I am Ready to Find a Leadership Resident But I Don’t Know Where to Start!

So you’re convinced that a leadership resident is necessary for you to start a movement of reproducing churches. Good–I am glad. Because you’re right. findaresident

Most planters I talk to get really excited about the idea of a leadership resident joining their team. But then most admit they don’t even know where to start looking.

The truth is, residents are not going to just show up on your door. (Some will–but most wont.) You’re going to need to connect with others and find them.

Recruiting a resident comes down to networking and meeting with residency prospects.

Here are some questions to ask yourself to help you find a leadership resident:

  1. Have you clarified exactly what a residency will look like for you and your team? Have you received coaching and input from others who already train residents? Can you articulate your vision and process for a resident clearly?
  2. Are you communicating externally? Are you telling others (church planters, pastors etc.) that you’re looking for a resident. Are you tapping your relational networks and letting them know you’re looking?
  3. Are you communicating internally? Are you casting vision to potential leaders within your organization that you are looking for a resident?
  4. Are you praying?
  5. Are you making space in your schedule to meet with potential residents? Does finding a resident get space on your calendar or not?
  6. Are you pursuing residents you have connected with? Are you following up with prospects that have expressed an interest in residency and making time to meet with them? Or are you letting others meet with them?
  7. Are you asking others (staff, network partners, etc.) to help you connect with new residents through their relational networks.
  8. Are you talking to current leadership residents to find out who they might know?
  9. Are you attending conferences like Exponential and others to build relationships with potential residents.
  10. Are you offering basic assessments to residents to help them understand how they’re wired and whether they might be a good fit for you and your team.

If you’re interested in a leadership residency with my tribe, NewThing, hit me up. I’d love to talk to you.

So what about you? How do you start recruiting leadership residents. What has worked for you that can help the rest of us.

If you dig the content of Mission Glue, please SUBSCRIBE here. And thanks for reading–I really appreciate it.

10 Reasons Why I Believe in Church Planting

Not long ago a friend of mine who is not a believer asked me the question every planter hears at some point: why do I want to plant churches when so many already exist? worldchurchplant

I helped my non-believing friend try to understand church planting the best I could that night. I am not sure he understood it any better.

But his question also got me to thinking. In fact, it challenged me so much I went home and starting writing a list and titled it ‘why I believe in church planting.’

My list isn’t a theological argument for church planting. Nor is it missiologically comprehensive.

It’s just my list. These are phrases I use to help people who struggle to better understand what we do and why we do it. These are the reasons that get me out of bed everyday.

So here it goes…

  1. I believe in church planting because I found my way back to God at a church planting church.
  2. I believe God uses church planting to draw new believers to Jesus because we go to them.
  3. I believe a new healthy church glorifies God and that’s why any of us are here.
  4. I believe church planting is the best way to make the gospel real to people in post-modern, post-Christian 21st century that is largely skeptical of it.
  5. I believe church planting offers people an opportunity to be on mission for something bigger than themselves.
  6. I believe church planting is the life-beat of the church because it keeps the mission on the edge.
  7. I believe church planting is the way to fulfill the Great Commission (Matthew 28:16-20) to make disciples and teach them and baptize them.
  8. I believe church planting brings renewal to the Body of Christ by drawing upon the skills and talents of Jesus followers in unique ways.
  9. I believe church planting is an authentic expression of Christian faith because it embodies the original ethos of the Jesus movement.
  10. I believe church planting will lead to movements and that through movements we will achieve the Jesus mission. This is why the church exists.

I’ve left out a ton. (I did want to keep this list to just 10 items.) But this about does it for me.

So what about you? Why do you believe in church planting? What items are on your list? I’d love to hear from you.

If you dig the content of Mission Glue please SUBSCRIBE. Thank you for reading–I really appreciate it.

Interview with Church Planter, Mike Evans — Discover Church

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. MIke and Wendy 6.10

I recently had the privilege of talking to Mike Evans, Lead Planter of Discover Church in Lee’s Summit, Missouri.

I first met Mike when he arrived at Restore for a Leadership Residency. Mike had been on staff at a mega-church in Wichita and therefore brought some experience to the table. Through relationships with people in Kansas City, Mike moved his family to the Kansas City area with a dream of planting a church for people far from God.

Mike attended assessment and also spent 5 months as a Leadership Resident with Restore. During his time he did everything right in my opinion. He attended assessment. He leaned into the phases of the residency. He remained teachable and worked hard to reproduce small groups and teams. Mike is also a runner (like me) and so I loved that a couple of our meetings were on the trail.

While Mike was sent by a group of churches for the purposes of accountability/management/funding/encouragement, Mike did plant solo. He’s careful to admit that he wouldn’t do that again–too hard!

Mike launched Discover in November 2010. Mike is also a New Thing church.

