become community and regional churches, having a different kind of impact than the micro-site church. Not better, just different. In the Wesleyan Church these churches will move from a ‘Pioneer Fellowship’ and become a ‘Developing Church’ or an ‘Established Church’. However, from it’s inception, in the DNA of a pod church is the need to make disciples who make disciples and to be a church that multiplies itself, so, no matter how large the church grows, it must have multiplication in its DNA.