Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Our "6 Initiatives"

Updates in red

I'm learning a lot these days.

I've been a pastor at Grace now for over  7 years. There is nothing like learning "on-the-job."

My pastors/elders and I have been wrestling the past  5  7 years over what we're really supposed to be doing as a church family. You know what I mean. After reading the Bible, what's the bottom line, fundamental thing we should be doing and doing well. I feel good about where we've landed. And, fortunately, it wasn't a big surprise. 

So I wanted to share with you '6 initiatives' we are moving forward on...together. We continue to be unified in this plan as a church family. I believe God will send people our way to join us in these efforts even as he equips those already with us. Some will join our church. And some will partner with us from the outside. I can't wait to see it unfold!

Our "6 Initiatives" 


1. Create a disciple-making culture in our church.
2. Put more feet on the ground internationally.
3. Develop our process of helping people in crisis become disciple-makers. 
4. Begin planting new churches in the low country (first).
5. Train-up future staff from within.
6. Begin developing a physical campus.

The assumption is that all of this is to be within a context that our purpose in all eternity is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever and that the best way we can do that as a church while still here is to join God in his disciple-making mission.

1. Create a disciple-making culture in our church. That is make disciples who make disciples who make disciples. The expectation is that healthy things not only grow--they multiply. Everyone is called to do this. 

We've spend a lot of time in the last three years teaching and preaching about making disciples who make disciples. This teaching has been essential in demonstrating the biblical foundation of what we're leading our church to do and be.

We did this by teaching through the book Crazy Love, by Francis Chan (2010), Radical, by David Platt (2011), as well as several sermon series around the idea of making disciples who make disciples. 

Our next step was to move from teaching why we should do this to how we can do this. Multiply is our first effort to equip our church to make disciples who make disciples. The free ebook Multiply can be downloaded here. We are currently (2013) going through this 24-week study in our small groups. 

Another key step we're working on is creating a recommended path for people to take that will move them from where they are in their walk with Christ to where He wants them to be. Much of this has been influenced by the Reveal study work. Their latest book, Move, is a great summary of this strategy.

As a part of this, we plan to move forward with the Reveal Survey church-wide.

a. More learning opportunities on Sun. mornings

b. Launching Disciple-Making Groups (DMG) (or Huddle) church-wide (2-5 people) 

I've been leading DMGs now for over 2 years. These have been one on one mostly. Others have tried as well with varying degrees of success. We will continue to equip people to do this and variations of this.

I am considering launching a new group made up of several of my more fruitful one on one relationships so that they get the benefit of the group dynamic. It would be a 12-month commitment with the intention of them starting something when we're done.
c. Launching Missional Communities church-wide (30-50 people) (future churches?)

Our two Goose Creek area Home Groups have been doing some of this organically already. As a result, we're moving forward more formally and making this a pilot group. The Goose Creek Community Group is made up of the Garlick/Avington HG and Hill/Lee/Smith HG. I'm currently the pastor-elder overseeing it. The book Launching Missional Communities by the folks at 3DM will be a key tool in implementing this. However, we'll take principles from a variety of sources to make this our own.

d. Launch experimental worship serve group. 
In practice, I've been doing this since Jan. 2013 as a part of our praise band rehearsal. I've been teaching that it's about more than pulling songs together for a set on Sun. I feel like we're seeing fruit from this already.

2. Put more feet on the ground internationally. This means that sending money to missionaries oversees is no longer enough. We need to be more hands on in how we support our missionaries. 

a. Curacao would continue and expand 
This continues to be our most fruitful effort. We'll go back again for our 6th summer in a row. The Hundleys do a great job leading this.

b. Add Kazakhstan (Palms) Perhaps our next destination

c. Add China (Warrens) 
Another possible next destination

d. Add Egypt (Pastor Georggi & Gieb's) We added a second team here (Gieb's)

3. Develop our process of helping people in crisis become disciple-makers. 
We've made great strides here without even focusing on it. We're learning that helping people in crisis is messy. But when you dive in the fruit is remarkable. We've had 2 people trust Christ this year through this effort while helping them in practical ways. Both got baptized and have become active members in our church.

a. Make sure process leads people to make disciples at home.

b. Explore buying apartment building to transition ppl from Palmetto House to more stable housing situation. Transitional housing is still a huge need in Summerville-N Charleston. We're currently partnering with SHIELD in N. Chas learning how to do this better.

c. End result is people breaking cycle of poverty and attitude of entitlement and becoming disciple-makers and contributors in life.

4. Begin planting new churches in the low country (first). 
This is still on our radar. Our training in the area is through the Cypress Project based at Journey Church, Summerville.

a. Start small churches that are flexible, missional, and less dependent on church buildings.

b. High emphasis on disciple making DNA and engaging ppl who do not see institutional church as a solution to their spiritual questions. (80%+ of ppl today under 30 years old)

5. Train-up future staff from within. The goal is to raise up leaders who already have our DNA and vision firmly in mind. 

Interns are another step we hope to take in 2013-2014.

We strategically hired Ken Dorrity (4/1/2012) to help us implement disciple-making strategies church-wide.

6. Begin developing a physical campus.

a. Create a multiple-purpose building that is able to withstand natural disasters and become a resource to our community when basic necessities become scarce.

b. HQ to our church planting movement.

c. Place to gather for worship, equipping and encouragement.

d. Built with little to no debt.

e. Doesn’t have to be on our property.

* Pastor-Elders