Help Needed!!

     This is the most unusual post I have ever written.  It is also perhaps the most important I have ever written.  At this point I am not presenting information.  Instead I am asking for information.  I would appreciate your help.  I hope that you will post your answers on this blog.  If you are more comfortable you can email them directly to me at williamokimberly@yahoo.com.   It is important for me to hear from each of you.  None of the answers you give will be unimportant or without value to me.

     Let me set the stage.  You are placed in a city and given a mission.  It is your responsibility to begin a church.  Your mission is to build a church of 200 in two years.  This will be a church plant.  There are no churches currently  in the city that hold the views you believe God values as important. 

     This is what I need from you.  I need you to answer any or all of the following questions.  If you can add other areas of importance please add them.  I NEED YOU TO PARTICIPATE, PLEASE!

  • Describe to me the preparations you would make before arriving.
  • How would you begin your task?
  • What would be your point of emphasis during the first week, month, etc.?
  • What atmosphere and attitudes would you work to establish?
  • What would be the most important things to get done in the first two months?
  • How would this church be different than an established church in our fellowship?

     I will but together a list of your responses.  Thanks in advance for your time and participation.         Dell Kimberly

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12 Responses to Help Needed!!

  1. Larry Hiles says:

    Prayer!
    Prayer!
    Prayer!
    I am not saying this as the simple answer, but the most important! God bless! I enjoy reading!

  2. Judy Mueller says:

    I would hold a town hall meeting and hope a lot of people came, so we could start talking about God and hope they join the church.

  3. I’ve thought about this on and off today while working. I think Larry’s right. And Judy’s right.

    I’m just not sure about the question.

    You proposed: “You are placed in a city and given a mission. It is your responsibility to begin a church. Your mission is to build a church of 200 in two years. This will be a church plant. There are no churches currently in the city that hold the views you believe God values as important.”

    I think I would go to the people who placed me in the city and gave me the mission and tell them – with all due respect – that the mission is flawed. The mission should be to go into the city and preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, whether 0 or 2 or 20 or 200 or 200,000 believed after two years. That is the only reasonable expectation to have. If two or more believe, a church will be planted – by definition.

    I would not go alone. Jesus sent his mission teams two by two. I would not go unprepared to help people, even if I could not cast out demons or heal their sick. I would go prepared to support myself with a job, even if not by making tents, so that I would be out and among people who need to hear about Jesus. I would teach where asked, leave when thrown out, teach next door if welcome, rent a lecture hall if necessary. I would have my affairs in order in case someone felt that what I taught and did should cost me my life, even if not by stoning.

    I would teach about Jesus and Him crucified. Pretty much everything in scripture either points forward or to Him or back to Him, so I would have plenty to teach about. I would try to live as much like Him to give as much credibility to the words I share as possible … then be humble about my imperfections, failures and sins to His glory.

    Those would be my emphases and environs and goals in the first two months.

    I have no idea what kind of church would result because I have never – to my shame – ever tried planting a church this way or any other way before.

    What you’ve proposed, however, is the way we usually approach a church planting: with a definable goal that presumes that the church planter (or team) must do all the planting, watering, and giving of the growth himself/herself.

    God gives the growth. Sometimes even in really infertile soil. And sometimes God says “Shake the dust off your feet.”

  4. J. Weldon says:

    Dell,
    Are you going to do this? Is there a congregation near the city? Are you going along? How much money and backing do you have.
    Larry above gave the answer. YOU cannot build a church. Only God can build His church in any city. If you prayed for six months….every day…………the doors would start opening. You just have to watch for the opening.
    1st Question: I would pray every day for six months and see what God wanted me to do. Get the elders to pray with you.
    2nd. Question……I’d wait for an answer from God as to how we should begin.
    3Rd. Question>>>Prayer
    4th. Question………I’d wait on the Lord.
    5th. Question<<<<<Prayer and Patience
    6th Question______Now…..you got something here….I’d have one service on Sunday morning and I’d open the store front or wherever I was to daily bible studies. I would feed the poor. I would get people to come and help me teach all kinds of classes every day and night. Try to heal the hurt in the community. ……..and keer PRAYING AND WATCHING
    Hope this helps………………..Are you doing this or are you writing a book?

