As was sitting in the room at the Preaching and Teaching Conference at Ozark Christian College preparing to talk to students about church planting. The talk that I was about to give was called “Church Planting is for Quitters“. I thought about the weeks and months that lead up to the start of Elevation. I was fortunate to be able to go through all of the faces of people who were and are a part of the team that makes up Elevation. (Faces because I am horrible with names, hit in the head too much.)
When we were preparing to start Elevation in Aurora, CO. I had prayed and fasted that God would bring together a team of people who would see the opportunity to be a part of the vision and mission of church that would, “Engage jacked up people so that they could become followers of Jesus.” It is one of the areas that I carry the most concern for when it comes to church planters. That they are willing to get a group of people to be the team that starts a church in an area. Especially people who are living in that area. That have an invested connection to the place where the church is going to start. We were fortunate to have people be a part of the church planting team, but we were more blessed when we started to see people in the community that saw the vision and mission of church as a need for their community.
I have always heard the business statement, “Get the right people on the bus.” I truly believe that is a great statement. But I believe it is way more important to “Get people on the bus.” Especially as a church planter to get people on the bus from the community that you are starting a church in. I love the verse in 1 Samuel 14:8 where Jonathan and his armor bearer are about to get in the battle:
8 “All right then,” Jonathan told him. “We will cross over and let them see us.
Even though Jonathan was the son of the king and was the one that was leading this charge into enemy territory. He included his armor bearer in that amazing statement. When it comes to church planting and church planters we need to really see the need to quit going alone. We need to continually look at how we can bring others along with us into the battle.
Who are you bringing along with you into the battle?
I don’t know how many times that as a pastor or a pastor to students that I have heard people make this statement:
“God is calling me too, (fill in the blank) and I was hoping that you would pray with me about it.”
Most of the time my answer to them is “NO, I won’t pray with you about it.” Which really usually brings faces of shock and the question of “WHY?” Here is my response to that. “Because if God has called you to do it, then DO IT! Don’t pray about if you should do it. DO IT!” Again when it comes to the area of “Church Planters being Quitters” I believe that is where church planters have seen that God has called them to do something so they have quit waiting to move. I love the verse where Jonathan and his armor bearer have taken a step of faith and are now about to step into the battle. As I read 1 Samuel 14:6 I was able to see the area of church planting and the need to move:
6 “Let’s go across to the outpost of those pagans,” Jonathan said to his armor bearer. “Perhaps the Lord will help us, for nothing can hinder the Lord. He can win a battle whether he has many warriors or only a few!” (Emphasis mine)
The more and more that I read through the bible and the more and more I talk with church planters and church leaders I believe that God has called us to live in the “Perhaps“. We are as followers of Jesus first and foremost to rely on God and see the obstacles more as opportunities to see Him show up and do something amazing.
When we were preparing to launch Elevation Christian Church in Aurora, CO. I kept putting off the date that we were going to launch. I was worried about money, I was worried about people, I was worried about the place, and I was worried if I was ready. It wasn’t until I had the opportunity to have dinner with Pastor Perry Noble. (Twitter is awesome when you are able to find out people are in your area and you beg for dinner.) We were sitting there eating and he began to ask questions about what we were doing then he asked when we were going to launch. The question that I had been dealing with. When I gave him my answer of not being sure he made a statement that rocked me. “If God has called you to do this then do it, if it is God’s will then he will flip the bill.” It was exactly what I needed to hear at that time. To me it was the Jonathan moment where I need to hear that we need to live in the “Perhaps” of following God.
Where are you hearing God call you to move? Is it a life style move, is it a vocational move, or is it a spiritual move?
As I was preparing to speak at the Preaching and Teaching conference and talk about “Church Planting is for Quitters” as was reading through 1st and 2nd Samuel. It was there that I was getting some amazing inspiration for being a church planter and leader from the lives of Saul, Jonathan, and David. So here is why I see that church planters are quitters and not quitting. (To know what I am talking about go read “Church Planting is for Quitters“.)
Church Planting means that you “Quit focusing on the numbers in the church & focus on the numbers outside the church.” In the story of Saul in 1 Samuel I read 13:8 and this came to life for me as a church planter:
8 Saul waited there seven days for Samuel, as Samuel had instructed him earlier, but Samuel still didn’t come. Saul realized that his troops were rapidly slipping away. (my emphasis)
Saul was so focused on his own troops that he was not able to see the great opportunity that was before him for God to do something amazing. That is why I believe that church planters quit focusing on the number in the church and focus on the number of people outside of the church. Phil Claycomb from Nexus shared this formula for what we are to focus on when it comes to the numbers that are important. (By the way I really suck at MATH.)
a – (b x 2c) = d
a = Population of an area, b = number of churches in the area, c = avg. church size (national average has been said to be 76),
d = number of people who are not in the church.
So church planters quit focusing on the number in the church and more on the outside of the church. Here is the statement that I have been hanging on, “Quit to continue and continue to quit.” If we are going to be the church that God has called us to be that is reaching our communities with the radical grace of Jesus we need to quit.
