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Multisite Essentials: Part 1/3

Joanna Mikac   |   November 4, 2021
1:3
In a 2017 report, ‘Faith and Belief in Australia’, social researcher Mark McCrindle and his team state that in Australia:
  • 45% of Australians identify with Christianity
  • 15% of Australians who identify with Christianity go to church at least monthly
  • 7% of Australians who identify with Christianity are active practisers of Christianity
  • Australia contains a total of 183 people groups

To me, these stats prove one basic thought – there are a lot more people to be reached with the love of Jesus in this nation.  I’m sure these figures are close to the experience in many nations, where the identification with the Christian Faith is not matching the numbers of people finding their way into a meaningful and regular Christian community experience.  In fact, it would seem the number of younger people (Millennials and Gen Zers) who are no longer attending church or in some cases actually ‘deconstructing’ their faith, is growing rapidly.

There are undoubtedly many issues underlying these current stats.  But one of the universal answers must be the access to, the reach from and the effectiveness of the local church.  The multisite model, when understood and implemented well can be part of the solution to the need for a thriving, local and relevant Church community.

The purpose of this 3-part series of articles is to outline the basic ‘ingredients’ of a healthy multisite church.

 

Before we get to those ‘Multisite Essentials’, I thought it would be good to revisit something that I believe is worthy of emphasizing and is an underlying Biblical principle behind multisite.

 

Expansion is the new Increase

Isaiah 54:2-3
Enlarge the place of your tent,
and let the curtains of your habitations be stretched out;
do not hold back; lengthen your cords
and strengthen your stakes.
For you will spread abroad to the right and to the left,
and your offspring will possess the nations
and will people the desolate cities.

As a movement we’ve expanded globally and nationally.  We have almost 600 churches in 59 countries.  We are also expanding into new regions! However, at a local level I think we need to understand the difference between growth and expansion.

Most pastors are attempting to grow their churches. Larger churches equal more people reached, helped, discipled, and impacted for the kingdom of God.  In many cases this growth is happening or focused to happen in one location.  But in reality, not every individual church can keep growing in an unlimited way.  Perhaps the opportunity that is appearing around us is the possibility of ‘growing’ not by looking up (larger individual churches) but by looking ‘out’ and starting new, smaller congregations in a suburb or town close by.  So, as we ‘expand’, the eventual outcome is growth.  To enlarge the ‘Place’ of our tent.

We’ve expanded to the nations but it’s time to reach the neighbourhoods!

 

The Lord gave Joshua a promise…

Joshua 1:3 
Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given to you, just as I promised to Moses.

Like Joshua, we too need to get the ‘soles of our feet’, i.e. more locations, into the cities and towns that God has called us to.

For this to be accomplished, I believe we need to be on the front foot of expansion and not on the back foot of passive maintenance.  Part of the future to reaching our city and surrounding towns is firstly by starting new congregations.

 

The early church was forced into expansion through persecution.  That persecution dispersed the believers and eventually led to expansion through the starting of many more new congregations in cities outside of the city of Jerusalem!  Paul the Apostle was called by God to expand even further into the dispersed communities and of course the unreached Gentile cities in the known world at that time.

Apostolic expansion is all about expansion by intention.

This is nothing other than a new type of church planting.  Nothing has changed.  We still need more churches to reach more people…the vision hasn’t changed!

This is just a more effective way of starting and a more effective way of reaching people!

 

So, if you are convinced that this is a model that God has called you to, let’s have a look at some of the basic principles that need to be in place to do it as effectively as possible…

 

… in the next blog post! See you in Part 2/3.

Multisite Essentials: Part 2/3

Joanna Mikac   |   November 4, 2021
2:3

In part 1/2, we looked at the idea behind multisite – that expansion is the new increase. Now, we’re going to look more closely at multisite itself.

Multisite is two key things:
  1. God’s divine pipeline for leadership…in your church
  2. And God’s divine lifeline to the community…from your church

Let’s look at that first one in more detail.

God’s divine pipeline for leadership…in your church

 

What helps our church become an effective producer of leaders for multisite?

The moment you seriously embark on building a healthy multisite church, you are also embarking on a commitment to create an effective and healthy leadership pipeline.

There is no way you can become an effective multisite church without having a healthy leadership pipeline…or some form of pathway that identifies, grows and empowers leaders in your church.

But once you do have this functioning pipeline and begin to implement it in a multisite context, the benefits are many.  Here are just a few positive outcomes of a healthy multisite church functioning with a leadership pipeline:

  • More people tend to be engaged in serving
  • Increase in engagement of disengaged members
  • Greater number of leaders are produced because of increased opportunity
  • Younger leaders are developed faster because of a focused discipleship environment
  • Leadership is not limited to those who are gifted preachers
  • There is access to, and engagement of a wider skill set

By the way, there are far more benefits than those listed here!  But in order to create this type of environment where new locations can be started and more leaders and teams can be grown, we need to understand first the basic principles of creating a healthy leadership growing environment.

