Before Serving Your Community, Consider…

Many planters want to serve their communities. I love it. In fact, if the church doesn’t desire to make an impact in the community, you probably should re-evaluate why you’re planting in the first place.

Here are some things I am learning from both my own experience and talking to other planters about new churches serving the community…

  1. Don’t start with an agenda. Start with relationships. This means you should meet with community leaders and get to know them. Ask them what they think are the needs of the community. You must do this first and it will take time.
  2. Needs Assessment. Conduct a thorough community needs assessment before you start serving.
  3. Pray! Once you identify needs in community, pray about them. Not only is it right to bring these issues before God, it’s an opportunity to identify which needs God is calling you to meet.
  4. Find one need. Pick one need to get behind. I would recommend one and only one in the beginning. This way you can generate momentum and make the most impact for the cause.
  5. Find leaders and people to help lead. Don’t try and tackle all of this on your own. Serving your community is a great way to raise up new leaders.
  6. Get out there and serve. You will never have enough time nor will it ever be the right time. So just do it.
  7. Ask people to serve with you. This could include other churches and organizations.
  8. Empower people on your team to serve. Give them time and permission. Unleash them!
  9. Celebrate your serving opportunities. I have worked with churches who include storytelling, a celebration service and awards.
  10. Keep at it! Transformation takes time.

A Checklist for Teaching and Communicating

How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? -Romans 10:14.

Billy Sunday
Billy Sunday in Action

Teaching is a privilege. While it’s not my primary role, I do get the opportunity once or twice a quarter to teach at one of our locations.

It’s important that the church planter (who is often the primary communicator) continue to grow in the craft.

Here’s what I’ve learned about being a communicator. I look over this every time I have the opportunity to speak.

  • Preach the Gospel
  • It’s all about Jesus. People need to see Jesus through your words.
  • It’s not about you. It’s about the people in the room.
  • Stay focused on the message. Keep on the Big Idea.
  • Have fun.
  • Speak naturally as if you are speaking to just one person.
  • Slow down. Speak in a natural rhythm.
  • Get away from your notes, but not too far.
  • Be genuine.
  • Be authentic. Ensure people understand how this message has influenced your life.
  • Passion is good. Being emotional and intense is good.
  • Stick with your ‘voice’ and don’t imitate others.
  • Make eye contact with people in the audience
  • Keep it simple.
  • Vary the pace.

I am sure there are many other things to consider. But this list does it for me.

What other advice do you have for teachers and communicators of the Gospel?

Another Look

When was the last time you took another look at what you were doing? 
When was the last time you asked yourself if what you were doing is worth it?
When was the last time you asked if what you were doing was going to get you to where you wanted to be?

I spent several hours going through my blog the other day.I wanted to understand what I’d written.  I also wanted to determine if anything I’d written had made a difference? I wanted to know that all of that time and energy was worth it.I haven’t blogged in several months. Several writing projects have stalled on me…again.So I decided to schedule some time on my calendar to simply have another look at my blog to determine what I should do with it.Three hours later, I am not sure I have any clear answers.

What did strike me were the comments.

Good people have commented on my blog and it was those comments that I found inspiring. I mean, I hope what I have to say helps church planters. But what I also want to do is simply encourage people to do what God has called them to do. It seems I may have done that on one or two posts.

See, I’ve been writing on and off for years. It started with journaling in college. That led to short stories, some attempts and novels.

Eventually I started a blog. That was right about the time we were considering moving to Kansas City to plant churches.

I started blogging again after my brother died. I can’t tell you why exactly. I just felt like I had something to say. Not about him or his death per se. But about church planting. I wanted to be sure that I was helping people anyway I could and that happened to be church planters.

If what I write helps anyone, then it seems worth it.

The older I get the more I realize that my life is about helping people bridge the gap between where they are and where God is calling them to be.

All I am saying is that stopping; taking a break and having a look around is a good thing. Without it, we can find ourselves lost or overwhelmed.

It helped me.

I don’t know what you’re working on in life. I don’t know how you’re spending your time.

What I am saying is that it’s worth it to pause and have another look to ensure it’s all worth it.

My Interview with NewChurches.Com – Mobilizing from the Sidelines

I love Newchurches.com! I think this is fabulous resource for anyone planting churches. Daniel Im has put together a great team and they will have fantastic resources. Daniel and Patrick

Planter, I recommend you enroll for a PLUS membership ASAP.

Daniel recently interviewed me about ‘Mobilizing from the Sidelines.’

I told him that…
  1. We publicly commission church planting teams.
  2. We challenge everyone to become a missional disciple.
  3. We encourage every leader to have an apprentice.
You can find the article HERE.

Heading to the Church Planting Canada Congress

churchplantingcanadaI am very excited to be traveling to Montreal to attend the Church Planting Canada congress (October 27-29) with 25+ networks and denominations from across Canada. The theme of the conference is Momentum. I love that this is a network of networks to catalyze church planting!

I will be meeting with friends, connecting with new people and conducting several workshops on reproducing. If you’re attending, stop by our booth and say hello. Here’s a link to my workshops.