The Star Wars Nerd

Ok, so this will confirm what some of you already know and others of you may have only suspected. As you can see in my profile, I clearly identify myself as a Star Wars Geek.

How much do I love Star Wars? So much that I waited in line on Hollywood Blvd. for weeks before the release of each prequel to see the movies at the Chinese Theater in Hollywood--in 1999, 2002, and 2005 (hard to believe it's been almost 2 years since Ep. 3!). For good or for bad, doing nerdy stuff like that in public draws media attention.

During the Episode 3 line, Jimmy Kimmel stopped by. I found this video on YouTube today. Hard to believe I got to be a nerd on national TV....


Launch Conference, Part 9: Evangelism

Yikes! It's been almost a week since my last post! To be honest, it has something with my Lent commitment this year, but I'll tell you more about that in a separate post.

For now, here is (at long last) the next section of my notes from The Launch Conference. This section is called Evangelism: Reaching People from Scratch. Here goes....

"Your target is not your market." --Jack Trout and Al Reis, The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing
  • The only way to reach your market is to focus on your target.
  • My target determines my marketing.

Key Question: Who am I trying to reach?

My Target Determines My:
  • Marketing - make sure publicity is appropriate to your target
  • Music - the music you choose is the #1 defining characteristic of your church
  • First Service - where you meet, for example
  • Comeback Events
  • Entire Church

Four Questions to Focus my Evangelism Efforts
  1. Who are the key population groups living in my area?
  2. What population group is not being reached effectively?
  3. What population group do I best relate to? (keep in mind that just because you have a heart for someone doesn't mean you can relate to them)
  4. What is my unique "Sweet Spot"? (the intersection of those first three questions)

Three Evangelism Truths
  1. People are more open to the gospel when they are in trouble.
  2. People are more open to the gospel when they are in transition.
  3. People are more open to the gospel when they are under tension.
Regarding "transition":
  • Moving, marriage, having kids, loss of a loved one, loss of a relationship, loss of a dream
  • What transitions are people experiencing in your area?

Five Ideas for Reaching People
  1. Direct Marketing
  2. Mission Teams (teams from other churches; e.g., to hang door hangers, to "prayer walk" or "prayer drive" an area)
  3. Servant Evangelism (showing God's love in a practical way to the people in your city; e.g., handing out water, granola bars, etc. with invite cards)
  4. Events (non-threatening, easy to enter events; atmosphere of Christian hospitality)
  5. People Inviting People


Snowboarding Blues...

Sometimes I feel like I'm starting to get old. I just got back from our annual high school ski trip to Hidden Valley in Pennsylvania. And I am pooped!! I didn't used to get as tired on these things--but now I do....

But it was definitely a great time! And while I don't want to boast, I must admit that my snowboarding skills increased significantly!! Evidence: 1) I can now get off the ski lift without falling every time, and 2) I can ride down fast and straight without having to carve back and forth (I even outran a couple of buddies who were pursuing me with snowballs!).

Anyway, a great weekend! And a great time hanging out with our high schoolers, too!

I was planning to post something of substance tonight, but I think that'll have to wait till later...

(BTW... No, that pictures is not of me. Neither is it anyone I know...)


More Thoughts on "Magnolia"

It's been a long time since I've seen a movie that has not only forced me to reflect on it, but which has made me really enjoy reflecting on it. Magnolia did just that for me.

To be totally honest, I didn't sit down and intentionally think about this movie, but I did keep coming back to the movie repeatedly over the course of the day. Yesterday I mentioned that the movie is about "speaking the truth, listening, not judging--and things happening for a reason." That's true, but the real focus of the movie is on that last part. Things happen for a reason. Stuff happens that may seem like coincidence, but can't simply be coincidence.

This is what the narrator says at the end of the movie (he also says something very similar in the beginning):

There are stories of coincidence and chance, and intersections and strange things told, and which is which and who only knows? And we generally say, "Well, if that was in a movie, I wouldn't believe it." Someone's so-and-so met someone else's so-and-so and so on. And it is in the humble opinion of this narrator that strange things happen all the time.

