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The 'Heart' of a Church Plant

This morning I had a great time meeting with some guys over coffee at 6 a.m. and studying the book of Titus. We actually ended up only studying the first 6 verses. What I loved about it was the lack of pretense. What I loved was the honest discussion. I sensed that our hearts are on the same page and it felt good.

This morning I've been thinking about what makes me so galvanized that God has called me to stay put. As a church planter who expected it to all be great yesterday I started to ask "Why the confidence right now?"

The reason I'm having a rebirth of confidence right now has to do with the heart of my teammates. These people are 1.)The people I'm both currently doing ministry with and 2.) those whom I see God pulling our way. A third group are those that I'm praying will hear from God and come to Hampton Roads (you know who you are).

I'm more convinced now than ever that great church planting ONLY HAPPENS IN TEAMS UNITED IN ONE HEART!

Count me in as the most anti-parachute church planter on the planet. I'm going to move on before I get started...

It's rare beyond rare to see the story of a solo church planter making it happen and then adding teammates. When I say team I don't mean people with warm blood. I mean true teammates. People who share the cause, the passion and the load from early on. I'm confident right now because I'm seeing teammates.

What sets a teammate apart from a talented person? Heart.

Great teams share a common heart. Usually that heart is rooted in God and His mission, the leader God has placed with them and the desire to see God use them to achieve His plans for that church.

What does a church plant tend to do when that team doesn't exist?

Plants without a true 'team' tend to manufacture what they hope would have come from that unified team. Now, I don't mean just the lights, camera and action (although that is involved). What I mean is that church plants without a heart try to create one using environments, colors, logos and websites. At times this works. Maybe they are in a community where there is a ton of population growth or where a 'modern' church doesn't exist and early on the pizaz draws those with a common heart to the planting Pastor and "The rest is history." But more often times than not you will find mediocrity. The reason? You can't manufacture heart.

The thing that gives me hope is that I see God bringing people around me who share a similar heart. I also see Him removing people who share a different heart. Not that their heart is 'bad' because it's not always that... it's just that their heart doesn't match my heart. I'm asking God to bring about a transformation at Focal Point. I'm asking him to do whatever he has to do to bring a team together with a common heart and an uncommon bond.

How do you know if someone has your heart? Through relationship.
It sucks that it takes a while but it's true. No matter what people 'say' to you, their actions over the long haul will show their heart. Most people come to a church plant because "At least it's not my last church." The problem is before long you WILL be their 'last church'. This is why I believe scripture warns us that we're not to lay hands on leaders in a rush. We are to observe how they handle things... observe their attitude. Observe their heart.

Unfortunately the wave of church planting in circles near me seems to be... different.

Fortunately for us, I'm observing some hearts that God has been uniting with me in ministry and I like what I see. People willing to sacrifice, overcome difficulty, look to lead and seek Jesus in all they do. You need a team of people like this to plant a great church.

This is why I love hearing stories like that of Steve Furtick and his church, Elevation Church in Charlotte, NC who moved to Charlotte with 7 other families. THEY MOVED TOGETHER! They sold homes, changed jobs, picked up their lives and MOVED! What do you think the motivation for the move was? The new church.
What do you think they thought wherever they went in that community? Their new church.

It is upon that DNA that the entire church was built. You know who was attracted to that church early on? People who were turned on by the passion of 7 families who would pack it up and become sellouts to God's call on their lives. What a heart! What a team!

O' that God would continue to bring those people to Focal Point Church.

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Wednesday, July 18, 2007

1 Comments:

At 12:21 AM, Blogger jessi said...

Oh, so true. We are incredibly blessed to have started out (2 years ago this month) with a team of 14 (now still only at about 50, but slowly growing) - but all of those originals are still with us (with the exception of one who died). In the past 2 years we've been through the death of that member, who was my dad, births, spiritual/emotional breakdown of one member while on a short-term mission trip, financial crisis, offenses - and a slew of other things - and are still clinging to a strong sense of community. When the relationships are God-given, there's nothing like it. (Not that we haven't had a few 'bad apples' but God's grace removed them rather quickly and painlessly!)

 

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