Monthly Archives: April 2014

Church Planting: Storms as We Plant

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Remember the storm that came through before our first small group meeting? If not, read it here. I said there would be more storms and want to share some today. Not all the storms are of the literal rain and thunder variety. Most storms are just the devil trying to squash you down to keep you from telling people about Jesus. I’m telling you, get out the umbrella and raincoat and keep going. Don’t let him win by getting you down. Find another way to overcome obstacles and keep moving forward.

 

So here are a few things we have run into as we got started with planting a church. Maybe you have experienced some of these things too and can laugh about it now. Hang in there, you’ll make it!

 

No core group

Almost every book my husband read and everyone who wanted to put their two cents into the church plant said we needed to have a core group. Well, honestly, if you are moving to a new place and know no one where is this core group going to come from? You have to meet people and that is not an easy process in this busy world. You see, we don’t want to steal disgruntled people from other churches. We want to reach people who don’t know Jesus. When my husband was surveying the neighborhood, if he ran into someone who already went to church that conversation was considerable shorter than one with someone who didn’t go to church. We don’t want transfer growth.

 

So, we never found that core group of 10-20 people who would help to be leaders and go-getters. If you are starting with no one, it is going to take time to build up leaders from a group of men who are new believers. If you are confident that you have the skills and management style to be the jack of all trades for a while, then forget the core group and move your church planting on.

 

Ideas that worked in one place may not work here

The church plant we used to go to was located an old movie turned dinner theatre. The worship area was set up on a slant with chairs and a long table. We called them “pewbles”. It was a great set up for having movie nights. There was a large screen and a place to put your snacks! This outreach worked pretty good. It grew from a few people coming to about 100 people. And, it worked. People heard about Jesus in a different format, started coming to church, and were saved. We thought this would work as an outreach for our new church plant.

 

We were wrong! We tried two movie nights before deciding this just wasn’t it. The first was held in November on a Saturday night. Turned out there was a big school event at the high school that night. We had known something was happening, but didn’t realize how big an event it would be. Always check the school calendar! We tried another movie night a couple months later. It was free, in the middle of winter when there isn’t anything else to do, and again it was at a familiar location, a school, so people should be comfortable going there.

 

Both times, we didn’t get a single visitor. It was a lot of work and expense for us to do this. My husband said, I think we’ll have to try something else. Lesson learned is that just because it works one place, don’t expect a duplication of outcomes in a different scenario.

 

The worship leader quit before the first service

Over the summer when we were in the process of moving and doing the sports camp my husband put out requests for a worship leader. This is an important role as we all know. The music can make or break a visitor’s first impression. When my husband met and talked to this one guy, he was sure he had found him. He was looking for a new opportunity and was really talented.

 

Unfortunately, he quit about a month before our first practice service. Uh-oh! This turned out to be a blessing, as we found someone who lived right in town who was looking to lay down roots in one church. He is also very talented and has a pool of musician friends who have helped us out.

These are just a few things we ran into, but we kept on going. We keep praying for that core group and potential leaders are attending. We keep praying for our outreach activities to reach people, but we are also working one on one to build relationships. We keep praying for a solid group of musicians who want to call our church home. We keep praying because God loves us and I know He wants us to tell people about Jesus. I’ll share a few more storms next week.

 

This is GOOD Cake

Proverbs Picture

If you find honey, eat just enough–too much of it, and you will vomit. Proverbs 25:16

Mmmmmm, I love cake much more than honey, so let me rewrite this Proverb into my own words. If you find good cake, eat just enough-too much of it, and you will vomit. In my opinion, you can’t go wrong with good cake. Back in high school, a friend and I were sitting at an awards banquet and they had cake. Being young and able to eat indefinitely, we were enjoying ourselves, when my friend turned to me and said, “This is GOOD cake!” just as everyone got quiet. We giggled away and people looked at us like we were weird. Kind of like how I look at high schoolers now that I am so far removed from that era.

So what is this Proverb saying to us? Basically, too much of a good thing is bad. In other words, you need to moderate your intake of good cake. What could this good cake be in your life? Let me give you some more substitutions:

*If you find money, keep just enough or it will cause you grief.

*If you find pride, keep just enough so others will not vomit at the sight of you.

*If you find yourself in a position of power, keep just enough and delegate so you will not think you are all that and a bag of chips.

Do you see where this is going? It is great if you have a windfall of good fortune or you are blessed with more than you need. But do you know what to do with the excess, so the power, the pride, or the money, or whatever doesn’t go to your head? Share. Pass blessings along to others without asking for recognition or do it anonymously. That will bring you true joy and will make God smile.

There is probably only one word that we can put into this Proverb that would not cause someone to vomit. Love. Love is probably the only thing none of us can have enough of. And if you are so loved, I pray that you are sharing that love with everyone you meet. You may be the only love someone sees their entire day. You know that cashier who you see every time at the store, looking more and more tired? Your smile and hello might help them make it through their shift. Send your child’s teacher an email of appreciation, not asking for anything, but thanking them for their hard work on your child’s behalf. Love isn’t about grand gestures. It is about thoughtful gestures.