Magnolia follows about five different story lines, all of which the viewer eventually discovers are related to one another in some way, and which reach their climax at the same time.

As each story reaches its climax, something amazing happens. Something incredible. Something that is literally of biblical proportions.

I couldn't figure out why this thing happened in the movie. It didn't make sense. Until I had my "Aha!" moment in the middle of the day today. What happens is, I believe, intended to tell the audience, "God is involved in this."

I'm not gonna tell you what happens because it's such a seemingly nonsensical and almost silly surprise! But I'll tell you this. There's a game show scene where an audience member is holding up a sign with a Bible verse. Read that verse, and it'll give you a clue.

Anyway, it's a great movie! Check it out sometime.


Real quick.

Just saw a great movie called Magnolia. Can't remember exactly when or where it was recommended to me, but let me recommend it to you.

It's a movie about speaking the truth, listening, not judging--and things happening for a reason. Stylewise, I'd compare it to Crash, with a little more humor. Also has some pretty intentional biblical/theological stuff going on.

It's one of those movies that deserves a lot more thought than I've given it so far (just finished watching 10 minutes ago). But I wanted to say something about this movie before I let it slip away...


Launch Conference, Part 8: Gathering a Launch Team from Scratch

Finally... the next section of my Launch Conference notes. This section is called Gathering a Launch Team from Scratch.

Launch Team vs. Core Group

Launch Team: A team of committed individuals who will assist you in preparing for and executing an effective launch. This is a team of people currently living in the area where your new church will meet--a team that you will build from scratch. The launch team is in existence only through the first weekly service.

The purpose of a Launch Team is simple and has a clear end. It is:
To Launch this New Church

Launch Team: A time-bound team
Core Group: An open-ended team

Launch Team: Meets to plan the launch
Core Group: Meets for spiritual growth

Launch Team: Involves anyone who is willing
Core Group: Involves only the spiritually mature

Launch Team: Is engaged to accomplish a task (a work team; a get-it-done team)
Core Group: Is engaged to encourage and support

Launch Team: Focuses on those outside the church
Core Group: Focuses on those in the group

Launch Team: Ends with an outward focus
Core Group: Ends with an inward focus

  • The word "core" implies a commitment that really doesn't exist when it comes to a church plant. Often times, the members of a core team will leave the church plant to go back to their church of origin.
  • Have a specific timeline and end-date for every volunteer position.

Five Launch Team Truths
  1. For the first monthly service, you are the Launch Team.
  2. Grow your Launch Team with each Monthly Service.
  3. Give each Launch Team member specific assignments and hold them accountable (don't let someone from another church do something that a local church attender could do).
  4. Thank and disband the Launch Team on the day after the Launch.
  5. Recruit Launch Team members as ongoing volunteers. (for 4-6 months; always give a timeline).

Three Launch Team Temptations
  1. Temptation #1: Change the Launch schedule (never change the launch date if you heard it from God)
  2. Temptation #2: Give my Launch Team too much control
  3. Temptation #3: Merge with another church

Key Guidelines for a Healthy Launch
  • Don't do a membership class until after your Launch (at least 3-6 months after launch; you don't know till later what you're actually asking people to join).
  • Do everything possible to keep your Launch Team outwardly focused (if you think you are doing enough, you're not).
  • Don't vote. You are the leader. Lead.
  • Remember that your Launch Team is a time-limited, single-focus team.
  • The Launch Team will force you to learn how to manage teams. Keep those lessons with you. Everything about church involves managing teams of people.
  • Preparing a Launch Team to maximize your first service is first and foremost a spiritual enterprise. Pray and fast--a lot!

"It is like a person who builds a house on a strong foundation laid upon the underlying rock. When floodwaters rise and break against the house, it stands firm because it is well built." --Luke 6:48

Article on Mainline Emergent/s Conference

Adam Walker Cleaveland at Presbymergent just posted a link to an article in The Presbyterian Outlook about the Mainline Emergent/s Conference. Just FYI, it sounds like the conference involved more than just Presbyterians, but since the Outlook is a Presbyterian publication, it tends to focus on how Presbyterians responded to the conference. Anyway, the article is posted here as a pdf.


