Thursday, March 31, 2011

Lessons From a Church Builder


I don’t know which is more challenging … planting a church or rebuilding an existing church. I follow several different people who are going through the planting process and have learned a lot from them. I have been in three different churches that all needed to “come back” from former glory days. Let’s look at my list of challenges for both. Please note this is not a complete list by any stretch of the imagination.

Planting a Church

  1. Deciding where it is God is calling you to plant
  2. Getting people on board with your plant
  3. Finding a location to rent/purchase for you plant
  4. Raising financial and prayer support for your plant
  5. Selecting the right staff persons for your plant
  6. Beginning the small groups that your plant needs
  7. Marketing your plant to the community and building encouragement/excitement

Rebuilding a Church

  1. Changing the mindset of the people in the church
  2. Working through sacred cows or old traditions of the church
  3. Changing the perception of the church in the community
  4. Changing the perception of the church to the members of the church
  5. Working against or through those who have a stronghold on the church
  6. Getting the churches name out in the community
  7. Fighting through financial and facility limitations
  8. Developing a mission for the church
  9. Motivating the people to get on board with the mission of the church

I think both planting a church and rebuilding a church have their challenges. However both sets of challenges are completely different. Both present problems for the leaders of the church. But, sometimes as someone who is going through the process of rebranding, rebuilding a church, I long to have the problems of a church planter. Don’t get me wrong, the challenges there are monumental, and ones I don’t think fit my skill set, but sometimes they would be welcomed.

In planting a church you get to start from scratch. Scary as that might be, you don’t have to wade through all the issues associated with the traditions and sacred cows. You can develop a mission statement and live by that from day one. You can select a style of worship, and if people don’t like it they don’t have to come. Basically you get to set the direction from the beginning without worry about how change is going to affect the church.

While I sometime long for those things, I know God has blessed me with the patience needed to work through the needs of rebuilding a church. Established churches have a lot to offer the kingdom. They are great places, once focused on reaching those far from God, to mentor people in a relationship with Christ. That is something many church plants cannot offer to new believers, because many of their people are new believers. That can be the beauty of an established church.

My goal of this section on this blog is to communicate my thoughts and feelings to you as we work through this process here at West Side. My goal is to share my highs, my lows, my joys, and my sorrows as we see God move and work through this established church. My prayer is to seek God’s leadership and guidance as we become the church he desires us to be for Lebanon, Ohio.

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