Everyday Churches

3 Reasons Churches Under 200 ARE NOT SMALL!

everyday churches

Typically a church is considered small if it is under 200 in attendance on a Sunday.  I don’t know why, but there is something about the number 200. According to recent statistics somewhere between 65% – 85% of churches in the United States are under 200 in attendance.  There are roughly 300,000 churches in the United States.  That means there are between 195,000 – 255,000 churches with an attendance of 200 or less.  That’s a lot of churches!

It’s almost like those churches aren’t small.  I want to make the argument that churches under 200 aren’t small, they’re typical or normative or EVERYDAY.  Here are three reasons I think Everyday Churches should reject the label of “small”

1) Everyday Churches are doing lots of ministry.

Everyday Churches do worship services, small groups, Sunday School classes, children’s ministry, youth ministry, plant churches, feed the poor, and do thousands of other ministries.  The people of these churches build strong ties to one another.  Everyday Churches minister and serve each other and their communities.  What would happen if suddenly all of the churches under 200 in attendance were gone? Think about that for a second.

2) Everyday Churches are part of the big mission.

The Great Commission wasn’t given to large churches, megachurches, or gigachurches.  The Great Commission was given to disciples of Jesus.  That includes the big churches, but it also includes the Everyday Church too.  They are part of Jesus’ mission in the world.  Everyday Churches develop a complex they they are “less than” because they aren’t big.  The fact of the matter is that they aren’t “less than” because they have the one who is “Greater Than” every name.  We serve the same Lord we have the same mission.

3) Everyday Churches are mighty.

Think about how many people and how much money are potentially represented by Everyday Churches based on US Averages (I realize these numbers aren’t exact and there are factors in statistics that can skew them a bit, but this isn’t a research report, it is a blog post… calm down.)

  • People: Let’s say that 65% of churches are under 200 in attendance, the smallest estimate out there.  65% of 300,000 churches = 195,000 churches.  The average church size is 75.  If you take those stats that means that there are 14,625,000 people who attend Everyday Churches.  That is a lot of people!  Let’s say the averages are skewed by large churches and take away 50%.  That is still 7,312,500 people!  That is a lot of people!
  • Money: According to the National Center for Charitable Statistics (NCCS) the average household gives $1,703 annually to religious organizations.  According to statista the average US Household is 2.53 people (I’ll spare you the, “how do you get .53 person joke”.)  That means the average church has about 29 family units.  Those 29 family units give about $49,000 annually.  $49,000 Annually * 195,000 Churches = $9,555,000,000.  That is a staggering number!  Over $9.5 billion.  Let’s say that number is skewed by large churches and other religious organization and take away 50%.  THAT IS STILL $4,777,500,000 GIVEN INSIDE OF EVERYDAY CHURCHES.

By the numbers Everyday Churches are truly mighty.

Are big churches bad?

Definitely not.  Please don’t hear me saying that big churches are bad or wrong.  I think they are great!  I’m thankful for big churches doing big things in ministry that Everyday Churches can’t do.  I’m just saying that Everyday Churches have their place in ministry and mission AND they are MIGHTY.  Everyday Churches Matter.

 

 

 

These are ideas that I share in my new book Proliferate, A Church Planting Strategy for Everyday Churches.  It is available in both Kindle and Paperback formats at Amazon.

 

 

 

Excited to be on the Battle Cry Revival Podcast on March 27, 2017.  We’ll be talking about my book Proliferate, church planting, and general Life Hacks.  Release date will be posted soon.

Date: March 27, 2017
Time: 4:00 p.m.
Appearance: Battle Cry Revival Podcast
Outlet: Battle Cry Revival
Location: Alvin, TX
Format: Podcast

On April 5th at 3pm I’ll be recording a podcast with Shane Pruitt, SBTC Director of Missions, for Advance Now.  The podcast will be release has yet to be determined.

Advance Now provides Podcasts, Blogs, & News Feeds that are geared towards advancing the Kingdom of God. Provided by the Southern Baptists of Texas Mission’s Department.