Launch Conference, Part 7D: Planning My First Service From Scratch

Here's the last part of the section called Planning My First Service From Scratch:

6. Risk it all on the Launch.

Your launch day should be promoted during each of your monthly services, on your website, and in every conversation with people that you have--it's the goal so promote it to the max.
  • Spend 50% of your marketing money on monthly services and the other 50% on the Launch.
  • If you have very little marketing money, you might want to save almost all of it for the Launch.

Launch Lessons from Starting Churches from Scratch
  • Have your people commit to inviting their friends.
  • Launch with a new teaching series that hits a high felt-need of your target.
  • Promote the next week and challenge people to come back.
  • Challenge new people to tell their friends about the church.
  • Don't use an outside band or teacher for the Launch service.
  • Ask those who have attended the monthly services to serve at the Launch.
  • Collect contact information on everyone who attends.
  • Count how many attend and distinguish between in town and out of town attendees (don't deceive yourself--count only local attenders who might potentially be/become regular attenders).
  • Serve refreshments.
  • Set up your room so that it feels full (rooms feel full at 70% capacity).
  • Keep the service to one hour.
  • Receive an offering.
  • Meet as many people as possible at your launch.
  • Don't do a greeting line; it's weird to unchurched people. Be somewhere, mill around, and meet people.
  • Thank all your volunteers.
  • Be ready for the Sunday after your Launch!

Launch Day Do's and Don'ts

  • Do: Serve fresh Krispy Kremes
  • Don't: Serve day-old, store-bought anything
  • Do: Offer sweet, salty, and healthy foods
  • Don't: Offer small portions
  • Do: Offer name brand drinks
  • Don't: Offer Sam's Choice
  • Do: Offer water
  • Don't: Have a sign pointing to the fountain
  • Do: Put smiling people out to serve
  • Don't: Let your team eat all the food
  • Do: Provide foot for your set-up teams
  • Don't: Tell anyone he or she can only have one of anything
  • Do: Provide more than enough food
  • Don't: Comment when people take seconds or thirds

"Spectacular achievements come from unspectacular preparation." --NFL quarterback Roger Staubach


Presbymergent or Presbymerging?

I just posted a brief article on Presbymergent titled, "Presbymergent or Presbymerging?" Check it out here if you're interested.

Launch Conference, Part 7C: Planning My First Service From Scratch

Ok, time to get back to my purpose-driven, seeker-sensitive Launch Conference notes! Heh heh... Sorry, couldn't help it!

As it turns out this section is gonna be in four parts, not three. So here goes...

5. Promote Each Service with Greater Intensity

The Four D's of Promotion:

1. Design
  • Get professional help (Note: Match the design to your area and who you are trying to reach!)
Design Lessons Learned the Hard Way:
  1. Make the promotion match your city (Use skylines, meadows, beach scenes--whatever characterizes your city best. Every city has a story; try to match that story to your design/logo).
  2. Choose images that are attractive to your target (In general, target your marketing to men, using colors and images that attract men. Men are harder to get to church, but if you can get the man, you can usually get the whole family.)
  3. Be sure that text makes up less than 50% of your layout--period.
  4. Be clear that you are a church.
  5. State exactly what you want people to do (e.g., "Join us on [date]").
  6. Put your name, website, meeting times and location in a prominent place.
  7. Use full color. It's only a bit more expensive and worth it!

2. Direct Mail
  • Find one of the largest printers/mail houses in your area and ask them for advice.
  • Is there another church doing direct mail? Be careful that your church doesn't get confused with that church.
  • Read The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing.