  5. Pingback: Church Planting « One In Jesus.info

  6. Jay Guin says:

    Dell,

    1. Pray (as well stated above)
    2. Find a mentor — someone who’s done it before. Maybe several mentors. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel. Better yet, apprentice with a mentor first (learned this from Alan Rouse).
    3. Find some folks to help pray — sponsoring church, friends, whatever. Built a team of prayer warriors.
    4. Study the local culture and language. How does the community work? What’s important to them? What felt needs do they have? What’s the best way to have spiritual conversations with them?
    5. Find some excellent church planting literature — in concert with my mentors. Again, don’t feel the need to reinvent the wheel.
    6. Look to see where God is already working in that community. Are there followers of Jesus already doing what I’m doing, perhaps outside of a church? Has he already prepared some of the ground for me?
    7. Meet with whatever Christian communities are already there. Maybe we can work together? Maybe they are the best place to begin?
    8. Look for opportunities to serve the community. Look at existing social service programs and see where the needs and opportunities are. Volunteer in an area suitable to my gifts — show Jesus’ love in very practical ways.
    9. Form community wherever I can — with neighbors, co-workers, social workers — whoever I meet. Be a friend. Love my heart out.
    10. Oh — invite other Christians to join me. Jesus had 12. He sent them out two by two. Solo work is possible but team work is better and more effective.
    11. Once we’ve done our homework, learned the people, and prayed our hearts out, I’d work with my team and mentors to establish a strategy — attractional, house church, missional, or whatever. There are different approaches with strong advocates for each. The best choice depends on the talents of the team, the local culture, etc.

    Umm … how would this be different from an established church? Well, all members would be active participants in the vision and mission of the church. No free riders.

    There’d be no legalism. Grace would be taught and practiced. If someone wants to bring a guitar to an assembly, he’ll be asked to use his talents in worship.

    Women would be allowed roles commensurate with their talents. This is biblical and to do otherwise is to be branded sexist.

    Racial and economic boundaries would not exist. Indeed, we’d consciously seek to cross such boundaries.

    There’d be no worship wars, because we’d pick a style suitable to the local culture, not the tastes of the founders.

    Prayer would be central to the life of the church. Converts would be strengthened through an intentional program of spiritual formation.

    It would never be the founders’ church. The church belongs to Jesus. In a couple of years, no one should remember who the planters were as we’d be so united there’d be no reason to even think in those terms.

  7. Dennis says:

    Dell,
    There have been some very good responses to your questions. One thing that I would do would be to lay low for a little while to observe. I would try to find the most influential natural leaders (not by title, but by the influence they hold over others) in various neighborhoods. Then I would start talking to them about the things of God. Once you’ve reached them your efforts would be multiplied. In other words, I would seek the leaders first (men and women).
    God Bless,
    Dennis

  8. Mike Bumpus says:

    Rather than repeat what has been said I would whole-heartedly advocate what Keith said. I can’t add anything to make it any better!

    The basis for all this bothers me “It is your responsibility to begin a church. Your mission is to build a church of 200 in two years. This will be a church plant.” First off, it sounds like a business directive. The church is not a business. I seem to remember reading someplace about one person planting, another watering, another harvesting … It is not a one person does it all deal. It is not a numbers game. It sounds like someone is trying to tell God his business!

    “There are no churches currently in the city that hold the views you believe God values as important. ” Well…OK, so is the problem you or the churches? I have discovered over the last 40 years a lot of the things I thought were important were preferences. I’m not saying you are wrong, just that you should make sure you are right.

    I have watched a little town near me for the last … 30 years or so. At one time it had a strong Methodist Church, Baptist Church, and Christian Church. But they all go so busy doing church they got to missing the people. A “full-gospel” preacher started a store front church geared toward the unchurched. He aimed for the person who had never been and probably never would be inside a church unless it were a wedding or funeral. The music was loud, the people were unconventional, it was everything the other churches in town were not. They were going great guns for a while until the founder felt he was a apostle and didn’t need oversight by elders. They have declined quite a bit from their heyday. A couple years ago a Baptist church plant started and is going good following the same premise he started with. The difference? 2-3 couples from surrounding churches that lived in or near that town and drove away to different churches came together to start one in that town.

    One man commented to me how different it was. “I’ve always gone to church where the men wore 3 piece suits and ties. We are trying to attract the people who have been missed, the ones who do not come to church. I haven’t worn a tie in months.”

    I guess what I am asking is this: Is this church plant to make the founder feel good or a planting group look good, or is the purpose to glorify God?

    Well, I have written too much already. Please take this in the spirit I intend it, and offer me the benefit of the doubt if it sounds wrong. I’m all for church planting. I just want us to watch the motives.

  9. Spoons says:

    Why do men/preachers/elders/males in general fixate on NUMBERS???? Like…How long, How much, How big, How deep, How fast, How slow, etc. etc. etc. God isn’t interested in numbers, I don’t think. In the OT they were forbidden to number the people, weren’t they? In the NT, aren’t the saved referred to as a “remnant”??? That’s not a BIG number, is it? The number of people in a congregation does not determine the success or progress of a “church”. I don’t like for an “attendence” to be taken for every class/worship service, but that’s just my opinion. And I don’t like time limits either. 🙂 Have you ever heard the story about “The Bamboo”? Interesting story about patience and success.