Tell us about your family? discoverchurch

I’ve been married for 19 years (20 this summer) to an amazing, gracious, gifted woman named Wendy. 4 kids, Andy – graduating in May, will be attending Univ. of Central Missouri this fall, majoring in Marketing; Katie, 8th grader and the most content, sweet kid in history; Zach, 6th grader and the smartest 12 year old on the planet; and Mindy, 2nd grader and the snuggliest little blondie ever.

How is your family part of your church planting adventure?

This is OUR deal, not mine. Everyone plays a role seemingly every week. I just baptized my 12 year old’s best buddy. My wife leads in kids and helps with admin and women’s stuff. My kids are all in on anything service-oriented we do. I couldn’t do this without their hearts being in it too. Just no way that happens. We never would have even started without the family buy-in.

When did Jesus become real for you?

August 9, 1980, at a place called Vesper Hill on Lake Bridgeport, TX

Why are you a church planter?

Because I couldn’t get on at the railroad? Umm, honestly the vision wouldn’t leave me alone and if I didn’t plant a church or at least try it would have been an act of disobedience to God’s call on my life.

What circumstances led you to believe God was calling you to plant a church?

I was serving faithfully at a church in Wichita, when two friends convinced me to connect with a dude named Justin (The Heartland Project) who directs a church planting organization. We started talking, praying, dreaming, and here we are today.

Where is your 3rd place?

Two of them really Xtreme Fitness and McDonalds down the street. I know, I’m cheap but there you go.

Describe the cultural ethos you hope to create/created at Discover.

We love our Jesus and our city and are very intentional about building a place where people not yet in love with Jesus can take one step closer, and where people who are can take one step deeper.

What difference will your church plant make in the community?

We want to impact the spiritual landscape of LS. We’re very involved in Downtown Main Street, partnering with a local elementary school, a local youth outreach called Pro Deo, lots and lots of stuff. We want the city to be ticked if we ever decided to bail.

How are you developing people? Staff, volunteers, launch team?

Through our small groups, our serve teams, one-on-one discipleship relationships, neighborhood parties, tons of stuff.

What have your learned about raising funds for your project that can help the rest of us?

Get as many churches as you can to come alongside you and then use the Lead Pastors of those churches to serve as your management team until you raise up internal leadership.

What is/was the great challenge you faced planting your church and how did you overcome it?

Licking the challenge of developing leaders when we started with so many people so far from God. So may broken people, so much to do, and it takes time to grow them. We honestly need to do a better job at apprenticing people in all areas.

Who inspires you and why?

My wife. I’ve learned more about Jesus, service, unconditional love, and grace from her than anyone else in my life. She’s so fun and just being with her, well, there’s a reason we have four kids and it’s not because I like kids so much!

How are you caring for yourself while planting?

Taking Mondays as a Sabbath is key. I work out 5-6x/week, running, light lifting, that kind of thing. Just the basics-consistent prayer, Bible study, reading a lot, trying to stay a real person and not play the “role” of pastor.

Do you have a plan for planting more churches/campuses etc. What is it?

Yes. We have a Leadership Resident coming this fall who will by God’s grace launch a new church in Fall 2014.

If you could ask a church planter you don’t know one question, what would it be?

Who do you think will make the playoffs again first, the Royals or the Chiefs? Seriously, I’d ask a question about how s/he deals with self-talk and discouragement successfully.

What is your favorite band and why?

Sorry dude but I have a couple. When I’m feeling mellow it’s definitely Allison Krauss and Union Station. Because they just get it done. When working out it’s definitely Rush. Cuz Geddy can sing, Alex can riff, and Neil is the best ever.

I am grateful to Mike for sharing his experiences and insights with us. Will you do me a favor and pray for Mike and the Discover team right now.

You can find more of my INTERVIEWS WITH CHURCH PLANTERS here.

If you dig the content of Mission Glue, please SUBSCRIBE for an email when I post. And it’s OK with me if you tell your friends about my blog.

If you are planting a church or if you’re part of a planting team, I’d love to talk to you about the details. Leave a comment or shoot me an email. Thanks for reading–I do appreciate it.

How to Create a Culture of Reproducing — Part 4: Accountability

Why is it that reproducing artists, leaders and churches is so dang hard?  I think it’s because many of us make two key mistakes:

  1. We believe reproducing is easier than it really is.
  2. We don’t build a culture of reproducing.

So let’s all just admit reproducing is hard. But it’s essential if we want to see a movement to accomplish the Jesus mission. Reproducing-mandelbrot1_original

I am convinced reproducing can be reduced to three components:

  1. Vision
  2. Intentionality
  3. Accountability.

A friend and fellow church planter challenged me to think through reproducing and to help other planters. So I am writing a series of posts “How to Create a Culture of Reproducing” (I know it’s clever) to help planters think this through.

This is the FOURTH and FINAL POST in the series.

Read PART ONE HERE.

Read PART TWO HERE.

Read PART THREE HERE.

The final component of reproducing is accountability.