3. Display Advertising and Media

  • Press releases
  • Event-oriented newspapers (Creative Loafing, What's Happening, and so on)
  • The top radio morning shows (according to your target group)
  • Sports radio or the sports section of the newspaper
  • Local trade journals read by your target
  • Cable advertising on ESPN, CNN, FNC, and others

4. Direct Delivery

Direct delivery is the highest-risk, highest-return option in advertising. Direct delivery includes everything from personal invites to servant evangelism, or any other type of face-to-face church promotion. It's high risk in that it requires person-to-person contact. If you are trying to make thousands of direct contacts, it will require the involvement of a lot people. However, it's high return in that a personal invitation, delivered by a live person, is the most effectve way of encouraging someone to attend your church.
  • Nothing beats direct delivers, but it's slow.
  • It's important to complement direct delivery with direct mail and display advertising/media.
How to Maximize Direct Delivery:
  • Invite everyone you meet!
  • Ask everyone you know--especially your launch team--to promote your church.
  • Join with mission teams or other outside people to help get the word out.
Which One is right for Me?
  • Direct Mail: low risk, low return
  • Display advertising/media: medium risk, medium return
  • Direct delivery: high risk, high return

Billy Graham on Bourbon Street?

I got a forwarded e-mail today with the inspiring story that Billy Graham recently led 16,000 people at the New Orleans Crusade on a one-mile walk from the Superdome to Bourbon Street. When they arrived at Bourbon Street, people who were at the Crusade supposedly started sharing the gospel with partiers and other onlookers.

Great story! Sadly, it's a hoax. Check out this messageboard thread to read the "article" that's making its way around the cyberverse, as well as an official response to this story from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association itself.


Seeker Church vs. Emerging Church

Kyle posted some comments/questions about my Launch Conference notes that I think deserve being addressed.

First of all, I need to confess that I definitely don't have all the answers. I never have and I don't think I ever will.

I'm drawn to the postmodern/emerging/incarnational approach to ministry. And I wish I could say I was 100% there because I think that this movement really is meeting the needs of people in my generation.

At the same time, I've begun to discover that there's still value in some of the older approaches to ministry (funny--by older, I mean 25 years...). There are millions of people in this country who would get a little freaked out by the idea of becoming part of an "intentional community." I, personally, understand the value of that kind of community, but for many people when someone says "Community," what they hear is "Commune."

Anyway, I say this because over the last year or so I've realized that it's not that "seeker" is "out" and "emerging" is "in." Both are "in," depending on the context and the culture that a particular church is trying to reach. Heck, even old-school, mainline, traditional is "in" for some people.

So, let me address Kyle's comments/questions:

1. Yes, the Launch Conference definitely came from a "purpose-driven, seeker-attractive" perspective. In fact, Nelson Searcy was open about the fact that he used to work at Saddleback with Rick Warren and continues to use the purpose-driven aproach with The Journey Church.

2. I, personally, am not planning on planting a church in Northern Kentucky. I am considering planting a church in another metropolitan area in another part of the country. But that's still up in the air. I'm also in talks with an established church. I had three reasons for attending the conference: 1) Learn about church-planting (in case that's what I do), 2) learn some things that will hopefully be transferable to an established church situation (in case that's what I do), and 3) get some clarity on whether or not I'm called to church-planting (which I'm still wrestling with).

3. It's true that there will probably be a different kind of spirituality in a "seeker" type of church than in an "intentional community" kind of church. But I think one of the reasons is because of the people that each type of church attracts. Regardless of what you believe, "intentional community" kinds of churches attract a certain kind of person. Likewise, "seeker" kinds of churches attract a different kind of person. And regarding a "core" vs. a "launch team," one of my upcoming posts will explain why they suggest going with a launch team rather than a core.

Like I said, I'm still on a journey. I'm still trying to figure things out. And I think that's why I still like the word "stretchychurch." The church fits all kinds--emerging, seeker, traditional, mainline, protestant, Catholic, conservative, liberal, fundamentalist, evangelical, etc., etc., etc.

The question isn't, "Are they doing it right?" The question is, "Are they helping people become followers of Jesus?"


Indiana Jones 4!!

Exciting news! I just read on Scifiwire that the fourth Indiana Jones movie is set open on May 22, 2008! Woohoo!!!