  10. dellkimberly says:

    I am working on a project that will attempt to bring the attitude of the church plant into older established works. Please don’t be concerned about the numbers. They were only necessary to set the stage. My need is theory and fact concerning church plants. I realize that God gives the increase and rarely is it by man’s schedule. Thanks for those who have provided comments on this topic. Your continued suggestions will be appreciated.

  11. Alan says:

    You are contemplating a noble task.

    Of course prayer and faith are the right places to start. But hard work is also necessary, and you want to direct those efforts in an efficient and effective direction. I’m not an expert but I’ve seen some church plantings with growth in the range you are aiming for. I’ll try to give some practicals that I’ve seen work in the past in various places.

    Preparations before arriving:
    1) Prayer and fasting. Don’t skip the fasting.
    2) If you can find someone who is already doing it, follow them around for a year or two. Literally, day in and day out.
    3) Start where you are. If you’re not converting people where you are, you won’t convert people where you’re going. Form a small group of like-minded people devoted to reaching the lost. Work with the group until it doubles through conversions, then take the group including the converts with you.

    Cross the Rubicon! Don’t leave yourself a way out. Don’t put your hand to the plow and look back. Be sure you and your team are this committed to the mission before you begin it.

    At the beginning of the task:
    1) Love the people you are reaching out to. Love them!
    2) Set goals for yourself and your team (for example, to meet X people a day and invite them to something — a bible study, church service, etc; Invite everything that moves — personal one-on-one invitations, not flyers and advertisements; Try to have as many visitor as members at your events.) Challenge one another to meet the goals. Invite everyone who visits to start an individual Bible study immediately.
    3) Preach a challenging message! Teach a message of sin, righteousness, and judgment. (John 16:8; Acts 24:25; etc) Call for repentance. Set a high standard and live up to it! Call people to a cause worthy of them giving up everything — high cost and high reward.
    4) Paint a vivid contrast between the typical lifestyle of your visitors / their culture and the lifestyle that the scriptures call us to live. Be sure your lifestyle (and that of your group) matches the biblical lifestyle.
    5) Don’t forget the spiritual needs of your team. Keep them strong and close to God.
    6) Celebrate success.
    7) Keep praying!

    It’s not all about the mechanics but the heart. I applaud your desire to do this. Have faith because with God anything is possible.

  12. Wayne McDaniel says:

    Dell, I was not aware of your blog until the other day. I have read several replies, and decided to respond as well.

    Luke is the only gospel to record Jesus sending out the 70. In Luke 10 we read of Jesus speaking of some as, “a son of Peace”. He expected his pairs of disciples to be able to recognize such people as receptive to the message they would bring.

    On Paul’s 2nd journey, the Spirit used a dream to direct him into Macedonia. After a few days in Philippi, he went down to the river looking for a place of — prayer, and met Lydia. After Pentecost, most conversions we read of in Acts were the result of face-to-face speaking.

    In such settings, who we are becomes clear to others. As Don McGlothlin said, “We are our message.” If we are largely presenting a system of concepts and practices, saying a certain group is unique in approaching God, then that is our “gospel”. But if our message is a man who loved us and emptied himself to share himself with us, we have good news for all — including ourselves. “who was delivered up because of our transgressions, and raised up because of our justification.” – Rom.4:25, NASV

    We may forget our need for Jesus because we fail to examine ourselves (1 Cor.11:28, 2 Cor. 13:5). It seems that some church members have never received the birth from Above that makes us aware of our need for Jesus. Paul was aware (Rom. 7:18), James and John were aware (James 3:2, 1 John1:8), but are we aware of our remaining sinfulness?

    If a brother, or sister, or unbeliever, asked us of our sin, how would we answer? Are we aware of any sin in our lives? Would we say, “That’s none of your business!” ? James 5:16 has been ignored, but not restored. If we want to become more like Jesus, we must be aware we continue to fall short of his glory (Rom.3:23). It is the fundemental sin of pride that keeps us from acknowledging our failure to bring every thought captive to obey Christ (2 Cor. 10:5).

    If we are blind to our failures, and never name them before the Father, how can we taste the joy of fresh forgiveness, believing our life is hid with Christ in God (Col.3:3)?
    When do we say, “God, be merciful to me, the sinner.” ?
    We are our message.
    Wayne McDaniel Phx.

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