Date: April 5, 2017
Time: 3:00 p.m.
Appearance: Advance Now Podcast
Outlet: Advance Now
Location: Grapevine, TX
Format: Podcast

 

On April 5th I’ll be recording a webinar with Joseph Sangl and InJoy Stewardship talking about the principles in my book, Proliferate: A Church Planting Strategy for Everyday Churches.

 

Date: April 5, 2017
Time: 10:00-11:00 a.m.
Appearance: Webinar with Joe Sangl and InJoy Stewardship
Outlet: Injoy Stewardship
Location: Anderson, SC
Format: Vlog

I’ve been invited to be on the Jeremy Roberts Leadership Podcast to talk about my book Proliferate and church planting and multiplication.  The episode will be recorded on March 28th and released at a later time.

Thankful for the opportunity to be on JeremyRoberts.org

Date: March 28, 2017
Time: 10:00 a.m.
Appearance: Podcast with Jeremy Roberts
Outlet: JeremyRoberts.org
Location: Chattanooga, TN
Format: Podcast

Proliferate

A Church Planting Strategy for Everyday Churches

Proliferate

Every Church Can Be A Church Planting Church!

More than 85 percent of churches have under two hundred people in weekly attendance. The tendency is to think these churches are ordinary or everyday–conventional wisdom says that bigger is better and Everyday Churches can have only a limited impact. But when Jesus was teaching people about the Kingdom of God, he didn’t follow conventional wisdom. He compared the Kingdom to a mustard seed–the smallest of seeds, but with the potential to change the landscape. Just like the mustard seed, Everyday Churches are small, but filled with potential. In Proliferate, the reader will:

  • Understand that Everyday Churches can be involved in church planting
  • Build out a vision for their church’s involvement in church multiplication
  • Learn to confront obstacles that stand in the way of church multiplication
  • Create a communication strategy to engage their church

Here’s what some people are saying

According to our church planting research, multiplication begins with a vision for the Kingdom. Contrary to popular opinion, this Kingdom vision doesn’t require you to be mega, rich, or famous. In this book, Jason helps contextualize that Kingdom vision for your church–for everyday churches everywhere. So pick this up and work through it with your team to see God’s Kingdom come and His will be done in your context.

– Daniel Im, coauthor of Planting Missional Churches and director of church multiplication at NewChurches.com

Jason Crandall inspires every day leaders in every day churches to play their unique role in multiplying churches. He planted a church. He’s reproducing churches. Now, he’s showing us how. In Proliferate, you will learn how a smaller church can make an enormous impact from a practitioner, theologian and leader. It’s a good read with a powerful purpose.

– Bruce Wesley, Founding Pastor of Clear Creek Community Church and Founder of the Houston Church Planting Network

If Jason Crandall were a publicly traded company, I would be a major shareholder. In his book, Proliferate, he uses extremely practical stories to explain how everyday churches can make gargantuan impact for God’s Kingdom. This book is practical, timely, winsome, and raw. Consume it. Apply it. Enjoy it.

– Jeremy Roberts, Lead Pastor at Church of the Highlands, Chattanooga, TN and JeremyRoberts.org

 

Pickup a copy of Proliferate on Amazon

 

Proliferate

Die to Multiply

6 Practical Ways for a Church to Sacrifice for Multiplication

multiplication

 

My wife wants to have a little garden and I’m building her planter boxes to help with her gardening desires.  We aren’t sure what to plant, but the seed thoughts have got me thinking about how seeds work.  It brought to mind this verse in John:

Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. (John 12.24)

In context, Jesus is talking about those who would follow him.  They need to come after Him.  They need to die to self.  When they die to self they’ll produce more than they ever dreamed. This is an amazing truth.  However, I think we limit the extent here too much.  I think the principle applies broadly.  When we die to ourselves as churches we can bear much fruit in church multiplication.

Churches can die to themselves by sacrificing in these 6 practical ways:

1) Space

Setup a Church Plant information area.  Maybe you’ve got a bulletin board or an information center.  Use those areas to share information about church plants that your church is supporting or prayer cards for church planters that you are familiar with.

