Developing ministries to serve communities

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If you are like me, you are growing tired of the phrase, “We are living in unprecedented times.” While this phrase is overused, it is accurate when describing the times in which we are currently living. The changes and uncertainty we are currently facing are not new or unique, but rather they are an acceleration of what sure to come our way, all be it, at a slower rate. This demands our attention if we are moving forward in our mission to advance the Kingdom of God through church planting.

We are entering a new frontier in the post COVID-19 world that requires creativity and innovation in the ways that we engage in and fund mission. Now more than ever we need to rediscover our missional identity as a Church. Long gone are the days of picking the low hanging fruit. We need to scale the heights of the trees, so that we can harvest the abundant fruit on the high branches.

One of the ways forward is to view the church as a Free Venture. This approach embraces bi-vocational/co-vocational ministry as an opportunity and strategy, rather than an unfortunate necessity. An in-depth cultural exegesis is required so that we can discover the unique needs and opportunities of the community we are planting in. With that knowledge we can design and develop a ministry that serves the deepest needs of the community.

Taking this a step further we can then not only utilize the bi-vocational/co-vocational model, as Hugh Halter has done through his painting business, but we can launch strategic social enterprises that serve the pressing needs of the community, as Hugh is doing through the Post Commons. (Hugh Halter is a specialist with Church Resource Ministries and the national director of Missio, a global network of missional leaders and church planters.) When you engage in social entrepreneurship you can meet significant needs in the community, create unparalleled opportunities to make and build relationships with everyday people in everyday situations, and generate revenue that allows you to start churches for free.

This is not only an incredibly effective way to engage the community with the Gospel, but it also allows you to go to the hard places that are often overlooked in the church planting world. These areas are often overlooked because of the diverse challenges in funding and sustaining mission in these neighborhoods.

Another advantage to planting this way is the incredible freedom it allows for in the way that we engage in our mission. Some models put unnecessary pressure on a planter to produce/launch. If a planter is not able to launch big, they will not be financially viable as a ministry. When this is the case a planter is forced to engage in methods and tactics that will draw a big crowd, but not necessarily make and multiply disciples. Once the crowd is gathered the planter then faces the uphill battle of engaging the crowd in disciple making. The planter has engaged in a certain set of methods and tactics to gather the crowd and then he flips the script. It is the church’s version of bait and switch. The planter baits them with consumer driven tactics and then switches to disciple making. It rarely, if ever, works.

The bi-vocational/co-vocational model that launches a social enterprise grants the planter and his team the freedom to engage in ministry that has deeper and more meaningful motives than gathering a crowd that will feed the machine. It allows you to start churches for free that focus on making and multiplying disciples at the speed of God.

I encourage you to watch the replay of Frontlines Episode 2: Starting Churches For Free with Hugh Halter, Peyton Jones, and Daniel Yang for more insights and straight talk regarding these issues and more.

We are better together!

“I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one—I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”
John 17:22-23

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