Last week I Had another amazing conversation at Panera Bread.
Let me back up. I’m at Panera Bread in my town quite often. I use it pretty frequently to meet with people…to study…to prepare and to work.
About 4 months ago I realized it’s one of the…
GREATEST MINISTRY TOOLS EVER
Sure…I love the food.
Sure…I love atmosphere.
Sure…I love the wifi.
Sure…I love how they don’t kick me out.
But, after I started to become friends with the staff and regulars and started to have personal relationships and personal conversations with them, it dawned on me…this place is an incredible opportunity.
So, fast forward to last week.
I was inviting a Panera staffer to Thrive and another staffer was listening to our conversation. After I finished the conversation, the other staff member came up to be and said…“You’re starting a church?!?”
I wasn’t sure to be offended or excited! Hah.
But, she said she was on her break and asked if we could talk. I said of course and she started with this…
“I hate Church”
Just as she said those words my heart broke. She went on to say that she didn’t necessarily hate God, she just hates the church and then she said, rather emphatically…
“I hate Christians”
She went on to say that she hates that she hates the church and christians, but it just seems that christians and the church are against everything and everyone and she’s tired of how much she thinks they exclude certain people.
We talked for 30 minutes. She shared and I shared.
I assured not all Christians were like that and I apologized to her.
I told her about Jesus and I told her how much He loves her and how Jesus went out of his way to love the outcasts.
I invited to Thrive. She didn’t come. I’m praying she will.
If you’re a follower of Jesus. Please…Please represent Jesus well. Myself included.
I just can’t wait till tomorrow.
I got up and I studied. I read scripture.
I went on a prayer walk and prayed for our pre-launch service tomorrow.
I prayed for our launch team. I prayed for the people I invited this week at Panera Bread, the Post Office, Staples, Walmart and my Little League Team.
I prayed that God would give me clarity, focus and His power as I teach John 13 tomorrow.
I prayed for our thrive kidz and asked for God’s blessing on them.
I prayed and asked God to remind us continually that the Acts 2 church was a movement and not a building.
I prayed for everyone individually whose attended our previous services and I prayed for the dozens of people that have approached me and asked to hear more.
I prayed for my neighbor. I prayed for my kids teachers.
I prayed for every church in Mt Pleasant, Alma, Shepherd, Claire and Midland. I prayed for their Pastors and Leaders.
I prayed that God would spark a movement in our area using the amazing churches, para churches and their leaders.
I heard from God and His voice is amazing.
I am so EXCITED for Sunday!!
I hope to see you tomorrow. Or, I ask…PLEASE…would you pray for us?
…Pray for God’s favor and His blessing.
…Pray that people far from Him would meet His son.
…Pray that He would use Thrive to make disciples.
…Pray that He would give us wisdom.
…Pray that He would give us favor with people who are far from Him. People who have given up on church. People who have lost hope.
For the last 15 years I have…
…read every book, every article, every blog on church planting that I possibly could.
…attended all the conferences and trainings that I could about church planting and church leadership.
…listened to hundreds, quite possibly thousands of messages and trainings about church planting.
…talked to hundreds and hundreds of church leaders, church planters and church ‘experts’ about church planting.
It’s been a very quite passion. My professional ministry life has always been about youth ministry and small groups (and I’m still CRAZY PASSIONATE about them) and as much as I was studying and researching youth ministry, very quietly, I dove into the church planting world.
Actually, at one point, I didn’t think I would ever plant a church. I thought God would send me into a church on it’s last legs and I would be used to bring it back to life.
God had other plans
All that to say…I am no expert on church planting. But, I have a passion to see new churches birthed/planted/launched and I’m excited to pour my life into seeing that happen the next 30-40-50 years of my life.
For me, there is nothing greater to invest my life into than the local church. Now, of course my relationship with God and my family take a higher place. But, as I search my heart and my life and the world around me, there is nothing else that even comes close.
Nothing comes close.
As I’ve been studying, reading and researching, I’ve been thinking about my role as a church planter.
What are the main things I need to do to launch this church. How should I go about them?
The conclusion I’ve come too is this…
My #1 Role as a Church Planter is to Tell Everyone
Tell everyone. Yup, that’s the first role. Now, yes, I will pray and I will seek God, but I think my first priority is tell everyone that I know and that I meet about the church that God has laid on my heart.
That means I need to cast vision for this new church…ALL THE TIME.
…What we’re about.
…Our dream and vision.
