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.

For more content like this, subscribe to our mailing list:

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?

 

 

 

Goals Need to be RELEVANT

Tips to help make your goals relevant

Relevant

You may want to watch every new movie on Netflix, but unless you are a internet TV blogger it isn’t relevant to your personal growth.  Your goals need to be relevant to who you want to be over a lifetime.

You need to have goals that are relevant to your station in life and your own growth. When you write a goal it needs to be relevant to some greater purpose that you have. It has to have meaning behind it.  The goal needs to hold meaning for you.  When a goal is relevant then you have motivation to keep pushing towards it when the excitement has worn off.  I love this quote by Viktor Frankl

“Those who have a ‘why’ can bear with almost any ‘how’.

Tips to help you clarify

  • Where do you want to be in 10 years? 5 years? 3 years?  Does the goal help you get there?
  • Why is this goal important to you?   Should it be?
  • What are the benefits of this goal for your long term growth and development.

 

Click on one of the S.M.A.R.T.E.S.T. Goals elements below to jump to a more specific description of that area.  Click here to get an overview of the S.M.A.R.T.E.S.T. Goals system.

SPECIFIC
MEASURABLE
ACHIEVABLE
RELEVANT
TIME BOUND
EVALUATE
SHARE
TAILOR

Goals Need to be TIME BOUND

Tips to make your goals time bound

time

Goals have to have a definite starting point and ending point.  I work really well with a deadline.  I want to know when something needs to be completed.  Time matters when it comes to writing goals.  Most of the goals I’ve talked about are annual.  They could all have an end date of 12/31 or if you are following the way I do my goals then 1/31.  Time bound is essential for working through the progressive necessity of goals.  You may want to lose 30 pounds by the end of the year, but you aren’t going to come to December 30th and see how you’re doing on your weight loss goal.  Set monthly and weekly time bound sub goals that help you attain your goal progressively.

 

Tips to help you clarify

  • Is your goal an annual goal?  Should it be a 2 year goal or longer?
  • What are some milestones associated with your goal?
  • How can you break it up into quarterly, monthly or weekly chunks?

Click on one of the S.M.A.R.T.E.S.T. Goals elements below to jump to a more specific description of that area.  Click here to get an overview of the S.M.A.R.T.E.S.T. Goals system.

SPECIFIC
MEASURABLE
ACHIEVABLE
RELEVANT
TIME BOUND
EVALUATE
SHARE
TAILOR

Goals Need to be SPECIFIC

Tips to help make your goals specific

specific

Goals needs to be specific.  The destination needs to be obvious.  Your goal needs to have a very clear target.  Words like “more” and “less” are off limits when writing a goal. Ideas like “do better” or “weigh less” are also strictly prohibited.  Vague is the enemy of accomplishing goals.  You’ve got to know what you want to accomplish…exactly.

Do’s and Don’ts of Specific

  • Don’t say, “save more”. Do say, “save $1000.”
  • Don’t say,  “lose weight”. Do say, “lose 10lbs.”
  • Don’t say, “get better at returning emails”. Do say, “set a reminder to check and respond to emails at 5pm.”
  • Don’t say, “have more blog followers”.  Do say, “have 1000 new blog followers”.

The more specific you can get the better.  Specificity brings definition to the goal.

Tips to help you clarify

  • What EXACTLY do you want to accomplish this year?
  • Where do you want to go EXACTLY?
  • Ask a friend, mentor, or coach and see if they understand your goal.  Is it obvious to them what you are trying to accomplish?

 

 

Click on one of the S.M.A.R.T.E.S.T. Goals elements below to jump to a more specific description of that area.  Click here to get an overview of the S.M.A.R.T.E.S.T. Goals system.

SPECIFIC
MEASURABLE
ACHIEVABLE
RELEVANT
TIME BOUND
EVALUATE
SHARE
TAILOR

 

Goals Need to be MEASURABLE

Tips to help make your goals measurable

measurable
 

A couple years ago I wanted to improve my physical endurance.  I set the goal of completing a marathon which means moving forward for 26.2 miles over the course of hours.  It was easy to see during training runs that I was going further.  Each month I could see progress towards the measurable goal of 26.2.Your goals need to be measurable.  You need to be able to know when you’ve achieved the goal.  You need to be able to see progress and movement forward towards the goal.  This aspect goes hand-in-hand with specific.  Specific focus helps define the measurable aspect of the goal.  When annual goals are measurable it aids in the process of setting monthly goals that help achieve it.

 

Tips to help you clarify

  • What number can be associated with the goal?  Maybe it is a distance you want to be able to run or an amount you want to put in your retirement account.
  • Is it possible to see progress towards your goal?   Where do you want to be in April? July? November?
  • If you are having trouble coming up with a measure you may need to make your goal more narrow and specific.