 

Here are three key principles to embrace in order for your church to be able to grow and empower leaders in a multisite context:

 

1. Multisite mentality

The first and perhaps most central principle is to make a shift from thinking like mono-site or individual church to true multisite thinking.  And trust me, it is very different indeed!  Here are a few basic headline thoughts to consider when making this shift:

Dismantling mono-site thinking

The embracing of multisite thinking is as much about dismantling previous thinking as it is about embracing new thinking.

Shifting from an ‘us’ to ‘we’ thinking

One of the biggest challenges in this shift is not seeing the other campuses as an appendage or treating them like they are separate to or not part of the ‘one’ thing.

Fight for unity through language

Perhaps of the key aspects of culture that reflects a multisite mentality is the language we use in our team and church.  Creating and reinforcing a language that works for your church and reflects a ‘one church in multiple locations’ approach is essential.

 

2. Matrix leadership

One of the more complex and difficult aspects of multisite churches to implement is this concept of ‘matrix’ leadership.  There is much that needs to be said and explained in this subject, which we won’t be covering here.

My encouragement to you, if you’re a leader who is entering this space of multisite, is to read and absorb all that you can about matrix leadership structures.

 

3. Multiplication Culture

The third aspect of a church pipeline that ensures a healthy multisite church is the development of a multiplication culture.

  • Are your leaders reproducing leaders?
  • Are your departments building ‘multiple’ teams?
  • Are your small groups reproducing other small groups?
  • Is your church able to multiply new services and locations?

 

In the next part of this 3-part series, we’re going to look at God’s divine lifeline to the community…from your church. See you there!

Multisite Essentials: Part 3/3

Joanna Mikac   |   November 4, 2021

3:3

In Part 2/3, we talked about how multisite is partly God’s divine pipeline for leadership in your church.

Today we’re taking a look at how multisite is:

God’s divine lifeline to the community… from your church

 

As well as being a pipeline to develop leadership, multisite is also a ‘lifeline’ to the community. A way of connecting with and reaching people as well as meeting the needs of the community in a more ‘present’ way.

Here are a few of the benefits of this lifeline principle:

  • Multisite is a neighborhood church movement. In fact, the rule of thumb would be to have a location that takes no longer than twenty minutes for someone to get there.  This ensures the church is accessible and local and by default builds connections to and within the community.
  • More people are reached because of a greater geographical reach. Because congregations can be started closer to where people live and therefore multiplied through your city or region, more people can be impacted with the Gospel.
  • Perfect for a mobile society as people move, there are options to stay connected. With more people moving, trying to find housing, we have the opportunity to provide options for them to stay in the church community
  • A great model for building healthy, vision led churches in regional communities. I believe the multisite model provides greater opportunity to build thriving locations based in regional centres and out into the surrounding satellite towns.
  • We can target communities with a specific missional focus. With our cities becoming far more diverse, we have the opportunity to allow more local diversity to be expressed in the communities in which we are planting locations and therefore expressing more closely the cultures and people groups that are represented in those communities.

 

Here are four key principles of the Lifeline

What makes an effective congregation in the community?

 

1. Team

It is impossible to build an effective multi-site church and be a lifeline into the community without building growing, multiplying healthy teams.

  • One of the most effective ways is to create a universal location team structure. In other words, having the same team structure across the whole church that is replicated in each location.
  • The revelation of core team. One of the central revelations of locations that really work is a well-functioning core team that is consistent in each location and works directly with the Location pastor to build effective teams under each ‘core’ area.  For example, this may include the following core areas: Worship, connect, next step, production, kids, youth
  • Pre-trained team: This is vital for the healthy functioning of a location from day one. Teams that are trained before the launch of the first service.
  • Pre-established team culture: Similar to pre-trained teams is developing and training the culture of teams before the launch of a location. When everyone has a clear understanding of core values in advance, it will mean everyone is building in the same direction with the same heart and a spirit of unity.
  • Team functioning and systems ready for church on day one: Clarifying how teams function, what their roles are, putting all the systems in place and having everyone trained in those systems will definitely allow for the effective launch of a location.

 

2. Location

Having venue and location that works for the building of a congregation is important for effective reach into the community.   Here are some important elements of the location.