…What God is doing in my life and our teams.
I think this is one of the most important roles I have as a church planter. I need to tell everyone I can about the call that God has put on my heart to plant a church.
“Church planters are some of the luckiest people on the planet—because the most important thing happening on earth is the establishment and building of local churches”. ~Bill Hybels
Yesterday’s post seemed to strike an interest…considering it was one of my highest read blog posts ever.
Today, I thought I would turn the corner and look at the other side.
So, what’s the best reason EVER to help launch a Church?
I talked about a few of them in yesterday’s post, but the more I thought about it, I believe there is one reason that sticks out more than any other.
There lot’s of great reasons to help launch a church…
1. You’ve been looking for a new church home. Maybe you have just moved to a new area or you have prayed through and feel a peace about finding a new church.
2. Your kids asked you too. I’ve met people who help launch a church because their kids got involved and they got involved.
3. You’re ready for less traditions. Ok, I know this one could cause some folks to want to fight me. But, honestly, I talk to a lot of people who have left the church because of traditions. Now, I don’t think traditions are bad. But, I think the worship of traditions is how Churches get off the right tracks and it happens all the time.
4. A close friend asked you to pray about it. Now, if that same friend says…”Hey, you have to leave and come join me and help me launch this church” and really doesn’t have a great reason, well, that’s probably the wrong reason. Just to leave…to leave is never a good reason. But, if you’re asked to earnestly seek God and ask, then that’s different all together.
5. God’s asked you too. When God asks you do something, it’s undeniable. He’s asked you and it will be hard to not to follow through. But, here’s a warning. Everyone close to you might not understand and support you. Actually, you may get the most pushback from those closest to you. I’ve met people who have had very hurtful conversations with close friends and family over helping launch a church. But, if God asks you too…then you have to take that step of faith.
The BEST Reason EVER to help Launch a Church…
~To REACH more People for Jesus. Period.
I love what Stadia says about this…”There are 7 billion people on the planet. God loves them all, and He calls us to love them too. How do we do that? God’s plan A is the church, the Body of Christ, God’s local outpost. We need more churches…lot’s of them”.
“Church planting remains the single most effective way to reach people with the Good News of Jesus” ~Stadia
If you want to do more reading about that, check out what Tim Keller says here.
But, I believe passionately that the best reason ever to help launch a church is to reach more people for Jesus.
To see lives changed by the hope of Jesus.
1. You’ve been called by God.
2. He’s placed the vision and dream on your heart.
3. You believe in Church Planting and you want to help launch a new church.
4. You’ve been looking and searching for a church home.
I could go on and on.
But, here’s the thing…there are many reasons to not help launch a church.
1. It’s the cool thing to do.
2. You were guilted into it.
3. All of your friends are helping launching the new church and you don’t want to be left out.
And the Worst Reason of them all
~You are ticked off or upset at your current church.
Ok, here’s the deal…that is just an awful reason to help launch a new church. Why bring those feelings into something new? If you’re upset and angry enough at your church to leave, you have to deal with those feelings. You have to get answers to these questions:
What’s the root of those feelings? Why are you so upset? What made you so mad you’re ready to leave?
Once you find the answer to those questions, you can move to the next step. That next step is to figure out if God is really calling you elsewhere or you’re really just too hurt and can’t go on.
If the hurt and pain are too much to keep attending, take some time off. Heal up. Find someone to talk too. Stay and help make that church the best it can be.
But, if you really know and feel that God has called you to be a part…then take a step of faith and help launch a new church!
Never do it for the wrong reason. Never.
“The local Church is the Hope of the World”
I laid in bed last night and I couldn’t sleep. I closed my eyes and they popped back open. I buried my face into my pillow and tried to stop my mind from thinking and processing.
That was unsuccessful.
I was thinking about the church. My mind was spinning about church planting and church leadership. I couldn’t stop my mind from thinking. So, I wrote a blog post about the real reasons I am really starting a church.
I included 4 reasons in yesterday’s post. I think I forgot a few.
So, I’m adding to my list list of why I am planting a church, here we go!
1. The local church is the Hope of the World!
- I believe that through and through. When I worked at Willow Creek, I loved, LOVED, hearing Bill Hybels talk about the local church. I believe with everything I am that the local church is the hope of the world. My hope and prayer is that our new church will ridiculously and completely share the hope of Jesus to the world.
2. I love the local church.
I have served the local church for 17 years and I’m excited to serve the local church the next 17 years!