Today wrapped up the teaching portion of my Church Planting class – tomorrow is class presentations. Each student will spend 3 to 5 minutes presenting to the class the vision and direction for a potential future church plant. This is something that some will use in just a few months, and for others, it may be a few years away, but either way, it should be useful information.
We’ve spent the last 6 days discussing the beginning stages of church planting, so as we wrapped it up today, we talked about the future: teams, structure, and thinking ahead.
We began class with a 12-minute video from my friend, Chris Norman, who dropped some science on us. I even took some notes from his video as he discussed how people play a huge part in the development and direction of the church. He talked about the importance of working hard to move people into positions where they thrive, not just filling ministries and staff positions with warm bodies. He also reminded us of the importance of planning ahead, but being more committed to the Lord than to your schedule. At the end, he gave a very wise warning about the importance of maintaining marriage and family life. Ministry is one of the few positions that if you neglect your home life, you disqualify yourself from the very thing you’re pursuing. Great stuff from Chris!
As we tackled the subject of teams, I discussed some practical ways to empower, encourage, and equip people for ministry. After all, according to Ephesians 4, one of the main jobs of a leader in the church is train people for the work of the ministry. It’s a joy to help people find the area(s) in ministry that they thrive in. That may take extra work with some people, but it’s worth it!
Empowering people involves providing an opportunity to serve and giving them a voice and a hand in the ministry.
Encouraging people involves reminding them of the value of what they’re doing as part of the church. We should all keep going even when it feels like nobody notices, but our goal at Awaken is to never give people that excuse!
Equipping people is similar to empowering them, but while empowering is more personal, equipping is more practical. This involves making sure they have the right tools and training to get the job done as effectively and efficiently as possible.
In the structure part of the class, we discussed 3 Biblical examples of how necessary teams are to the growth and support of an organization.
We talked about Exodus 18, how Moses had to raise other leaders up “to bear the burden with him,” and I encouraged the class to pray for those people and be those people!
We also looked at the New Testament church in Acts 6, when they got to the point where needs were being overlooked. Peter and the disciples could have arrogantly decided that they were the leaders and no one else, or they could admit they needed help. Thankfully, they chose the latter, appointed Godly, Spirit-filled men, and the church thrived!
The final example came in 1 Chronicles 35 during the reign of King Josiah. About halfway through the chapter, it says that the singers, gatekeepers, and Levites were all “in their places” doing what they were called to do. The result? The Passover hadn’t been celebrated like that in over 400 years! When we are in our places, doing what we’re called to do, God will do unprecedented things among us!
The goal of the final portion of the class was to lay the groundwork for whatever lies ahead. We discussed the importance of considering the context of your church plant because even though it worked for another church, doesn’t mean it will work for you, in your context, in your city. We talked about thinking outside the box and not just doing what’s always been done “because that’s how we’ve always done it.” We also discussed the need to plan ahead and constantly cast vision to the team and church.
It’s been an amazing journey, and I’m exhausted. I’m excited to hear the presentations tomorrow, and even more, the fruit that comes from this class. I believe great things are ahead!