How to overcome your fears

All of us experience fear.

We experience fear individually and we experience it corporately. Fear is part of the human experience.

Fear prevents us from doing great things. If you want to do great (and even awesome things) you will need to get out of our comfort zone and routines. To do great things means we must go to new places and try new things. These places can be real (like going to a new country) or they can be imaginary (happening only in your mind).

Fear is holds us back. Fear prevents us from changing things and dreaming big.

Fear stops many of us from finding solutions to the problems around us. Fear can throw us to the ground and kick us while we’re down.

I wish I could punch fear in the face. Really. 🙂

The question, then, is how to overcome our fears.?

I’ve been looking into this recently. The truth is much of our fear is really unfounded. Our minds make it up because we struggle to discern the difference between discomfort and danger.

Focus on these two words a moment because I want to make an important distinction.

  • Discomfort is slight or temporary. It’s an absence of ease.
  • Danger is a real response to a threat.

When we try new things we will inevitably lose some control. How much or how little depends on the situation. When you’re doing something new you are really moving from equilibrium to disequilibrium. All you can really control is your response. And our response must be merited by the facts.

This is why it’s imperative to discern the difference between discomfort and safety.

Things can be uncomfortable yet be very safe. When you’re experiencing fear the trick is to discern whether there is really any danger. Most of the time it’s actually going to be discomfort and there is no danger in discomfort.

So, the next time you’re trying new things and you experience fear ask yourself:

  • What is the danger here?
  • What are the facts?
  • Is there any danger or is this all happening in my head?
  • If there is any danger, how much and should it really prevent me from doing what I want to do?
  • If it’s only discomfort, well, maybe I should just drive on?

We experience fear because we cannot discern the difference between discomfort and danger.

Once you can discern the difference you’re on your way to overcoming your fear.

The Difference Between Strategy and Tactics

Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory, tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” —Sun Tsu, Ancient Chinese Military strategist

It is helpful for church planters to understand the difference between strategy and tactics.

They are often confused.

I am a military history buff and after serving in the regular Army I have learned the difference between strategy and tactics.

(And please note, I am not an advocate of militaristic language when it comes to Kingdom work. I simply want to illustrate this point because I think it can help you plant reproducing churches.)strategy_tactics

• Strategy is how you’re going to win the war. It involves all of the plans, operational maneuvering, activities, and objectives you need to win the war.
• Tactics are how you’re going to win the battle that will win the war.

Battles win wars.

But fighting a battle without a strategy will just lead to carnage. You might win a battle or two, but you will lose the war.

You need both. You cannot have one without the other.

Understanding the difference should help you achieve your goals.

I hope this helps.

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And thanks for reading.

“You’re Gonna Need a Bigger Boat”

You might need a bigger boat.

One of my favorite movies is Steven Spielberg’s Jaws. And one of my favorite lines is when Chief Brody (played by Roy Scheider) gets his first look at Jaws, the Great White shark he’s come to battle.

Brody backs into the cabin and whispers to Quint,”You’re gonna need a bigger boat.”

Brody realizes that he and he crew have greatly underestimates the challenge before them. In that moment, Brody realizes that what this trio of hunters has brought to the fight isn’t enough going to be enough to win it.

His is a moment of clarity when he realizes his tactics are going to need to change.

Perhaps those of us starting new things need to ask this question.

If we’re going to plant churches that change the spiritual landscape of our cities, regions and the world, we will need a bigger boar. We need to have a similar a-ah moment and realize that we are going to do things differently if we’re going to achieve our goal.

We’ve got to take a good look at the challenges we’re facing and ask ourselves: am I going to need a bigger boat?

So what about you? Do you need a bigger boat?

The 5 Season Cycle of Church Planting

If we’re going to create a movement of reproducing churches and missional communities, we must understand that a church plant is a dynamic organization with a cyclical lifespan. We must understand that churches exist in seasons and each season has unique goals and challenges. Understanding these seasons will help you discern what season you’re in, what you’re trying to accomplish and how you’re going to go about doing it. 5 cycle

So what might it look like to understand your church plant as a dynamic entity with a cyclic lifespan?

I’ve thought about this and read from others (namely Aubrey Malphurs and Ed Stetzer) and have developed what I am calling the 5 Season Cycle of Planting. The heart of my model is a gathering and scattering strategy. I contend that if we committed ourselves to the 5 Season Cycle, we would see more healthy reproducing churches planted.

Keep in mind this is a 40,000 sketch of a work in progress. I will fill in more details in later posts.

1. Residency Season (Preparation)
Somewhere between 1 to 2 years before your launch you should be participating in an active residency with a church that plants churches. Here, the planter is preparing himself for launch, identifying location and fundraising while learning both the strategic and tactical elements of planting from the sending church. This is a season of active learning and reflection.

2. Pre-Launch Season (Planning)
This is somewhere between 6 and 12 months out from your hard-launch date. You’re on location and the details are starting to come into focus. This is a time of intense preparation and team development. Your building a launch team, developing leaders, casting vision, fundraising, serving the community and building a ton of relationships with people in the community.

3. Launch Season (Execution)
This season includes your hard launch date and the subsequent 6 to 8 weeks immediately following. During this season your executing the plan and making things happen. You’re starting small groups and serving the community. Your goal is to launch large in order to build momentum to sustain the cycle. During this season you are also identifying your first leadership resident.

4. Post-Launch Season (Consolidating)
This season starts 1 to 2 years after your hard launch date. This season should end with your plant being financially self-sustaining and the next generation of leaders emerging for mission. Your team should be serving the community and building lots of new relationships. You are also training and developing your leadership resident.

5. Reproducing Season (Sending)
This season is approximately 2 to 3 years after launch. It’s the season during which you move from 1 to 2 services or reproduce a network of small groups or missional communities. It’s the season of consolidation before you start preparing for the next launch (or missional community) and doing it all over again. It’s the season when you send out a new planter (hopefully your leadership resident) and a team to start another church.

Repeat!

I suspect that if every new church followed the 5 Season Cycle faithfully and consistently, we would get closer to a movement.  And that all starts, church planter, when you understand the cyclic nature of a church plant and embrace it.

What are your thoughts? Does this help you think about the life-cycle of your church plant in a new way? What have I missed? What have I got wrong?

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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.

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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.