How are you learning to quit focusing on the number of people in the church and focusing those on the outside of the church?
I had the amazing opportunity to spend the beginning of this week at Ozark Christian College for the Preaching and Teaching Conference. I enjoyed being able to talk to mostly college students about church planting and why it is for QUITTERS. Here are the areas that I think church planters are quitters and it is my hope that people who are going to church plant or are thinking about church planting will be a quitter too.
You see the more I look at our communities the church is quitting. There is a difference between being a quitter and quitting. Quitting means that you totally quit all together when it comes to life and all that God has called you to do in your community. That is why the statistics about churches and church planting are so frustrating. Like the following:
- There is not one county in the US were Christianity is increasing.
- 50% of evangelical churches didn’t have one person say Yes to Jesus in the last year.
- 14% of churches are growing at all.
- 2% of churches nationally are growing by conversion growth.
- More churches close each year than bars. (Just learned that from the Bar Makeover Show)
This is what I see as quitting.
But church planters are quitters and here are some of the ares that church planters are QUITTERS:
- Quit focusing on the numbers in the church, focus on the numbers that are outside the church.
- Quit waiting to move, when God calls MOVE.
- Quit going it alone, take people with you.
- Quit listening to other voices other than God.
I am so excited about the church planters that are about to take off and do what God has called them to do. The way that I see it we need to “Quit to continue and continue to Quit.” If we don’t continue to be quitters then eventually we will just be quitting.
Today how are you going to quit?
One of the things that every church planter is told is to know the demographics of their community. I think that is great it gives you an idea of the people that are there if you don’t live in the community. But the problem with that is some people just stop there and that is as far as they get about knowing the community. Like over the last couple of months I have had church planter after church planter let me know that they are going to be planting in certain area of Denver. They look at the demographics and they see money, they see certain people, and they see demographics. But what they don’t see is that this is an area where every school has a church plant already in it. But that is not in the demographics.
We need to know our communities not just DEMO the communities. Unfortunately that is what we are seeing in Colorado as church plant after church plant comes in plants a church. Then disappears after two years and the money runs out. Even the unchurched people in our communities are taking notice of the churches that come and go. I heard two weeks ago from someone in the community, “Why would I get involved in a church start here. They come and go.”
So as I talked with another leader about church planting in Colorado the comment was made that church planters need to come in and get a job. That for the very first six months a church planter they should have a job while they are preparing their prospectus for the church that will be in the community. That the church planter needs to know the community not just read demographics. Maybe if that were to happen we would have more church plants asking about places where it is not cool to start a church. Maybe if that were to happen the church plants that start through out America would be reaching the people that need to be reached with the radical grace of Jesus Christ.
What are some other ways that we can know our community other then just demographics?
Over the last couple of years as we have walked through planting a church in Aurora, CO. I have had to deal with many areas of growth. Developing leaders, doing long range planning, and knowing what to do when to do it. (Still working on that one.) But most of all I have had to deal with my insecurity.
I had a person that I have in my life that is able to speak into those areas of my life and a couple of weeks ago he just said, “Scott you are a very insecure person.” At first it really kind of ticked me off. But the more I have thought about it the more it has really been a freeing moment for me. I am insecure.
I am insecure about:
- my marriage
- my parenting
- my ability
- my leadership
- my . . . .
But the one thing that I gain strength from as the insecure person is my true security coming from my identity in Jesus. I am a follower of the risen Savior Jesus. I am a jacked up, insecure person, that only can live life because of the radical grace of Jesus Christ.
John 1:12 12 But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God.
Sounds simple doesn’t it. Well it is! Every day since that conversation I have woke up with the this statement. “I am a child of the risen and conquering Savior, my life only comes from Him. I am secure because of what he has done, not me!” Take some time to say this statement each day and see what it does for you.
Hi, my name is Scott Bloyer and I am secure with being insecure. Who is with me?
I am so excited to say that we have had an awesome last couple of weeks meeting on Sunday mornings. Over the last 7 months we had been meeting on Monday nights once a month and then eventually twice a month. So to take the step of meeting weekly has been an awesome undertaking as well as amazing opportunity to see God at work. Here are some things that I experienced today:
- We have an amazing team of people that are taking the mission of “Developing relational environments where people can become followers of Jesus” to a Sunday morning.
- Lives are being impacted by the Gospel. We are seeing people come face to face with Jesus in amazing ways.
- The “Sex, Money, Power: A Man Series” GRUNT. Is being used to enable men to see specific areas of life through the Bible and the power of the Holy Spirit. We have been told of miracles in marriages being restored, Fathers seeing the need to lead spiritually in their homes, and hearts being softened to take deep steps in following Jesus.
- That taking care of the custodians in the school we meet at is not an add on but a ministry that is breaking down barriers to the Gospel.
As we finish this series this Sunday on Halloween I am excited to all our families dress up for church and have fun as a team. It will be a great lead into Novembers series “NO PERFECT PEOPLE ALLOWED” I am so pumped to see what happens next.