Archive for February, 2007|Monthly archive page

Church Planting Wisdom from Proverbs

“Work brings profit, but mere talk leads to poverty.” – Proverbs 14:23

“If you are too lazy to plow in the right season, you will have no food at the harvest.” – Proverbs 20:4

“Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty.” – Proverbs 21:5

I think God had church planters in mind when He wrote these verses.  If there’s ever a job that requires hard work, it’s launching a new church.  If you want to be successful, you have to pray hard, but you’ve got to work hard.  I knew that going in, but I’ve lived it over the past 18 months. 

If you’re lazy, don’t go plant a church.  You can pray and ask God to bless, but you’ve also got to work hard.  If you’re British, you’re going to work your arse off.

As a leader of a new church, no one will have as big a vision as you do.  You’re going to work harder than anyone else on your team, and do the things that other people won’t do or can’t do.  You have to get it done, and there won’t be time for excuses. 

I don’t think I could have done this with a different job on the side.  I know a lot of people do the whole bi-vocational thing and start a church, but I couldn’t have done that.  I think that the leader needs to devote all of his attention and all of his energy towards launching a church.  This is my advice, but if you don’t have the money to be able to focus everything on the launch, then wait.  Save money up.  Get a job and save, and then strike out.  Don’t try to do both, or else you’ll do neither well. 

In addition to being a new church, we’re also a portable church.  Our team of guys arrives at the movie theater at 5:30 in the morning (and recently in the freezing cold) to set up stages, lights, sound system, baby cribs, info tables, signs and trailers full of stuff.  Sure,  we could have scaled it back to require less work, but we would have fewer results.  We work hard, because God deserves our best.  Starting a church is not for the faint of heart.

As a church planter, you’ve got to be willing to get up early and stay up late.  Not all of the time, but a lot of the time.  I know the famous people who write books talk a lot about delegation and doing less and all that stuff.  I believe that with all my heart.  But in a brand new church, you may not have those systems or those people in place yet.  So, guess who gets it done.

You have to talk to people when it’s not convenient for you.  You need to visit churches and take some trips.  You may work the copier, unload a trailer, and make a website.  Some of the laziest people in the world are in ministry, and that’s why their churches have 50 people in them and barely scratch the surface of their potential.  There are a lot of reasons why churches don’t grow, and laziness of the pastor and staff is up near the top of the list.

As we’re looking to expand our staff, we’re looking for people that have a "get it done" attitude, people that are willing to do whatever it takes, whenever it’s needed.  I want what Bill Hybles calls 100 watt bulbs on our team.  I want hard workers around me, because I work hard myself.

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What You Can Learn

A couple of times a week, we get an e-mail from a church planter or a future church planter asking for advice.  We’re happy to answer that (and that’s why we started this blog), because we do the very same thing.  We don’t have all the answers…we’re still making up a lot of stuff, but we’re happy to share our successes and failures in church planting.

One thing I always tell church planters is to visit as many church plants as they possibly can.  And when they get there, ask the leaders questions.  Find out what worked for them and what didn’t work for them.  Take notes on what looked good and what stunk.  Every church does something well and something bad.  It’s good to read blogs, but there’s nothing like visiting these places in person.

The second thing I would do is go to conferences.  I’m going to the conference in a couple of weeks (actually, I’m leading a breakout called "Launching Large".  I’m taking some of our team to Unleash up at NewSping, a church that is just knocking it out of the park.  I always come back from a conference with a good idea, message idea, key thought, or new relationship.  I would go to as many conferences as you can, and meet as many people and ask as many questions.

Third thing I would do is read a lot of books.  There are 1 or 2 good church planting books, but I recommend that you read books on business, marketing and leadership.  You’re going to do a bunch of that as you launch a church.  Read BuzzMarketing, The Tipping Point, and Corageous Leadership.  I read Andy Stanley’s Next Generation Leader every year.  Starting a church is a spiritual endeavor, no doubt, but there are some leadership and business things that will help you.  Read books from people that you disagree with, too.

I want to keep learning and growing as a leader.  We’ll never arrive.  We’ve got to keep stretching ourselves.

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Family Pastor

We’re looking for a full time Family Pastor to join our staff team.  This is a management level position, requiring a lot of administration and organizational skills.  You’d oversee staff, budgets, do leadership development, and lead a team of volunteers.  We have over 120 children attending on Sundays and about 50 volunteers.  We have a great new student ministry with some great leadership.  So we’re looking for someone to lead, guide and direct.  If you’re interested, or know someone who is interested, let me know.

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God on the Radio

We want to be as open source as possible with other churches and church planters, so here’s a zip file with all the resources from our God on the Radio series.  You’ll find message transcripts, all the Keynote presentations, an intro video, small group discussion questions, and some graphics.


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