Set to direct--Steven Spielberg!! I can't wait!

Launch Conference, Part 7B: Planning My First Service From Scratch

Ok, here's the second part of Planning My First Service From Scratch.

3. Secure my Meeting Location.
  • Hotel ballrooms (various sizes)
  • Movie theaters (various sizes)
  • Comedy clubs (approximately 150 seats)
  • Public school auditoriums
  • Performing arts theaters
  • Available church meeting spaces
  • College auditoriums
  • Corporate conference space
Four Space Lessons Learned the Hard Way:
  1. As much as possible, match your space to your target audience. (You wouldn't want the people of a rural, farming community meeting in a downtown art gallery.)
  2. Make sure your space is easily accessible to your target audience. (You don't want downtown businesspeople traveling to the countryside--or anywhere else not easily accessed by public transportation.)
  3. Make sure your space has a reasonable number of seats.
  4. Don't sign a long-term lease.

4. Plan Comeback Events between my Monthly Services.

  • "Comeback Events" are those events you schedule between your monthly services to invite those who attended a service to come back for a non-threatening, fellowship-based event.
  • Continue to cast the vision of the new church at Comeback Events.
Examples of Comeback Events:
  • BBQ at the pastor's house
  • Picnic in the park
  • City events
  • Dinner in the back room of a restaurant
  • Ice skating
  • Swimming


The Egocentric Pastor

[Quick break from my Launch Conference notes...]

Pastors are prone to letting their ego get the best of them. Maybe I shouldn't generalize. Maybe I should say, "I am prone to letting my ego get the best of me." (Hence my picture with this post...)

But I do think that what is true of me is also true of many other pastors. I mean, who doesn't love to hear someone say, "Oh, pastor, that sermon was awesome!"

I love to hear that! I mean I love to hear that!!

Someone said that to me this weekend (I'm letting you know because it boosts my ego...) and it made me think to myself, "Markus... You da man!!!" And then I thought to myself, "Gosh... God sure is lucky to have a servant like me!"

Bad Markus.

So here's why I'm thinking about this. I followed some links on another blog that led me to the website of Fellowship Church in Grapevine, Texas. Now, I don't the know the pastor of this church personally, so please don't hear what I'm about to say as a personal attack. I'm sure that Ed Young loves Jesus and wants nothing more than to see people come to know Him and have their lives and the world transformed by the power of Jesus in people's lives.

But as I explored their website, this is what rubbed me the wrong way:
  1. One of the main menu headings was titled, "About Ed Young." The subheadings are "Bio," "Conferences," "Resources," and "Television." (Did you notice all the pictures if you clicked those links?) What bugs me is that a church should never be about the pastor. The church should be about the people. Sure, you can have a short bio somewhere on the staff page, but...put it on the staff page! Put it with all the other staff members who share equally in the church's ministry, even if they're not up in front of the congregation each week.
  2. Last night they had a promo video for the new sermon series (it's not there anymore). They don't tell you what the sermon series is called, they've just got a big smiley face. It's probably about joy or happiness or something. The video was excellent. I mean the quality of the video was like something you'd see on broadcast TV. But it was just sort of over-the-top. It involved Ed Young interacting with a giant smiley face. Again, just way too much focus on the pastor.
  3. I followed some links to Ed Young Ministries. I know that there are a lot of ministries out there named for the person who started them--but I just think there's something wrong with that (even Charles E. Fuller didn't want Fuller Seminary named after himself, so the board named the school after his father, Charles H. Fuller). I could probably see Paul in the New Testament starting a ministry organization--it just strikes me as something he might do if it meant he could reach more people with the Gospel. But I can't see him calling it "Apostle Paul Ministries." If anything, I think he'd probably call it something like "Worst of Sinners Ministries."
Here's the thing. I love big churches! I love the energy of a big church. I love the resources for ministry at a big church. I love the fact that big churches are usually big because they're reaching people who don't know Christ. My happiest and most exciting time in ministry was when I was on staff at a big church.

