Commissioning Church Planters – NewThing!

Last month I had the opportunity to commission several of our church planters at Community. Take a look. And if you want to support these planters. Please keep them in your prayers!

You can learn more about the NewThing Leadership Training Center HERE.

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.

Are You Taking Time to Broker Relationships?

Church planters have a unique opportunity to bless others by brokering relationships between people they know. The more you embrace the role of relationship broker, the easier it’s going to be for you to connect people in your community in meaningful ways. And that’s another way to bless people.

In a former life I was a broker of financial transactions. I put buyers and sellers together and took a little off the top for myself. That was a good living but I digress.

Even in my new role as NewThing director, I am a broker. I help connect church planters and residents with our networks.

The posture of a broker is one that I advocate all planters adopt and work at.

According to the dictionary, a broker is an individual or party (brokerage firm) that arranges transactions between a buyer and a seller for a commission when the deal is executed.

I am not advocating you charge a commission (although that might be cool!)  But I am suggesting that you and your church plant will benefit when you adopt the posture of a broker. The more relationships you broker the more people you’re going to know and in church planting that’s a good thing.

Besides, brokering relationships is biblical. In the Gospel of John we see a great example of Phillip brokering a relationship between Jesus and Nathanael:

45 Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote—Jesus of Nazareth,the son of Joseph.” 46 “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked. “Come and see,” said Philip. 47 When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, “Here truly is an Israelite in whom there is no deceit.” 48 “How do you know me?” Nathanael asked. Jesus answered, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.” 49 Then Nathanael declared, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the king of Israel” (John 1:45-49).

I am suggesting we take a cue from Phillip and posture ourselves as brokers:

On your teams…
In your community…
In your networks…

Be creative; trust the Spirit. You can’t screw this up.

Take some time right now and draft a list of people you know and figure out how to broker relationships between them. Then stand back and watch God do his thing!

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What Does Radical Generosity Look Like?

How do you help people at your church grow in their generosity?

I was grateful to be part of Celebration Generosity at Community Christian this weekend. This once a year event is, well, a celebration of generosity. COMMUNITY gives away all of its offering for the entire weekend to four causes they believe in. For the past five years this has consistently been their largest offering! And they give it away!

NewThing is one of these causes and as the new Director I am humbled and appreciative for the financial support we receive. It’s vital to our mission of being a catalyst for a movement of reproducing churches.

So what’s this got to do with me you’re asking?

Great question.

I want you to see how generosity increases when you demonstrate radical generosity. You might be nodding your head and saying, yeah–that’s right. And I suspect you’ve had to talk about giving with people and somewhere along the way you’ve told them God blesses generosity. Indeed, he does.

But are you giving people in your church plant the opportunity to see generosity?

If you really want people to grow in their generosity then one of the best things you can do is show them what it looks like. Perhaps it means giving away an entire weekend’s offering…or more. Perhaps it’s committing to a cause in your community with real dollars.

And keep in mind this isn’t about the amount. I know brand new churches that give so much away they have trouble balancing their budget. While it’s not wise to do this, it is evidence they ‘get’ radical generosity.

My point is that generosity isn’t a private affair. The more you can help people see all of the ways God calls the church the be generous, the more you help them see more clearly their own path to greater generosity.

Celebration Generosity is COMMUNITY’s way of being generous and teaching generosity. I invite you to think through what your own radical generosity might look like. If you need any help with that, let me know.

Here’s a bit I did for CelGen casting a bit of vision for NewThing. 

Seriously, what would it look like for you to show the people in your church what radical generosity looks like?

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10 Things to Consider When Partnering with Community Organizations

What I love about church planters is their desire to partner with non-profits or community organizations. Literally every planter I meet has a heart and passion for serving their community. This is awesome. We need to celebrate it.

And one of the best ways to do this is to partner with organizations who are already doing good things in your community.  Plenty of people and organizations are working hard to help and serve your community. Your challenge is to find the organizations that align with your vision for the community and join them. jigsaw-puzzle-pieces-fitting-together-on-blue

Of course, I am assuming you’re committing all of this to prayer. As you do that, here are some things to consider when partnering with the community…

  1. Think relationships. Your goal is to build relationships with community partners. The best serving opportunities are those that offer equal opportunities for relationship building.
  2. Make heroes of your partners. Whether you’re working with schools, a community organization or a non-profit, strive to make them the heroes.
  3. Serve with no-strings attached. Please don’t make a prerequisite of your serving prayer or attendance at your church…that’s ridiculous.
  4. Be generous, with your time and money.
  5. It’s NEVER about you. It’s never about you or your church or your program. It’s ALWAYS about serving your community.
  6. Listen to the people in your community to learn their true needs. This takes time.
  7. Slower is better when building a relationship with a community partner.
  8. Under-Promise and over-deliver. Simple.
  9. Needs are seasonal. They often change as the community changes. What may have been a need 5 years ago doesn’t mean it remains so.
  10. Find the right leader to manage the relationship.

I hope to be writing about each of these in more detail. In the meantime, I hope this list gets you started.

What about you? What have you learned about partnering with community organizations? What have I missed?

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