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 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?
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.