But I also think it can be dangerous for pastors of big churches. I think they can start believing that they're more special to God than other people.

And I have to be honest. I really hope that wherever God leads me next--if it's not already a big church--I hope that I can be a part of helping it become a big church. I hope that people who didn't know Jesus become followers of Jesus and grow into faithful disciples of Jesus. And I hope that they begin to reach their friends and bring them to church where they, too, will encounter Christ.

But I hope and pray the God keeps me humble. And maybe... maybe that means that our church will never become a "megachurch." Maybe I'll never get a book published. Maybe I'll never be interviewed on some widely-read blog.

Maybe I'll just be Markus the Pastor. And maybe that's ok...


Launch Conference, Part 7A: Planning My First Service From Scratch

This next section from the Launch Conference is called Planning My First Service From Scratch. It's actually a pretty long section, so I'm gonna break it up into three parts. This will (naturally) be the first part.

1. Determine my Launch Date!
  • Your launch date is the most important decision you will make after you nail down your calling.
  • Once you pick a date, stick to it!
Top 3 Best Launch Dates (#1 is best)
#3 - Easter
#2 - Fall: Just after school starts
#1 - February

Why is February the best time to launch you first service?
  • You get a second "bump" in attendance with Easter 2 months later
  • There's plenty of time for growth to happen before summer (when attendance tends to drop)
  • People are still willing to do something new with the start of the New Year
Top 3 Worst Launch Dates (#1 is worst)
#3 - Christmas (most attenders are visiting family in the area; they won't be repeat attenders)
#2 - Tie: Superbowl Sunday, July 4th, Labor Day, or any other national holiday
#1 - Any time other than Sunday morning

2. Plan 3-6 Monthly Services prior to your Launch.
  • Monthly services are stepping stones to your Launch.
  • Do a minimum of 3 monthly services, a maximum of 6.
The Power of Monthly Services:
  • Attract a Launch Team
  • Build momentum
  • Give you practice and allow you to improve your skills
  • Give you a chance to grow
  • Provide more time for follow-up
  • Enable more efficient use of initial resources
  • Lower your stress level
  • Make your launch day less intimidating
  • Build greater awareness of the church
  • Build excitement within the church
  • Help you stick to your Launch date
  • Allow you to test your meeting location
  • Allow you to test a worship leader
  • Build your database of future weekly attendees
Monthly Service Do's and Don'ts

  • Teach a message series
  • Talk about your future weekly services
  • Receive an offering (unchurched people aren't offended by receiving an offering)
  • Collect contact information (send handwritten notes to everyone who visits)
  • Hold at least three monthly services
  • Only talk about the future vision
  • Tell them you are "practicing"
  • Ask them to join (wait till after your launch)
  • Hesitate to evaluate and improve
  • Do more than six preview services
BUT: How do I staff my monthly services?
  • First monthly service will be you, the worship leader, and possibly your spouse and/or a friend.
  • After the first monthly service, get volunteers from those who attended that service to staff your next service.


Launch Conference, Part 6: Building a Staff from Scratch

After talking about funding, Searcy and Thomas discussed Staffing: Building a Staff from Scratch.

The first thing they shared was a quote from John Maxwell, which they claimed was the “Greatest Leadership Secret” (and I agree that this is critical): “Those closest to the leader will determine the success level of that leader.”

And then they moved on to discuss Three Tenants (sic) for Staffing a New Church (I think they meant “Tenets,” not “Tenants”):

1. Determine my first year staff
  • Lead pastor
  • Worship leader
  • The worship leader ought to be a flexible, teachable, moldable person
  • Someone who believes in the vision of the church
  • Who else do I need to staff Sunday Services?
  • Volunteers or paid (children’s staff, ushers, greeters, etc.)
  • God will send the people you need to staff your services

2. Decide how I will make payroll
  • Staff can raise some or all of their own funds to support themselves financially.
  • It’s not a bad idea to pay someone $50 per week to help with certain tasks. This can help develop more leaders in the church.
  • But never pay someone to do something that a volunteer could do.

