This weekend marks the 5th anniversary of the launch of my former church. While there have been lots of ups and downs for that church, five years is pretty remarkable. Most church plants — especially in New England — don’t make it five years. They have made it and made it well… they are weathering their storms, staying focused on the vision, and continuing to reach people for Jesus. Even though I am like Pete Rose (lifetime ban) at the church, I still rejoice and thank God for what He has done, what He is doing and what He will continue to do.
Today I have been thinking, “what if I church planted again? What would that look like?”
I spent some time writing about this in my journal today as I listened to Rick Warren teach at the Radicalis Conference at Saddleback today. For me, there is nothing like listening to Rick’s heart and teaching to ground me in the fundamentals of our faith, of what church is (and can/should be) and the importance of prevailing local churches.
So I started to journal a bit and what was remarkable was that in 6 years since I last planted a church, I have learned a ton, made a lot of mistakes, experiences a few successes, and been exposed to some of the best teachers/pastors/church planters/coaches in the world — and given that, while I would refine the strategy and approach, fundamentally I would plant the same way with the same strategy as we did 5 years ago.
Here is what I would do if I were planting another church*:
– I would fully embrace a purpose-driven model — without apologies.
– I would have a team approach to teaching and leadership.
– I would make mission and The PEACE Plan/Network central to the life of the church.
– I would focus on developing the Core Systems of the church — things most people never see but makes a huge difference.
– I would make the metric of success reaching lost people and helping them become fully devoted followers of Jesus.
– I would embrace a multi-service, multi-site strategy.
– I would focus on creating “green house” environments for people to encounter God and grow into Christ-likeness.
– I would use food a lot.
– I would encourage creativity in worship, while still working within the 4-fold pattern and include communion weekly.
– I would model and teach the importance of grace — for salvation, for sanctification, for community, for mission.
Those are all things we did. Here are some things I would do differently:
– I would be more open and transparent as a leader.
– I would compromise less on vision/mission/strategy and more on implementation.
– I would preach less (more team preaching, lay preaching, etc)
– I would focus on partnering with other churches more often.
– I would spend more time on life-on-life discipleship and less on counseling, holding people’s hands or making people feel better about this-and-that ministry issue.
– I would establish good partnerships with great counselors from the get-go.
– I would more clearly teach the difference between Ministry and Mission.
– I would teach even more on the nature and character of Biblical church.
– I would focus on helping people become “self feeders” in terms of spiritual growth and on leadership multiplication.
– I would lead with more confidence and conviction than I have had in the past.
– I would only work 5 days a week… religiously.
– I would be part of a small group in the church (I always was) and a pastor’s small group with other local pastors.
This is just a quick list from my journal as I processed some stuff. Kind of fun to put it down on paper. Would love to hear your thoughts…
(* which I’m not.)