So take a moment, give up the pride, the power, the money, the selfishness that can cause stress and distress in your life. Instead, overindulge in spreading love. Let your good cake spread into someone else’s life. You never know the impact you may have.

If you find honey, eat just enough–too much of it, and you will vomit. Proverbs 25:16

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Church Planting: Ways to Get Started

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There are probably a few different types of church planters out there. The kind who:

 

*read books and do everything in the order of the information there

*leave one church and bring people with them to start another

*just wing it

*grab bits and pieces from several different ways.

 

We fall into the last category and here are the bits and pieces we used.

 

*Reading books:

First of all, our church plant is tailored after the Purpose Driven Church. Some of Rick Warren’s ideas about the classes and theories of new church plants are the driving force behind what we do. Why reinvent the wheel, right? His plan outlines a way to set up the focus of the church on reaching people to tell them about Jesus and not on stuff. My husband has chosen to focus on one class a year, interspersing other aspects of classes as needed. With this plan, it won’t be a rush job.

 

We both read some other books, but I would have to say they weren’t very useful. Looking back, they included a bit too much “not real world reality”. Some of them probably skewed our ideas about what to expect. Remember our first small group? But, it is good to see the experiences of others, to glean some thoughts about maybe what to try or not. I also read some books about what the church planter’s wife should do and more on that another time.

 

*Leaving one church and bringing people:

Well, the truth is, we did leave our church but the only people we brought were in our family. So, we were six strong with four of the six under the age of 10. Even though we did not bring people physically with us, we brought people with us another way. The church we left, agreed to give us some financial support and prayers. Both of these items are coveted as we continue to plant. Never, ever turn down prayer support. If that is all someone can offer, take it! Prayer will be more important than any other material or financial support…although it won’t always seem that way. Prayer won’t pay the bills or bring people to services. Answered prayers will pay the bills and bring people in, so tell people your prayer requests.

 

*Just wing it

Sometimes the best laid plans need to be set aside for winging it! After the sports camp, we started The Story of Hope small group in our home. We strongly felt that we needed to start services after that, because the small group would not be sustainable. We hadn’t found the “core group” everyone says you need. And our original intent was to launch at Easter. If we waited eight more months we felt the small group aspect would fall apart. The sports camp would be a distant memory for families to remember we were actually becoming a church, and we just felt the urge to go for it.

 

So, we went for it. We stepped things up a notch, getting a building rented, lining up music, and securing the help we needed to get the word out. The small group finished up in October and we started practice services in November followed by our launch on December 2, 2012. Christmas would be a great time to start, right up there with Easter because that is when most people think about going to church.

 

These are just tidbits of things that worked for us. Why? Well, it suited my husband’s personality and ambition. He has great ideas, can see the whole picture, and a great desire to reach people for Jesus. All of these things combined got the ball rolling for our church plant. Don’t be afraid to use ideas from other people. Don’t be afraid to follow your gut and do what you think is best. Don’t forget to pray! If you feel God is giving you the green light, then go for it! Remember, you are the one living this adventure!

 

Volcano Soup

VolcanosoupWho said a rose by any other name is still a rose knew what they were talking about. You are probably looking at the picture going, “Volcano Soup?”. Yes, folks, Volcano Soup is glorified tomato soup, mashed potatoes, and cheddar cheese. Soup by itself in my kids eyes is not the greatest. So let me give you the background.

My Mom and I were talking one day and the subject of tomato soup came up. I said my kids wouldn’t eat it. She suggested I try it with a dollop of mashed potatoes. She said that during the depression this was her father’s favorite soup. His mom would make it and put a blob of butter on top of the potatoes. Hmmmm, this sounds good. So I decided to try it.

I got the soup and instant potatoes (I’m sure that’s not what they used during the depression, but it’s what I keep on hand). Then, when the kids asked what was for dinner, I said soup. The groans came. I promised them it would be good.

Come dinner time, I had come up with the idea of serving the meal so it looked like volcanoes. While I’m getting the dishes out, the kids come again to see what is in the pot and I tell them Volcano Soup. “Oooo, what is that?” come the questions. I tell them to wait and see. Since this was our first time having it, I made a big production of taking everything to the table. My son passed me a bowl and I put in a scoop of potatoes. Then, I added soup around and on top and said something like, “the volcano is erupting” and then, because cheese makes everything taste better, I added some cheddar cheese as additional lava spewing overtop.

Thank goodness it was a hit! It was gobbled up and they asked for more. Thank you Mom! I know it is not necessary to come up with creative names to coerce my children into eating things, but it was a fun dinner and we had great conversation. We talked about real volcanoes and other things and it was nice.

If your kids are groaning at tomato soup, then try making Volcano Soup to jazz it up some.  In February we had this every Thursday night. No one complained and everyone ate well. When I make it for my family of 6, I use 2 cans of soup, 10 cups of instant potatoes and about a cup of cheddar cheese. Hope you enjoy!