  • The right location… a combination of the best possible venue (available) in the best possible location.
  • Adequately equipped location…ready to do church. The venue needs to have or be able to accommodate all the relevant worship, production, kids and hospitality equipment needed to function for a weekend service.
  • Tested production systems…all these systems need to be tested and functioning well before the launch.
  • Adequate seating, parking & kid’s facilities. Every one of these is important.  Enough comfortable seating.  Adequate parking that is accessible to the venue.  Clean and well-organized kid’s facilities that are safe, secure and appropriate for children of various ages.

 

3. Location Pastor

Probably the most important decision to be made by leadership is the choice of the Location Pastor

3 key questions when looking for a location pastor:

  • Can they handle the stage?
  • Can they develop leaders?
  • Can they gather people

 

4. Strong Launch

  • Start strong…grow better

There are many benefits to a strong launch.  Not the least being that the stronger the launch, the more likely that growth will occur sooner in the location.

  • The impact of the prelaunch phase

Prior to launching, there is much evidence pointing to the advantages of doing a ‘pre-launch’ phase. In this phase, there are typically interest meetings, pre-launch gatherings in the chosen venue, and the building of small groups prior to the official public launch.  This does several things.  It helps create a sense of real community before the church is public.  It helps build momentum, so that once services are open to the public, there is an invitation culture already established.  Pre-launch also helps develop strength in teams.  Strength of culture, systems and functioning.

  • There are ‘seasons’ for starting

Experience would suggest that there are better times to start than others.  Typically, the best and most practical start time is Spring and Autumn.  These are also the most typical growth seasons for an established church as well.

Summer is usually a time for families and individuals to get away and have a break.  Winter can often be a challenging time to birth something as well.  Getting people motivated to get out and get involved can be a little more challenging.  As it goes in the natural so it can go in this context as well.

  • Birth ‘mature’ congregations

The aim for the launch phase is to start a congregation that, for all intents and purposes, begins as ‘mature’.  The days of starting ‘from scratch’ and with nothing but three faithful people and an overhead projector don’t have to be relived!

One of the great advantages of multisite (that I believe should be taken advantage of) is the utilizing of resources available.  The leadership pipeline is producing team and leaders that are already trained.  The ‘central’ team is helping locate a venue and set it up for a great launch.  The Kids ministry director is working with you and your Kids overseer to build a kid’s ministry team before the location is launched.  The Worship director is working with your Worship overseer to build a worship team and have impacting worship from day one…you get the picture!

When new people arrive day one of the launch, the experience is positive, the worship is engaging, the welcome teams are in place and the location is ready to embrace new people and to grow immediately!

 

I hope that this series has helped you gain a clearer understanding of the basics of healthy multisite churches and how to get a solid location off the ground.

 

Blessings!

Mark Kelsey

 

Doing Church Differently

Joanna Mikac   |   July 20, 2021

Blog Mattis

Creatively Adapting In These Challenging Times

 

‘How did you actually grow your church during Covid-19?’

This is one of the questions many other pastors asked us in the beginning of 2021.

After one year of Covid-19, the number of volunteers and connect groups in our church and giving has doubled.

But how was this possible?

The easy answer would be that we put a lot of effort into making church happen in any way possible. Like most churches, we started online services. We held three drive-in cinema services. We organized a big open-air service in summer and tried to create some really special Easter and Christmas productions.

 

So, is the key to simply do as much as possible? Of course not. 

Adapting to the circumstances of the time in order to grow your church means flexibility. We tried to hold this as one of our greatest values – especially in this Covid season. Flexible leadership means adapting to your circumstances quickly.

 

When the first lockdown in Germany occurred – we had less than 24 hours to set up the first online service our church had ever done. The question was never ‘should we hold a service?’ It was simply, ‘how can we make a service possible?’ So, we spontaneously booked a camera crew, and we recorded our first service and put it online.

Watching it today, it is far away from how we are doing it now, but it was the best we were able to produce at the time. It actually changed the way we thought about church! We tried to stop thinking about how we were used to doing church and focused on new ways of making church possible in this unfamiliar situation.

That is why we then asked a professional filmmaker to help us and give advice for our online services. Under their guidance, we quickly changed the setting from an ‘on stage’ service to a large industrial setting.

 

We tried to be flexible, and we tried to think outside the box. One day we heard that a drive-in cinema was planning to open in one of the cities in which we have a campus. I reached out immediately to see if it was possible to run a service there. It was! We could never have imagined the success of this service. We only planned to hold a one-off drive-in service but afterwards we decided to run some more.

We had hundreds of first-time visitors coming to those services and dozens of salvations every Sunday.

 

As a result of those events and our online service re-design, we had many volunteers starting to serve in our church. Many of them were the very professionals that we had asked for advice in the first place!