3. Don’t be afraid of the “Big Ask”
  • That is, don’t be afraid to ask people for big commitments or to take on big tasks. All they can do is say no.

Following these three “tenants,” they gave us 10 Staffing Lessons Learned the Hard Way:

  1. You’ll never have enough money up-front to hire staff.
  2. Hiring staff precedes growth, not vice versa.
  3. Hire slow, fire fast. One bad apple spoils the bunch. (It’s normal to have high staff turnover early on in the church start)
  4. Hire from within whenever possible.
  5. Hiring and firing is ultimately the responsibility of the lead pastor.
  6. Hire part-time before full-time.
  7. Never hire staff when you can find a volunteer.
  8. The role of staff is to find additional volunteers.
  9. Hold weekly staff meetings.
    • Including volunteer staff.
    • You have to meet with your staff in order to lead your staff.
  10. Clarity and accountability are the keys to an effective staff.
Coming up next: Planning My First Service From Scratch.


Launch Conference, Part 5: Raising Funds to Launch a Church

One of the biggest challenges of a new church is money!! So it was great that they included a section on raising funds. They opened with a few quotes:
  • “Money isn’t everything, but it is right up there with oxygen.” --Zig Ziglar
  • “If God is for us, who can ever be against us? Since God did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t God, who gave us Christ, also give us everything else?” --Romans 8:31-32
  • “God’s work done God’s way will never lack God’s provision.” --Hudson Taylor

Then they talked about Four Steps to Raising Funds. The only thing that really confused me is that they actually had five steps, not four. Oh, well…a freebie, I guess.

Step 1: Create a budget
  • What will the cost of living in this community be?
  • What will my salary be? How about salaries for additional staff? (see www.churchstaffing.com--it’s got a pastors’ compensation handbook)
  • How much will it cost to rent space for the church to meet in?
  • How much will it cost to operate a business in this city (office rent, phones, computer equipment, copy equipment, and so on)?
  • The Chamber of Commerce is a great resource for leads on equipment, office space, etc.
  • Move to an office after the 2nd or 3rd monthly service. It will cause less conflict with your family life.
  • Don’t sign a long-term lease.
  • Buy equipment that’s just a little bigger/better than you need. That way it can grow with you as the church grows.
  • There are basically 2 budgets to keep track of: 1) Pre-launch, 2) Post-launch annual budget.

Step 2: Prepare my presentation

Focus on:
  • My leadership
  • My compelling story
  • My strategy
  • My plan for self-sufficiency

Step 3: Seek funding

Possible sources of funding:
  • Option 1: Personal savings
  • Option 2: Bi-vocational ministry
  • Option 3: Your spouse (i.e., if you spouse earns enough to support your family)
  • Option 4: Your launch team
  • Option 5: Outside funders (individuals and churches)

A Key Question: Who has a heart for my area?

Step 4: Develop a plan for regular communication
  • Share prayer requests
  • Seek mentoring
  • Make additional requests
  • Invite mission team
  • Share results and God-stories

Step 5: Plan an annual partners’ meeting
  • Host the meeting at your location
  • Invite current and future partners
  • Invite spouses
  • Make the meeting fun
  • Ask for the Big Commitment

“And since we are his children, we will share his treasures—for everything God gives to his Son, Christ, is ours, too.” --Romans 8:17

Presbyterian + Emergent = Presbymergent -- Is it possible?!

Just found a new website as I was browsing Kairos Blog called Presbymergent. It's a website for Presbyterians who are or who want to be part of the emergent conversation.

A couple of cool things I've discovered about the site so far:
  • The site went live on January 26, 2007--that's less than a week ago!--and they've already got all kinds of traffic.
  • Anyone who registers is automatically set up as a contributor. That means that anyone can post an article (once it's approved by the administrator, of course).
  • They are currently covering some of the seminars and sessions from the Mainline Emergent/s conference.
Anyway, give 'em a look-see and see what you think--especially if you're a presbymergent!