Why a new church…according to Tim Keller
Why a new church…according to Tim Keller
So, this is embarrassing…I just accidentally pressed Publish, when I thought I pushed save and I sent out an unfinished post. Whoops! Ugh. I hate when stuff like that happens.
But, I’m continuing my ongoing ‘Role of a Church Planter’ series with this post on staying positive.
I was recently having a conversation with someone about my plans to launch Thrive Church.
It wasn’t the greatest conversation.
Honestly, it was pretty rough.
Now, I’ve had 1000’s of conversations with people about Thrive Church and I’ve had 1000’s of incredibly positive, helpful and amazing conversations.
But, this one was different. It was hard.
This person just couldn’t understand why I would launch a new church or how I could be called to do this. They questioned why more churches are needed and church planting in general.
I’m not proud of it. I wish I hadn’t been. But, I was.
I told them what Tim Keller said about why more church plants are needed. I told them about the people who have already come to Thrive Church and have heard about Jesus and how they didn’t have a church home. I shared with them the vision of Thrive Church and how we have a GIANT passion to reach people who don’t have a relationship with Jesus.
And…Still…they just didn’t get it.
We finished our conversation and they left and I sat there in silence for awhile. I thought about it, I processed it and honestly, it would have been really easy for me to stay deflated.
But, I reminded myself of this truth…
And, that’s ok!
Some people aren’t going to understand. And, some people aren’t going to support it.
The best thing I can do in those situations is…Stay Positive.
1. Remember Your Calling. I know that I know that God has called me to start this Church. I have to remind myself of that.
2. Remember the truth. When situations arise that Satan reminds you that you shouldn’t be planting a church, remind yourself of the truth of scripture. Remember that the local church is God’s plan A for reaching people and that there is a tremendous need for more churches.
3. Listen to the majority. Out of the hundreds, if not thousands of conversations I’ve had, only a a few have been negative. And yet, it’s so easy to dwell on those! We have to stop letting the few get inside our hearts and minds. Yes, we can learn from their view point, but in the end, we don’t have to agree with them.
4. Be thankful for those kind of conversations. Yes, you read that right! We need them! We need to be challenged. We need to experience push back. Why? It really does increase our leadership. It helps strengthen our vision and resolve.
When we first started meeting monthly for Thrive, we met in a bar!
It was awesome! But, we outgrew it quick.
As we were searching for another location, we talked with a few schools in a few towns. Wow, they wanted a lot money! Then, as we were praying and thinking about our target, we realized that we wanted a chance to reach the most amount of people far from Jesus as we possibly could and that lead us to Mt Pleasant. It lead us there because its the hub of Central MI!
Then, as I was praying about where to meet, I really believe God put Celebration Cinema on my heart.
At first, we were like…hmmmm. Can we do that? Then, as we researched and learned from other churches and we experienced the amazing hospitality of our local theater, we knew we had found a home!
In the end, it worked out for us to meet there and we hosted 6 monthly services at the movie theater. It’s been great, but starting on September 22nd, we start to meet weekly!
1. Everybody knows where we meet? No really, EVERYBODY! We only have one movie theater in Mt Pleasant and just about everybody knows where it is. When I tell people that we meet in Celebration Cinema, I always get the same response…
2. The environment is super fun! I love our local theater. It’s just super fun, nice, clean, bright and really warm inside. Once we put up banners and brand it a little, it will move from good to great!
3. We have the most comfy seats in town! Ok, this is just fun. But, we do have great seats. I just have to be careful not to bore people, because with the big, comfy seats, people could fall asleep quick!
4. What better place to prepare people to reach people?!? Ok, that’s more of a question, but seriously! It’s just a great place to teach people God’s word and to train them how to be the light! Every Sunday we have reminders all around (all the seats) of people who sit there every night.
5. It smells of butter and popcorn. How could you not love that?
6. The movie screen is awesome to show videos and pictures on!
7. Kids love going to church at the movies and so do adults!
8. The band sounds great because the room is built for GREAT acoustics!
There really isn’t anything I’ve done in life without the help of others.
Yup, its true!
There is nothing I’ve really done on my own.
It’s aways with people. Friends, family, and people who want to help.
And, I’m proud of that. I don’t need to be a Lone Ranger, a trailblazer and a guy who does it all be himself!
As I sit and think about how many people have already helped, already partnered, already prayed…
It really is! To have the support of my wife, my kids, my parents, my friends, other leaders, other pastors…wow, it’s just humbling!
That being said…Thrive Church won’t be able to get off the ground without more help and I would like to ask you to be involved. There are so many ways you can help us and I would be honored If you would consider one of these five.
…Ask God for His favor and blessing on Thrive Church. Ask God to give us wisdom on how to be a church that people far from God find irresistible. Ask God to send us 15 more people for our Launch team. Ask God to protect us from what Satan is already doing to stop Thrive from getting off the ground. Pray for our fundraising goal of $50,000 by December 1st and $15,000 by September 15th. Pray for wisdom for our leadership team. Pray for our small groups and our community. Pray for our kids, our families and our marriages.