It was not actually the sermon or the way we worshipped, but the fact that we had been flexible, creative and forward thinking that made our church so attractive to them. Many had never been in church before and got saved during this season because they saw a group of believers that was so motivated to make church possible and to get the Gospel out there, even in unfamiliar circumstances.

 

Did everything always work out perfectly? Definitely not. Some things we tried out did not work at all, but to be flexible, to be creative, to adapt to the circumstances around you often means to try, fail and then try something else.

The message of hope remained the same, only the way of reaching our communities with the message changed in so many ways and so many times. 

 

There was no ‘How to run church in a Global crisis seminar’ we could attend and there are many other things we as the Church might face in the future. Hopefully not on the scale of a global crisis, but there will be many future circumstances that require creativity, flexibility, and adaptability from us.

 

My biggest lesson as a leader in this season would be the following:

Be bold and try something.

We may be afraid that it might not work out but trust me, often we will be surprised by how God is using our effort to make things possible!

It does not have to be something the world has never seen before. It is mostly about embracing the situation and circumstances around you, being flexible and quick to react.

In German we have a saying: ‘The devil’s favourite furniture is the long bench’, which is a metaphor for procrastination. Often the Church’s biggest hinderance in adapting to circumstances is trying to wait it out. 

So don’t wait – initiate!

 

Mattis Icon

The Emotionally Healthy Church Planter

Kirstie Wells   |   March 2, 2021

Blog

One of the greatest privileges is to be called to plant a church or lead a church, it is a joy and great adventure! To be shepherds of God’s people is a great responsibility. Our foundation is to lead “after God’s own heart”.

“Then I will give you shepherds after my own heart who will lead you with knowledge and understanding”. Jeremiah 3:15

Our emotional health will however play a large part in how we lead. Emotional health can be seen by others. It becomes visible when we are under pressure, in a crisis or making difficult decisions. Our emotional health ultimately affects others and those we lead. Therefore, we need to continually tend to our inner life, our emotional health.

Paul told his leaders to: “keep watch over yourselves and all of the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers.” Acts 20:28

 

3 Keys to Maintaining Emotional Health

1. Pursue the Fruits of the Spirit

The daily pursuit of the fruit of the Spirit helps us to keep watch over ourselves. The gifts of the Spirit are freely given to us by God, we are to be stewards of our gifts, but the fruit of the Spirit is produced in us as we “keep in step with the Spirit” (Galatians 5:25). Gifts are given, fruit is produced. Pursue all of the fruit! Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. Couple them together, as an example, self-control without kindness is simply restraint. When we keep in step with the Spirit, we develop the ability to build others up and become careful not to move beyond our authority over others. Paul’s apostolic authority was constructive, not destructive.

“The authority the Lord gave me for building you up not tearing you down”. 2 Corinthians 3:10

An emotionally healthy leader builds others up.

2. Guard your Thoughts

Guarding your thoughts! Our thought life plays a huge part in our emotional health, as very often our thoughts precede our emotions. When we are dependant on the Holy Spirit we can learn to “hear” our thoughts. Hope has a sound in your mind and in turn lifts your heart, fills you with strength. Hopelessness equally has a sound and takes us to despair. Thanksgiving has a sound, self-pity has a sound. When we learn to “hear” our thoughts and move towards the ways of the Holy Spirit, we are transformed by the renewal of our mind.

“Lord help me to gird up the loins of my mind and may I press forward towards the mark for the prize of my high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Charles Spurgeon

3. Restore your Soul

Learn well the way of restoring your soul. We are all unique and we need to rest to lead effectively. Learning to rest will help you become a leader of longevity. Remembering also that Jesus gives us rest for our soul and prayer is our ultimate life source.

“Whatever is your best time in the day, give that to communion with God.” Hudson Taylor

Prayer is a relationship. We need to pray for our churches, but we also need to leave room in our prayer for our relationship with the Lord. Just you and Him!

You will always be busy in ministry; Jesus’ disciples were so busy that they didn’t even have time to eat (Mark 6:31a). But Jesus said to them,

“Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” Mark 6:31b

Jesus gives you permission to leave the crowds and be with him, to restore your soul. He has indeed begun a good work in you. Go well!

 

Cathie Round

 

Expanding Into An Online World

Kirstie Wells   |   February 16, 2021

Blog Mitch Newsletter

There is no doubt 2020 was a defining year for the church globally, shaping and shaking our very understanding of what the church is and how we continue to plant, grow and multiply in the midst of a global pandemic. Over the past couple of decades technology has been a huge part of innovative and emerging church models and strategies, but to be fair, the church historically has been quite a slow adopter when it comes to embracing new practices and methods.

