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Seeing is Believing

When a church plant gets going it is often led by a Pastor who has a few things going for him. There is a more thorough list but I'm speaking to a few basic things every planter must have but sometimes many laypeople do not have...

1. A call from God- Church planting is the Navy Seals of ministry as far as I'm concerned. If you get involved without God directing you to do it, you're stupid. Hopefully the call is real, secure and confirmed by others.

2. An understanding of the culture- If a planter is about to drop into an area or even start in his current location he should be able to articulate the vibe of the area. There should be a segment of the population he sees without a room in God's home.

3. A vision of a preferred future- The planter will have an idea of how to minister effectively to the population. A preferred future exists on the eyelids of that planter. Every time he closes his eyes he envisions a fully functional church reaching hundreds or thousands. Each time he drives by a vacant building he goes through a mental checklist. "Is there enough parking?" "How many could be seated?" "What would it take to convert that space?" He unconsciously places his call and vision on every available piece of property.

Then there are the laypeople.

If you don't watch it you will gather a group of laypeople who have no clue of a compelling call from God, a thoughtful exposition of their culture or a vision that lines up with the planting Pastor.

What are some ways to help adjust laypeople from simply being willing participants to active co-laborers?

1. Paint a detailed picture- Continue to rehash the vision. Remember to keep it simple enough so they can repeat but have complimentary material detailed enough that they can chew on.

2. Speak to the importance of alignment-
If one wheel of your car is out of alignment it will ruin the entire car.

3. Bring the future to them- Use pictures, video, websites and printed materials of other churches to give your prospectives a sense of the influences on your life. Many planters mistakenly believe they have to somehow keep a veil between what they know and what their people know. Expose your people the best you can early and often.

4. Bring them to the future- As you paint this picture of a preferred future some people will ask questions, others will realize that they didn't have a clear picture and will want out. There will be a majority however who will want to keep pushing forward. The next phase will be to immerse them into the culture of some church plants and established churches that have a 'feel' similar to yours. I still think my friend Tadd Grandstaff did the best prep-job in this regard of any plant I know. Tadd took his team to well over a dozen churches and even several church planting conferences.

5. Create the future together- As the church planter you can now take a group of people (who are starting to share the vision) and work WITH them to create the preferred future you have envisioned for months or years. As you together create this new vibe it will be a vibe that has buy-in. You would have created a culture together.

At the end of the day Seeing IS Believing. I've seen many church planters get frustrated because the proverbial "They" "Don't get IT".

I think the right question is "Do I get it?"

Do I (as the planter) "Get" the fact that people cannot duplicate what they have never been exposed to?

Seeing IS Believing. Let your people 'see' the vision before they are asked to create the vision.

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Thursday, August 07, 2008


At 12:07 PM, Blogger Craig said...

Tally - I'm becoming convinced the launch/core team needs the same sense of calling the lead planter has. That probably ought to be demonstrated by some significant sacrifice to participate - like moving half way across the country - its the only hope you have of it not being about them.

At 12:17 PM, Blogger Tally Wilgis said...

I completely agree with you. In October of 2005 I wrote about some mistakes I felt we made out of the gate. (right menu bar of the blog) One of those was that I said "I would have made it more difficult to start with us."

The difficulty has to do with your point... the core team needs to have the same sense of calling and you're right... we have to ask how that is demonstrated.

Many times planters are desperate to show progress or to get help or cash so they compromise who they invite into that inner circle. Many of the best plants seem to have not one but several people who have made the mission of the church their number one focus.
Great point Craig.


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