Would you just pray?
2. Spread the Word
…Would you post/email our launch website? (www.thrivelaunch.cc)
…If you have friends and family who are searching for a church in Central MI, would you recommend Thrive?
Would you spread the word?
3. Encourage Us
…You probably didn’t see that coming, did you? But, launching a Church is hard! Don’t think for a second that it’s easy. Satan does not want any other churches up and going.
…From time to time, would you write encouraging posts or tex us and remind us that you’re praying for us?
Would you encourage us?
4. Give Financially
…Every single gift helps and counts. No matter the size.
…It helps us accomplish our mission of helping people find and follow Jesus!
…So, would you help us raise $50,000 by December 1st? and
…You can send a special gift to help us launch or I need to raise my ongoing salary. I haven’t started receiving a salary yet from Thrive Church and I will soon. But, I am praying for people to support me monthly. Would you give $25, $50, $100 or $250 a month?
…Every gift is tax deductible and you can send checks to: Thrive Church, PO Box 1408, Mt Pleasant, MI 48804 or you can give online here. Thank you so much!
Would you give?
5. Donate Items
Here’s a list of Thrive’s biggest needs…
An iMac or MacBook Pro. This will help us with our Sunday service and for our office.
Kids toys (Portable Play Structure, Toys, Slides)
Kids equipment (tables, chairs, changing stations) *We have a wish list at IKEA for $2000
Kids Portable Sound System
Color Laser Printer
Sound & Lighting Equipment (Speakers, chords, stands)
Office Supplies (Stamps, Paper, etc)
Would you donate?
We rush, rush, rush.
We go, go, go.
We check our phones.
We live by our calendars.
We text during our conversations.
We are busy.
I am no different.
Today, I went grocery shopping at Meijer. It was packed, I loved it.
I walked around and just took my time.
It was a rare time. I wasn’t rushed.
I just slowed down and looked around.
I prayed for people as they walked by.
I didn’t know their names.
But, I still prayed.
I asked God to give me courage to share Jesus.
I begged God to heal marriages. To restore relationships. To reconcile relationships.
I asked God to give me favor with people who are far from Him.
And mainly, I just slowed down and paid attention to people.
I think about Thrive Church…a lot!
I dream about Thrive Church…a lot!
I talk to people about Thrive Church…a lot!
I pray about Thrive Church…a lot!
So, I thought I would share
It’s really simple…
…Thrive would reach people who are far from Jesus.
…Introduce them to Jesus and a relationship with Him.
…Love & accept so well that they find a home in our community.
…Once in community, begin to grow and thrive in their relationship with Jesus.
Goodness, I dream about that! I pray for that. I can’t wait for that.
What do I mean by that?
Many, many years ago I lead a worship team and we played at other churches, camps and retreats. Looking back, it was fun. Anyways, one night we were playing at a church that we had never been to before. As we unloaded, the Pastor of the church came in and I said hi to Larry.
He then proceeded to introduce himself as Pastor Larry.
Now, I had met him before and I was also a youth pastor at the time, so, I thought it was odd that he introduced himself as ‘Pastor Larry’. Well, he went around the circle of our band and when he got to our drummer he said, ‘hi, I’m Pastor Larry’.
Without skipping a beat, our drummer said…’hi, I’m drummer Jared’. Honestly, he wasn’t trying to be disrespectful, he just didn’t understand.
Needless to say, Pastor Larry was shocked.
We all chucked and then when Pastor Larry left, we laughed like crazy. I later apologized and he said it was fine!
Now, I don’t find anything wrong with the fact that introduced himself as Pastor Larry. I thought it was weird that he did with me, but over the years, I’ve met many Pastors, who introduce themselves as ‘Pastor so and so’ to other Pastors. I just don’t understand that.
And, I’ve just never liked being called Pastor Jason.
The first church I worked at was pretty traditional. Ok, that may be an understatement. It was actually the most conservative and traditional church I’ve ever been a part of in my life. At that church, they called my Pastor Jason.
When I started at my next church as the youth pastor, I put an end to it right away and just had everybody call me Jason. Only a few times in the last 20 years have people called me Pastor Jason. Typically at Weddings and Funerals.
I understand that for some people, calling their pastor, ‘pastor’ is a term of respect. But, in our culture at Thrive, we want to make sure we’re always thinking through our verbiage and I think for people who are new to church or have never experienced church, I just want to be Jason. I know for some people the word ‘pastor’ sends up flags right away. A few years my wife and I lead a small group and a couple almost didn’t attend because they didn’t want to attend with a pastor.
I won’t ever introduce myself as Pastor Jason or have any one else introduce me that way. I just want to be Jason and yes, I lead Thrive Church and I’m the pastor, I’m just not interested in titles. I think people who are new to church relate best to this. And so does…Andy Stanely and Bill Hybels.
Someone introduced me to their co-worker the other day as their pastor and I loved it. I was honored.
I pinch myseld daily that God has given me this tremendous privilege and honor to be the pastor of Thrive Church.