For better or worse, 2020 has fast-tracked the adoption process and forced churches (some kicking and screaming) into the digital era. But with this quick pivot, has come some structural and strategic whiplash that is now in need of a framework to help us move into the future with clarity and strength.

 

It’s important for us to acknowledge that the world is still in a highly volatile social climate with constantly changing government restrictions, health alerts, travel bans, lockdowns, hot spots, and more – because of this, churches are all in different phases of change, some are still operating solely online, some are gathering with restrictions, some have hybrid models, the list goes on. On top of this, even within our own movement, exists a broad spectrum of churches: mono and multi-site, attractional and missional, urban and rural.

The truth is churches all around the world have implemented brilliant and creative ways to cultivate and sustain healthy community in the digital space. What I don’t want to do here is be too specific or prescriptive in the way it should outwork in your context.

What I’d rather attempt to do is provide some guiding principles and a digital framework that will allow you to interpret and navigate the best strategic direction for you.

 

Before I dive into the principles, I’ll say this: when thinking through our digital strategy, I think it’s important we make decisions with a post-Covid view in mind. Although there will of course be decisions we need to make for the immediate season, as much as possible we should be trying to form a strategic direction that is looking beyond the current circumstances and without a crisis lens.

Here we go….

 

 

Principle #1: The world was already digital.

87% of the developed world’s population is online, over half the world’s population are now under 30 and considered “digital natives” and 50% of the world’s internet usage is now via mobile devices and rising rapidly.

What we must realise is we don’t have online people and offline people, we just have people, and the vast majority of them live in the physical and digital worlds simultaneously. Therefore our digital approach needs to be designed with all of our people in mind.

 

Principle #2: Digital needs to be a culture more than a team, department or location.

If you follow the evolution of new and emerging digital products that tech companies are producing, they have a clear goal – create products that integrate, not compete, with real life. In the same way, our digital strategy should complement our physical strategy, in fact, they shouldn’t be two different strategies at all. We need one strategy for our people that leverages the strengths of both digital and physical.

It’s not about creating a digital version of church; it’s about asking the question ‘how do we integrate the strengths of both digital and physical to help people engage even more with Christ and community?’ I would suggest avoiding the trap of delegating digital to become a silo within your structure, and instead integrate it as a core culture of your whole church and team.

 

Principle #3: The digital world plays by different rules.

One of the common trends that emerged as churches ventured into the digital space, is a trend that similarly occurred when broadcasters first transitioned from radio to television… instead of creating TV shows, they just filmed their existing radio show. What we end up doing is using new technology to keep doing an old thing ­– or in our language, we fill new wineskins with old wine.

What we need to do is start creating things that are made for the medium, not just copy and pasting from another context. We need to ruthlessly challenge old ways of thinking and old modes of operation, because suddenly the barriers of time and space, buildings and time slots, don’t exist.

 

Principle #4: Digital is public, very public.

A couple of years ago I travelled to Iceland, on every tourist’s to-do list is to swim in the thermal pools, but there’s something they don’t tell you on the brochure: before you’re allowed to swim, you have to strip down and shower naked in a room full of strangers to wash off any nasty oils on your skin, so you don’t contaminate the thousand-year-old natural spring. Needless to say, if you don’t want everyone watching, be very careful what pool you decide to swim in.

We need to take great care in knowing the purpose of our content, and where it should be placed. I like to categorise the purpose of digital content into two main pools: reaching and resourcing – defining our content’s purpose helps give us a better idea of what platform we position it on.

 

Principle #5: Digital is a crowded house.

Due to the borderless nature of the digital landscape, we need to guard against the temptation to try and reach everyone. The problem with trying to reach everyone is that we spread ourselves so thin that we end up reaching no one. The fact is hundreds of thousands of churches all around the world are trying to carve out their space in the digital world. Imagine every church in your city all meeting in the same venue, at the same time… it could get ugly.

As leaders, we must stay true to who God has called us to reach and build our digital strategy with them in mind.

 

I’m praying you’ll be filled again with the spirit of wisdom and revelation as you lead God’s church faithfully into the future.

 

Mitch 3 Round

Different Church Models

Joanna Mikac   |   August 12, 2020

Blog Richard

‘They will know you are my disciples by the love you have one for another’ (John 13:35).

When Jesus called the first disciples to follow him, it was in the context of relationship. Jesus, in commissioning us to make disciples (Matt 28:19), is commissioning us to be building community: the church.

 

But what is the best model for establishing a new church?

The revelation of Christ is the foundation of all church planting – ‘by wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established’ (Proverbs 24:3).

