This is the second part of my interview with Eric. Read Part 1 here.
I started Mission Glue for one reason: to help church planters plant healthy reproducing churches. One way to do that is to hear from practitioners. I want to hear from church planters who are actually planting churches. You may not have heard of them but they have learned a ton and can teach us much.
I recently had the privilege of talking to Eric Metcalf, Lead Planter of Community Lincoln Park / Old Town. Eric also provides leadership to NewThing’s Leadership Residency Program – a program designed to apprentice church planters to start new churches.
I first met Eric while I was finding my way back to God at the Yellow Box Campus of Community Christian Church in Naperville. At that time he was a small group director. Eric affirmed my own journey and in several conversations helped me understand the reproducing culture of Community. What I noticed about Eric was this passion for connecting people to the mission of Jesus. He also like to have fun–lots of fun. When I heard that he was planting a church I knew it was going to be something special. Before embarking on this church planting journey, Eric led New Thing and was Director of Awesome. (Whatever that means.)
Eric is the lead planter but will be planting with a team. While he will plant a Community location, it will be more than just a plug ‘n’ play multisite campus. Eric told me to think of it more like a church plant that is part of a larger aligned network focused on helping people find their way back to God. And he’s hoping something special emerges, more a campus, church plant, missional community hybrid. Eric attended church planter assessment and high recommends anyone planting a church do the same. I am grateful Eric is willing to share his journey and insights with us. And I am humbled by the opportunity to work with him. I know we will all be inspired and encouraged to hear his story.
What have you learned about fund-raising that might help the rest of us?
People Raising (written by Bill Dillon) and Julie Bullock (used to work for generis.com now for Wheaton College) have been HUGELY beneficial in this area. Julie and Bill both don’t have a scarcity mindset…they believe people have capacity and want to support the vision God has given you. People Raising is a simple book that gives you very practical tools on how to follow-up with people. Julie has taught me that following up in a relationally, consistent way is a potent way to insure someone will respond. Often times in fundraising we try to take the short cut by asking for partnership too early or not often enough. We want to get to yes immediately, but we need to take our time with the ask. And if we get a “no”…we can’t allow ourselves to back down or not follow up…as sometimes that “no” actually means “not yet.” Your commitment to your vision will be challenged time and time again in fundraising – which is why fundraising is so important – it refines you and it will refine your team as they fundraise.
How is your family part of your church planting adventure?
They are all in. My wife is leading a small group for young college/career girls, leading with another leader a women’s group, worship leading, and making incredible meals for neighbors as they come into our home and when we have events. My kids and I have been sitting on their bedroom floor for the past 2 years asking God to lead us on mission. A couple of nights ago, Joey (our oldest) was sharing with me a conversation he was having with the librarian about why we moved to the city – to start a church…and proceeded to have a dialogue with her about it – awesome!
What is/was the great challenge you faced planting your church and how did you overcome it?
Fundraising. It is hard work. I have yet to overcome this fully as we are still doing it. But having visionary, Jesus-loving leaders around you helps you celebrate the wins and push through the challenges.
Who inspires you and why?
Jon Ferguson. He started Community with his brother Dave and yet he and his wife Lisa (w/ their 2 kids) did just take a salary and put their feet on the desk at growing mega-church. Instead they jumped in with the mission and moved to Chicago – raising substantial amounts of money – and has gone after the mission in a big way ever since.
How are you caring for yourself while planting?
Not very well 😉 Actually I have some great friends who challenge me, prayer for me and love me. I’m high energy guy with lots of big goals – so I need accountability here for sure. I have taken up running, I like to read, playing a great video game or 2 and I enjoy watching movies with friends.
Do you have a plan for planting more churches/campuses etc. What is it?
Yes. We are “planting pregnant”. I have 2 families who are jumping in with us as Leadership Residents to launch a new church in Bucktown | Wicker Park (downtown Chicago) on Oct 2014.
If you could ask a church planter you don’t know one question, what would it be?
Why are you planting a church when you could take a salary somewhere?
Just for fun–what’s your favorite band and why?
Coldplay is my favorite “established” band – best concert I have ever seen. Favorite indy band is a tie between Of Monsters & Men and Imagine Dragons.
Any other secrets about church planting you can share with us?
Stay connected. One of the number one reasons (as researched by Ed Stetzer) church planters “fail” is that they don’t have peer-to-peer relationships. Other pastors, other church planters, other churches caring for you through 1:1 meetings, coaching calls, reading pastors books will make you 100x better and last the long haul. Which is why I love NewThing and Community – they are networks of pastors who are on mission with me.
You can follow the Metcalf’s church planting journey here.
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