 

Click on one of the S.M.A.R.T.E.S.T. Goals elements below to jump to a more specific description of that area.  Click here to get an overview of the S.M.A.R.T.E.S.T. Goals system.

SPECIFIC
MEASURABLE
ACHIEVABLE
RELEVANT
TIME BOUND
EVALUATE
SHARE
TAILOR

Goals Need to be ACHIEVABLE

Tips to help make your goals achievable

Achievable
 

I recently completed a marathon.  That was a stretch, but an achievable goal based on my ability level, size, and talent as a runner.  All it essentially requires is that you need to be able to endure pain and boredom for a long period of time and not stop moving your legs forward.  It would absurd for me to make my goal to set the world record in the marathon or win the Chevron Marathon.  Those goals aren’t achievable, they are ridiculous.  Don’t write ridiculous goals.Your goals need to be achievable.  The goal needs to require stretching, but also be attainable if you are diligent and disciplined.  This is a tightrope to walk.  Don’t make the goal to easy. Don’t make the goal to hard.  Unless you are in your last year in college you can’t graduate within a year most likely, but perhaps you could graduate in two years.  You can accomplish more than you think you can when focus on the goal, but be honest with yourself about what is actually doable.

 

Tips to help you clarify

  • Is it reasonable to see yourself achieving this goal within a year?
  • Based on your current position and ability level will this goal stretch you, but not demoralize you?
  • Would your goal be better as a 3 year goal with separate annual goals?

Click on one of the S.M.A.R.T.E.S.T. Goals elements below to jump to a more specific description of that area.  Click here to get an overview of the S.M.A.R.T.E.S.T. Goals system.


SPECIFIC
MEASURABLE
ACHIEVABLE
RELEVANT
TIME BOUND
EVALUATE
SHARE
TAILOR

Goals Need to be TAILORED

Tips to tailor your goals

 

tailor

After you’ve written the goals and evaluated them for yourself and shared them. Now you should tailor them or tweak them.  Take the input from your personal evaluation and the input from others and rewrite your final draft of your goals.  Write them clearly for the year.  Then write out the subgoals that will get you to those major goals.  Make sure those subgoals also carry the markers of the S.M.A.R.T.E.S.T. Goals system.

Tips to help you tailor your goals.

  • Write the goals down and put them in a very visible spot.  You need to be reminded of what you’re working towards.
  • Put the goals and subgoal deadlines on your personal calendar.  I need deadlines.  This help me see tangibly how much time I have left before a goal is due.
  • Get organized.  I use a two primary tools to help me write out my goals and track them.
    • Evernote – This is my brain.  I send clips and snippets of everything that relates to my goals here.  Motivations, ideas, websites all go here.  Everything is easily uploaded and easily systematized.  They have a wonderful free version.  I upgraded though and am so happy I did.
    • Omnifocus – This is my primary project management and task tracker.  Every goal and subgoal goes into Omnifocus.  I set annual goals as folders and subgoals as projects within the folder then I write tasks that correspond to those subgoals.  This software is a tad pricey, but I’ve found it to be superior to the other task and personal project management apps available.

Click on one of the S.M.A.R.T.E.S.T. Goals elements below to jump to a more specific description of that area.  Click here to get an overview of the S.M.A.R.T.E.S.T. Goals system.

SPECIFIC
MEASURABLE
ACHIEVABLE
RELEVANT
TIME BOUND
EVALUATE
SHARE
TAILOR

Goals Need to be SHARED

Tips for sharing your goals

 

share

Once you’ve evaluated your first draft of your goals you should share those goals with others.  Share them with close friends, your spouse, mentors, and coaches.  Tell them why you are trying to get more serious about setting and completing goals.  Ask them to take a look at the 5-7 goals you are working towards.

When it comes to sharing your goals with others the benefit comes in two areas.

1) Input

You’ll be able to hear what others think about your goal’s attainability and benefit to you.  One of the hardest things to do is to open yourself up to others in this way.  Let them see your goals, maybe even give them a couple days to think about them, and then ask for HONEST feedback about them.  The eyes of others on your situation is a gift.

2) Accountability

Others will be able to know what you are working towards and ask you about it in the future.  Make sure these people are close to you and will ask you about them on a fairly consistent basis.  This community around your goal will help you push forward when you want to quit.  Give them the freedom to ask specific questions.

 

Tips to help you share your goals

  • Who should you share your goals with?
  • Do you have a coach or mentor?
  • What barriers might you find in sharing your goals.

Click on one of the S.M.A.R.T.E.S.T. Goals elements below to jump to a more specific description of that area.  Click here to get an overview of the S.M.A.R.T.E.S.T. Goals system.

SPECIFIC
MEASURABLE
ACHIEVABLE
RELEVANT
TIME BOUND
EVALUATE
SHARE
TAILOR