When I think “how-to” or which is the best model to apply, I think R.E.S.T

  1. Reason: what we can examine, study and test intellectually
  2. Experience: what we can feel and emotionally sense
  3. Scripture: what is revealed in the word of God, both descriptively and prescriptively
  4. Tradition: what has worked before and what the Lord has used previously

Scripture is not the only source of understanding and wise judgment, but it ought to be the non-negotiable plumb line.

 

From reason:

We understand “not all trees in the forest are the same height but every tree is important.” We understand that a dynamic, diverse, and supportive ecosystem needs less artificial fertilizers than a single monoculture limited in genetic strength. Therefore, the diversity of models is not only to be expected but encouraged and celebrated.

From experience:

Our personal experiences teach us that no “one size fits all.”

From Scripture:

There were culturally homogeneous churches, such as the church in Jerusalem and Corinth, and there were diverse cultural churches like Ephesus. There were small churches – the church in Colossae had no more than 50, in Philippi under 150, in Ephesus many thousands – yet every church was important and given great attention from leaders like Paul.

From tradition:

There have been great churches of all sizes big and small. Throughout history, the predominant church size has been approximately 100 members. We plan for the norm, adjust for the exception, and celebrate all.

 

 

Learnings from C3

Mark Kelsey at Presence Conference in 2019 outlined a description of types of churches in C3. His list included urban, suburban, regional, churches in remote regions, churches in developing countries, and churches in regions of persecution. All with the same C3 culture but with various approaches.

The following are some approaches we have used (the headings are for description only):

 

The hub church

A team of pastors travels between 3 to 5 churches of up to 70. C3 Reach Bangladesh churches use this approach. We identify an evangelist, a pastor, and a manager. The evangelist goes into a new area followed by the pastor, then the manager coordinates all the hubs.

The reverse church

This approach is used in locations where believers are persecuted and the safest place to worship & teach is in homes. This can lead to isolation and a lack of accountability. We reserve the order in the west where we worship and teach in larger groups and fellowship in homes. The larger gathering is for fellowship and socializing only and the smaller groups are for teaching and worship. C3 Reach Egypt uses this approach.

The satellite hub

Establish one large central church and create smaller satellite churches each 1 to 5 hours away from the central church. Each satellite church has a pastor and a core team, and they visit once a month. C3 Reach Kazakhstan uses this model.

The home church network

In extremely dangerous situations, the only possibility is to have churches under 30 that meet in homes. Once every month, the pastors of the home church gather either online or in person.

 

Eight things that are present in the gatherings of all the models are:

  1. Intentional prayer and worship
  2. Preaching/teaching the word
  3. Communion
  4. Community Evangelistic activities – including practical acts of service
  5. Development of the leader and monthly reporting to the supervisor
  6. Regular social activities
  7. Intentional focused development of ‘next leaders of the next plant’
  8. Intentional connection to other C3 churches

 

Defining the “how to do”

Rather than starting with a pre-set model, we start with a process of formational questions:

  • “What are the broader cultural values in the context we are planting?”
  • “What is the outcome we want?”
  • “What do we need to do to achieve this outcome?”
  • “What will it look like if we do the things we need to do?

If you are interested in the material we use, you can contact us at c3churchryde.com.au.

 

Effective delivery of the gospel requires integration between form (what is seen), function (what we do), and feeling (what we desire others to experience).

Ultimately our perfect model is Jesus and our methods focus on how we can be Spirit-powered and connect-driven in the specific cultural context.

Richard Green Circlepic

3 Questions For The Church Planter

Joanna Mikac   |   December 2, 2019

Clarance & Debbie Grid

Our church plant is now in its 8th year. Debbie and I stepped out to plant C3 Subang (now known as Destiny C3) in 2011 with a team of 9 others. The church has since developed into a group of 7 churches catering to the different communities in Malaysia, India and the Philippines. We also run a UNHCR recognized refugee school which to-date is committed to the education of approximately 80 refugee children from nations that include, Pakistan, Syria, Bangladesh and India.

The church planting journey for us began with a lot of apprehension. Was this the right step? Do we have what it takes? Who are we called to? What if we failed? Is this really what God wants for us? We had, as most church planters would, lots of questions… questions that we wrestled with even as we were being drawn by the call.

The questions you ask yourself as you go on this journey can be life altering. The wrong type of questions can derail your journey, while the right questions can clear a path for you.

There are many questions that we asked ourselves on our church plant journey and below are 3 important ones that every potential church planter should ask themselves.

 

  • Am I called to this?

Church planting is not just a nice idea or a noble choice of profession. It is a call. Be certain of your calling, because it will form the foundation of your church plant journey. It will be the fuel in your tank that will keep you going regardless of the challenges that come your way. Many people in ministry quit during tough times because they start to doubt their call. We can start to believe that the presence of a roadblock indicates the absence of a call, “maybe I’m not called to this”, “maybe I was wrong”, and before you know it, we are daydreaming about exit strategies.

