DS Letter Heading
We just finished a great CPE (Church Planting Essentials) and CPC (Churches Planting Churches) at our wonderful Windsor Hills Camp! It was a blessed time, and exciting one as well, as we spent time listening to hear God speak to our hearts concerning the principles that were shared, then reflect back to everyone gathered what we sensed God was saying. I love hearing those stories! But these thoughts I share are not about church planting or church revitalization or even missional focus (shocking, I know).
As different colleagues were sharing about those various principles and ideas, while reflecting back the leadings of the Holy Spirit, one phrase stood out that was unanimously shared by all. Let me paraphrase it this way - "I didn't realize that others were struggling/wrestling with some of the same things that I'm struggling/wrestling with!" In the sharing of these challenges, similar yet different in some aspects, there was immediate encouragement, help and hope.
Among the many thoughts that came to my mind, there is one that I want to briefly highlight, and that is the need and joy of connecting together. Many times we become so engaged in ministry, mission, leadership, and the numerous other activities and responsibilities of pastoral ministry that we find it easy to miss or neglect connecting with one another, if for any reason to just connect together. At the risk of "over-spiritualizing," it is absolutely crucial for us to connect together and I believe that the enemy of our souls would love to keep us focused on the busyness of ministry while giving us the "pat on the back" of a sense of worth, at the expense of spending time with one another.
Over the next several weeks, you will have opportunity to connect through district brunches and our annual Pastor & Spouse Renewal. It is absolutely crucial for you to be a part of these gatherings, if only just to connect with each other. See you then! You are deeply loved!
Our D.S. taught me a great one-liner a few months back; Culture eats strategy for breakfast.
If this is true (and my experience tells me it is) then “church planting strategy” has little hope without a “church planting culture.” But --- what constitutes a church planting culture?
Here are some of the things that came to my mind (in no particular order of importance). I’d love to hear your thoughts on what you would add or edit. It is also worth reflecting on how many of these need to be in place before such a culture is established --- 25% - 33% - 50% - more?
Possible Elements of a Church Planting Culture in a Local Church
1 – Praying that God will send out workers from this
2 – Including church planting in the annual church budget. NEMA 100 would be one (but not the only) option for this.
3 – Giving church planters a “fishing license” to your church. (This simply means they are free to recruit people from your church to join their planting team.)
4 – Inviting a church planter to “tell his/her story” in a worship service at least once a year.
5 – Giving a love offering to a church planter at least once a year.
6 – Praying for our district church planters by name.
7 – Sending a car load of guests to a worship service at a church plant just to be there and be supportive.
8 – Buying a planter lunch and just listening.
9 – Sending (paying the bill) a planter to a training event.
10 – Adopting a specific church planter and plant (adopting can be done at several levels including many of the possibilities mentioned in 1-9).
I am not ready to call these the “top ten.” They are simply ideas and, again, I would love to hear yours.
Beginning to do some of these (we can all start with at least one, right?) on a regular basis will begin to move our church to a mind-set/culture that views church planting and church planters as important; even vital, to the advancement of the Kingdom. Wouldn’t you agree that they are?!
Be blessed as you guide your flock to become a church with a culture that highly values and supports church planting.
Chaplains are prepared for the unexpected. We get paged to go at a moment's notice, day and night, 24/7. The wonderful thing is that I have found that God always provides. When we put on the full armor of God, we are able to stand because He is able to make us stand (Ephesians 6). This world has pain, sorrow and death, but I know who holds tomorrow. Faith can help us help those who are in life's difficult challenges. Pray for the NED Chaplains. We are are helping people, most of whom we have never met, face the most difficult times of their lives with God's help.
Thanks for your prayers,
Rev. Sally Miller, District Director