2) Money

Take up a planned, special offering for church plants.  Set aside a percentage of budget for church plants.  This is something that CityView has since its inception.  All the churches we plant also set aside money for churches.  Many of those churches are giving 5% of their tithes and offerings and giving them towards our Collective of churches that exists for gospel-centered church planting in the Houston area.  If you are looking for a place to give church planting dollars to, this is one I personally believe in deeply.

3) Time

Take a week or even just a weekend and go do a short term mission trip with a church plant.  We’ve had some GREAT churches come and help us in our first few years.  They’ve surveyed for us, passed out fliers, put on block parties, held sports and dance day camps, helped with setup and teardown, and a hundred other things.  These teams help us go further faster.

4) Platform

Regularly share stories of church plants from the pulpit.  Bring a church planter in to preach for you.  One church we’ve worked with does a month devoted to church planting (and not a Summer Month, a good one like September).

5) Prayer Time

Regularly pray for church plants in your prayer gathering, groups ministry, or Sunday School classes.  You can contact your denominational or favorite network.  Here’s our network.  Here’s our Collective of churches.

6) People

Encourage the membership of your church to go help a church plant.  Maybe they go for a few weeks to help get a plant off the ground through helping in hospitality or children’s ministry OR maybe you encourage them to join the core team of a church plant.

 

These are ideas that I share in my new book Proliferate, A Church Planting Strategy for Everyday Churches.  It is available in both Kindle and Paperback formats at Amazon.

 

Destination, Road, and Vehicle

3 Part Paradigm to Think Through Church Planting Plan Development

Destination

 

When I push my kids out the door they always have three questions: Where are we going? What’s the route we’re taking? Which car are we taking?  These are the same questions potential core team members will ask when they are considering joining a church plant.  They might not ask it just like that, but they all want to know: where they’re going, how they’re getting there, and what’s the strategy we’re using to get there.

These are three questions that church planters have to be able to answer as they prepare to plant a church.  Potential partner churches want to know, potential core team members are interested, and other church planting agencies require these three things to be in place before they will financially support the planter.

 

1) Vision – Where are we going?

The vision has to be clear.  I like the metaphor of the destination because when I share with my kids that we are going to Grandma’s house they know exactly what that means.  The destination is clear.  Is your vision clear?   So clear that when you say it people understand it?  If you can’t share your vision and explain it in less than 3 minutes then you have some work to do.  If you’ve never thought about vision to this level of clarity I HIGHLY recommend Church Unique by Will Mancini.

 

2) Values – What route are we taking?

If the vision is the destination then the values are the route you’re taking.  This is the way you’re getting there.  Your values are things that matter deeply to you and your church.  This isn’t your statement of beliefs or doctrinal statement.  They should be derived from belief, but this is specific as to how you want to function.  For instance, one of our core values at CityView Church is to love people far from God.  Obviously, this is rooted in the Great Commission and the Great Commandment, but this is how we are choosing to think about it.

I recommend no more than 6 values.  The best number is probably 3 or 4 values.  A good resource on this subject, although it isn’t strictly a Christian book, is The Advantage by Patrick Lencioni.

 

 

3) Strategy – What vehicle are we taking?

If vision is the destination and values are the route, then strategy is the vehicle that you’re taking to get there.  Strategy is the simple way you are planning to accomplish the vision.  Many times these are the core programs you will use to accomplish the vision.  For us it is our weekend worship service, life groups, and dna groups.  These programs make up our discipleship process.  Our strategy operates within the confines of our values and moves us towards our vision.  Church Unique is helpful on this strategy development process as well.

 

 

3 Things you MUST Do Before You Plant A Church

MUST

Our Church, CityView, launched on February 9, 2014.  It was a GREAT day.  140 People gathered to worship God in an elementary school gym. That day was the public beginning of our church, but it was far from the actual beginning.  It didn’t start in September 2013 when we were commissioned by our sending church.  CityView didn’t begin in May 2013 when we announced our plan to go plant the church.  We didn’t start when the first families were recruited.  CityView started in November 2012 when Travis Duke and I prepared spiritually for what God might be calling us to do.  Here’s what we did and what I think every church planter MUST do before they go plant a church.