As Debbie and I began this journey, we had to be certain that we were called to this, and our certainty of the call is what drove us to push through some of the most challenging circumstances that would have otherwise derailed our journey.

When you view your challenges through the certainty of your calling, you see roadblocks not as something to stop you, but something that you are meant to push through.

You view the challenges as necessary inconveniences that you are called to work through that will serve to bring you closer to your destiny. We stay the path not because it is easy, we stay the path because we are certain that we are called by God to be here.

 

  • Whose church is this anyway?

Many times, we can, either consciously or unconsciously, view the church plant as our project and God as the external consultant that we reach out to – to endorse our ideas, approve our decisions or help us through the difficult stages of the building. This mind-set often sees us carrying burdens that we were never meant to carry, trying to build by our own strength, which brings us unnecessary stress.

Whose idea was this in the first place? This is God’s idea, His project, His Church and He chose you to be a part of it. This church was birthed in God’s heart long before you even knew what a church plant was. Wasn’t it Him who said, “I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it”? Don’t the scriptures say that unless the Lord builds the house we labour in vain?

This is a fundamental truth of church planting, yet it is a truth that we many times lose sight of. We get caught up with the “business” of church planting. We tend to push God into a consulting role rather that seeing him as the chief architect and master builder.

He invited you to be a part of HIS church plant, and whenever we forget that, we end up dealing with frustrations and anxieties that can lead to burn out.

Whenever I find myself stressing more than usual, it’s always because I’ve taken the burden off God and started carrying it myself. I’ve made it about me, my success, my project, my church, and that was never God’s intention. I ask myself, whose church is this in the first place?

Remind yourself often, that this is God’s project, His church plant, and He is the master-builder. Cast all your burdens upon Him.

 

  • What’s unique about my calling?

Since everyone is unique, there will be a uniqueness about your calling. You may start off looking like another church, but there will be a look, a feel that is uniquely yours. Each of us are given different “talents”. God delights in the multiplication of the talents but the means through which that multiplication comes may differ from church to church, community to community, nation to nation. What’s unique about the community that God put you amongst? Unity may not necessarily equate to uniformity.

One of the great dangers of church planting surfaces when we are focused on trying to duplicate the calling of another.

Yes there is much that we can learn from others, there may be strategies and ideas that we can get and apply from other churches, but we must be faithful to the uniqueness of our calling, that’s where we will find our greatest breakthroughs.

In the midst of our church planting zeal and eagerness to learn from and emulate the successful ministries of others, we had to stop to notice what God was doing in our midst, the kind of people that He was sending our way, the doors that He was opening, especially the unexpected ones. Sometimes we can look for what we want God to do and miss out on what God is doing.

When we stopped to ask ourselves what was unique about what God was doing in our ministry, we started to see doors open for ministry that we never had considered before.

 

So there they are: three questions for the church planter. There are many more, but these are at the top of my list and I trust will be in yours as well.

The Biblical Basis Of Expansion Part I

Joanna Mikac   |   August 9, 2019

Tuesday 10th

 

Planting churches is not an option for the adventurous – it is a mandate for all of God’s church.

In this mandate we see mirrored, or, more properly, fulfilled, the creative and obligatory decree of Genesis 1:28 – that of being fruitful and multiplying. The authority given in this original proclamation is given new impetus, authority and focus in the words of Jesus that all authority in heaven and earth has been given to him[1]. That is why we can and should Go.  We are participating by the expansion of churches in the New Creation project of God.

The making of disciples, the last command of the Risen Christ[2], is best accomplished in the expansion and formulation of new churches/locations/campus – the fact being more important than the form.

The prophet Isaiah called out:

Enlarge the place of your tent,

and let the curtains of your habitation be stretched out;

do not hold back; length your cords

and strengthen your stakes.

For you will spread abroad to the right and to the left,

and your offspring will possess the nations,

and will people the desolate cities.[3]”

 

These verses have long captured the prophetic imagination of C3 Churches, and in particular Ps Phil Pringle.  They have provided vision and focus.  And it is these two things that are essential to enlarge, stretch, strengthen and possess.  Vision is necessary to fulfil the mandate, and focus is required to give legs to vision.

At one juncture in the history of the early church it was persecution that forced the church’s hand to, “go and make disciples.”

They were forced to relocate around the Empire, taking the good news with them and forming loose communities, which became the seedbed/precursors to the eventual establishment of churches under the more deliberate intentionalized apostolic ministry of Paul and Barnabas (and others).