Accountability simply means that you have measures in place to help you do what you say you’re going to do.  If you want to build a culture of reproducing you’re going to need to set goals, develop some metrics around them, and then help each other meet those goals. Sure it’s hard, but it’s also essential.

Here are some ways to build accountability into your culture…

Celebrate Reproducing. When you see people reproducing celebrate it. Tell a stories of people reproducing. Write notes to leaders who are reproducing etc. Celebrate, celebrate, celebrate reproducing.

Ask Questions. When you check in with staff and leaders ask them how they’re doing on the reproducing front. Questions like: “who is your apprentice” or “who are you investing in” or “who are you doing ministry with” are great ways to drive home the notion that your culture is all about who is next.

Create Leadership Expectations Document. I know it sounds dull but it’s essential to write down what exactly you and your team are going to hold yourselves accountable to. This document should inform your leaders about what you’re asking them to do and why. And it should set accountability standards for reproduction by spelling out what reproducing needs to look like in your context.

Create a Matrix to Track Reproducing. Devise a simple metric to track coaches, leaders and apprentices. Share these numbers with your team often.

Insist Leaders Meet with Their Apprentices. The planter will need to keep asking leaders who they have met with and how those meetings are going. If you’re leaders aren’t recruiting and investing in apprentices you’re not reproducing.

Term Small Groups. I am a fan of term small groups. We have three a year. And they help foster reproducing. At the end of every term out leaders have an opportunity to invest in another apprentice.

Always Be Reproducing Something. A leader, a team, a service, a church, a network…You can’t wait for a the right time to reproduce. Set a goal for reproducing and work towards it. When you reach it, set another goal. Soon you’ll be seeing reproducing everywhere.

Well that’s it–for now. Like I said, I’ve tried to capture my thoughts on this topic. They will certainly change. Just a couple of things to remember.

  • Keep at it. Reproducing is hard. If it weren’t everyone would be doing and we’d see Kingdom movements everywhere. While reproducing is hard, I am convinced that it’s the only way we are going to achieve the Jesus mission.
  • Reproducing is practice and art, not method and process. I hope you can see that reproducing is not a growth model nor a program. It’s an ethos. It’s a Kingdom thing.
  • Reproducing is a God thing. While you do need vision, intentionality and accountability–in the end God does the reproducing. Paul reminded the Corinthian church:

What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task. I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow (1 Corinthians 3:5-7).

What have you learned about reproducing that can help the rest of us? Please comment here or email me. I’d love to hear from you.

If you like what you find at Mission Glue please subscribe here AND tell a friend.

How to Create a Reproducing Culture — Part 3: Be Intentional

Why is it that reproducing artists, leaders and churches is so dang hard?  I think it’s because many of us make two key mistakes:

  1. We believe reproducing is easier than it really is.
  2. We don’t build a culture of reproducing.

A friend and fellow church planter challenged me to think through this.

So just start by admitting reproducing is hard. But it’s essential if we want to see a movement to accomplish the Jesus mission.

I am convinced reproducing can be reduced to three components:

  1. Vision
  2. Intentionality
  3. Accountability. Reproducing-mandelbrot1_original

So I am writing a series of posts “How to Create a Culture of Reproducing” (I know it’s clever) to help planters think this through.

This is the THIRD POST in the series.

Read PART ONE HERE.

Read PART TWO HERE.

Today we’re talking about the need to be intentional about reproducing.

You and your team must be intentional about reproducing. It’s got to be deliberate and done on purpose. Remember, you don’t just happen to reproduce. To build a reproducing culture and to persevere in the face of opposition, you’ve got to remain intentional. You’ve got to do the work.

Here several things you can do to be intentional about reproducing…

Create a Structure of Apprenticeship. This structure ought to include a pathway for leadership development. Ex. Staff members invest in coaches who invest in leaders who invest in apprentices. (Ephesians 4:11-12).

Create a Leadership Gathering. Your leaders need a time and place to gather. Host a monthly gathering of leaders (or quarterly at minimum). In this gathering you must: celebrate reproduction, teach reproducing skills, cast vision to your leaders about reproducing. The goal of this meeting is to equip and encourage leaders, not for you to talk. It’s Ok to take time to cast vision but keep it short and focused.

Recruit and Reproduce a Leadership Resident. The planter ought to have identified a leadership resident or church planter to equip, train and send within the first 9 to 12 months of launch. Let the resident reproduce and recruit and then send them out.

Go to Conferences or Outside Training. What you invest in is what you believe in. Check out training from New Thing. I would recommend you attend Exponential. Talk to your network about any resources.

Resource your Team with Tools. These can include books, manuals, guidebooks, online training platforms, seminars and conference. The truth is that there are lots of resources available on reproducing. You need to remain intentional about using them.

OK, now your turn. What is the hardest part of being intentional? How have you remained intentional about reproducing with your team? What have I missed? I would love to hear from you.

If you like what you find at Mission Glue please subscribe here AND tell a friend.