1) You Must Pray

I am constantly amazed at how prayer is neglected when preparing to plant a church.  Prospective church planters frequently get excited about possibilities of what they might be able to do if they were just unshackled from their current church (note my sarcastic tone) or they just want to get to winning people to Jesus, a truly noble reason to plant or any reason in between. Regardless of what is causing you to want to plant, you MUST spend significant time in prayer.

Travis and I took 6 weeks where we prayed everyday.  I kept a journal and asked mentors, family members and friends to pray for me.  If you are going to plant a church, you need to know that God is calling you to do it.  It really is that simple.  This 6 weeks of prayer has been a significant source of encouragement for me on a mission that is filled with discouraging moments. We share about this story in my book Proliferate: A Church Planting Strategy for Everyday Churches.

2) You Must Meditate on the Gospel

Meditating on the gospel: the person and work of Jesus is essential.  Why are we going to plant a church?  Is it to just be a reaction against the more traditional church we came from? NO!  That is a ridiculous reason to plant a church.  Don’t plant a church from a place of reaction or anger.  Plant a church out of a deep love for the Gospel.  Start a church out of what that Good News says about mankind.  Plant a church for the glory of God.

3) You Must Learn EVERYTHING you can

If you are feeling the call to plant a church you cannot read too much about it.  Devour everything you can.  Read widely within your personal tribe (Southern Baptist, Presbyterian, Assembly of God, Non-Denominational…which is really a denomination, isn’t it?).  Read widely OUTSIDE of your tribe.  Just because you may not like a guy’s theological bent doesn’t mean you can’t glean something from him.  Listen to podcasts, go to conferences, take it all in as you ready yourself for this journey.  I read over 56 books on church planting and listened to countless sermons, podcasts, and trainings before we started formulating our prospectus.  You don’t have to do everything everyone recommends, but you can find bits that help you see what God might be calling you to do.

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Prepare to Launch: 5 Stages of Development for Church Plants before Public Launch

Prepare to Launch

CityView Church, the church I get to lead, just celebrated 3 years from public launch.  We’ve been unbelievably blessed to get off to a great start.  In 3 short years God has done some amazing things.

  • Numerical growth.  We aren’t giant, but we are growing steadily every year.
  • We’ve purchased land.  Not a lot, 5 acres is all, but it’s all we need.
  • We’ve sent three other churches.  We’ve trained three planters and sent them out to start new churches.
  • We are financially self-sufficient.  Our budget isn’t multi-million… or even a million, but we aren’t dependent on outside giving.

We’ve come a long way by God’s grace.  Recently, I was asked to outline the process that we followed before we launched.  Over the next few weeks I’ll address each of these stages in more depth, but here are the 5 Stages of Development.

 

1) Meditation on the Gospel and Prayer

One of the biggest problems that I’ve seen in church planting is that guys get frustrated with their church and go out and plant the opposite of their church.  The problem is that this is the wrong motivation.

Can God use wrong motivations? Yes!

Is that the most God glorifying way to do it? No!

Frustration can be an indicator that it might be time to move on or seek a healthier church environment, but it isn’t a reason to start a new church.  The desire to start a new church has to be founded in the gospel.  It has to be firmly founded in the desire to make and multiply disciples.  Meditate on the gospel.  Read through Acts.  Pray.  For more check out this post.

2) Vision and Plan Development

Spend some time praying about a vision.  Think about where God might lead you.  If you are looking for a book to help with this, I suggest Church Unique by Will Mancini.  This is the best book on vision development for a church that I have ever seen.  It is hard work, but it is worth it.

3) Fundraising

There is no getting around it.  Fundraising is important for church planting.  God’s mission happens through the generosity of God’s people.  Don’t be afraid to ask.  I will be writing extensively on this area.  If you have any specific questions please put them in the comments below.  I’ll work to help answer all of those questions.

4) Core Group Gathering

You’ve got to gather a group to follow and be part of what God is doing.  Seek out people who want to see God do something, people who love the gospel.

5) Core Group Development

Take this ever growing group and develop them.  Teach them the vision and values of the church.  Tie everything to the gospel.  Develop and disciple people.

 

 

What questions do you have about church plant development before launch?  Are you a planter?  What questions do you have about the development of a church plant?