It has been sagely stated that the hope of the world is the local church.  (And so it was, and so it is, and so it will be.)  He meant that as we expand and gather God’s people we are providing hope for the world, the country, the community we find ourselves in.  It was the gospel embodied (incarnated) in the life of the believers that became the reason for the triumph of faith in the Roman Empire.[4]  Love verses power, and love won.

Ed Stetzer states, “Any church wishing to recover the dynamic nature of the early church should consider planting new churches.[5]

Whilst recovering the dynamic of the early church may be a little more nuanced than Stetzer’s comment accounts for, we would be well advised to, at least, make a start by doing what he does suggest.  New life engenders new life.

The temptation to only maintain what we have may well be irresponsible, and at very least negligent as it tends towards atrophy.

By nature most of us are conservative; we find expanding a stretching exercise, not always comfortable – and neither is it.  But the call of being in Christ asks something more of us, more than we think we are capable of, more than seems reasonable, and more than becoming less – as that is what we will become it we don’t think and live out, if we don’t some how, some day, Go.

 

This blog is part of our online church planting resource base. To find out more, ask your senior pastor for access to Xpress

 

[1] Matthew 28:18

[2] Matthew 28:19-20

[3] Isaiah 54:2-3 (ESV)

[4] I highly recommend Rodney Stark’s, The Rise of Christianity. (New York, NY: HarperOne, 1997).  He is a sociologist/historian with unique insights.

[5] Ed Stetzer, and Daniel Im. Planting Missional Churches: Your Guide to Starting Churches That Multiply. Second edition. (Nashville, Tennessee: B&H Academic, 2016), 42

 

Simon Circle Cropped

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The Biblical Basis Of Expansion Part II

Joanna Mikac   |   August 9, 2019

Xpress Blog

 

Faith in ministry includes setting goals so incredibly bold that you’re bound to fail unless God moves in a miraculous way. We plant churches and lead churches to expand. And we want to expand greatly. Expansion represents transformed lives, people connected to Jesus and His saving power, and people living their best lives for His cause in our world.

God has designed all living things to reproduce, to multiply and to expand. It’s the way things work. How much more His church?

 

The Bible opens straight out of the gate with a Creation Commission for all human beings created in the image of God: “be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth” (Genesis 1:26-28).

The gospels open with Jesus calling for the same. He taught kingdom expansion in parable after parable. The King is looking for hearts that, like good soil, bear fruit 30, 60, and a 100 fold (Matthew 13:23). The kingdom begins small like a mustard seed and grows into a large mustard tree. The kingdom is seemingly insignificant at first like yeast in a lump of dough but grows In significance as it permeates the world. The kingdom progressively advances like the growing seed becoming first the blade, then the ear and then the full grain in the ear. (Mark 4:26-29). Growth. Increase. Expansion. It’s what the kingdom does. It’s what kingdom people do.

Jesus’ final words in the gospels – the Great Commission – is an expansion of the Creation Commission: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations,” (Matthew 28:18-20). Reproduce yourselves. Multiply. It’s a global vision for expansion.

I therefore regularly ask myself as a leader if my faith is based on what I think is possible, or on God, who says all things are possible?

My prayers at times are small-minded. I limit my requests to things I think are possible. What if I prayed God-sized prayers?

 

What would this mean in practical terms for the expansion of your church and your ministry? Rick Warren suggests adding a zero to every goal you set. Do you want to reach 100 for Christ in your community? Then set a goal to reach 1,000. Set a bold goal that is bound to fail unless God moves in a miraculous way. It is in the realm of the impossible that faith works.

None of this happens by accident. We pray and work hard. We develop the skills to reach our communities. Expansion thinking focuses on building big people. Quality people. Big people build big churches.

 

There is a church growth and church health progression recorded in the book of Acts. It describes the exponential growth of the church in direct relation to the growth of the quality of person. In other words, the Acts Progression shows us that the quantity of people we reach happens because of the quality of people we develop.

“Souls were added…” Acts 2:41

“Believers were increasingly added…” Acts 5:14

“The number of the disciples was multiplying…” Acts 6:1

“The number of the disciples multiplied greatly…and a great many of the priests were obedient.” Acts 6:7

As the quality of people progresses from saved souls to believers, and from believers to disciples and from disciples to the salvation of the Jewish opposition’s most influential leaders, the church grows exponentially. People are added and then increasingly added, they are multiplying and then multiplying greatly.

 

Seek God, hear what God has to say and then believe Him for big, big things. He is more committed to expansion than we realize. God’s kingdom works by expansion.

 

This blog is part of our online church planting resource base. To find out more, ask your senior pastor for access to Xpress