A Secret to Church Planting
The LIBERTÉ CITY journey…
It's been an exciting and humbling journey so far.
Exciting because things are HAPPENING!
Evangelism, Salvations, added numbers to our family, restoration in lives, healing, dreams being re-visited, Jesus being lifted up in our city...
Humbling because it's happened in a way that was different to how we thought it would happen.
Let us explain...
WHEN WE ARRIVED IN CANADA, we had a plan.
We thought we knew how things were going to play out in our pioneering stage. We thought we knew how we wanted to pioneer. And in a way we did know how WE wanted to do it. But as we started to outwork our plan, our strategy; we realized that God had a different plan, and a different strategy.
We were ready to hustle, God told us to wait.
We wanted to run, God told us to walk.
We wanted to find people, God wanted to bring them to us.
We wanted to strategize, God wanted us to love.
Basically, the majority or 'our plan' got thrown out the window, and we embarked on a new, enthralling journey of letting God build His Church, His way.
We slowed right down.
We focussed on people, not plans.
We focussed on culture, not strategy.
We asked ourselves 'why?' ALOT.
And through it all, God has taught us so much, and given us a fresh blueprint that we believe will cause us to build LIBERTÉ CITY in the right way. And hopefully the things we are learning will be able to inspire and help other church planters as well.
In the last few months we have had so many church planters reach out, so we decided to share just one thought that we tend to be sharing the most with anyone who has been asking us for our church planting thoughts,
and that is this, HERE IS OUR SECRET…
TO BUILD A RELEVANT CHURCH, YOU NEED TO BUILD AN AUTHENTIC CHURCH.
As a church planter, it’s important to recognize that the times are changing. And if you are looking to build a church for the future Gen, then you need to realize that one of the biggest things people are looking for is an authentic pastor, an authentic leader, and an authentic church.
AUTHENTICITY IS THE NEW COOL.
Not your backdrops, not your sound gear, not your flyers, not your jeans.
More than ever, people care about how AUTHENTIC you are, above the ‘stuff’ that your church has.
People want to know that they can have conversations with you about seemingly taboo topics. For example, when was the last time you had a conversation with your team about homosexuality, tithing, or drugs? We’re not talking about a conversation where you answer all the questions, state your opinions, and then expect everyone to have that same opinion. We are talking about a conversation where people can push back, research questions in the moment, and then maybe even disagree. These kind of conversations and conversation styles are NEEDED right now. This generation is questioning more than any other, and if we shy away and expect people to just fall in line, we are going to quickly end up with ‘yes’ team members who don’t know how to have an authentic conversation with an unchurched millennial. And as a result end up with a church that is no longer relevant.
BECAUSE A RELEVANT CHURCH, IS AN AUTHENTIC CHURCH.
People also want to know that you have time for them, that you are approachable, that they can find friends in your church community, that being honest in their church environment is welcomed and encouraged.
They want to know that the term ‘honour’ is not going to be abused. But the way they honour you, is the way you’ll honour them.
These are just a few examples of the kind of authenticity people are looking for.
Here are few questions we have been asking of ourselves that you may find helpful to ask yourself:
Do we NEED to purchase that production equipment in this season of our church plant? Is there something better that we could spend that money on that will help our new church family to connect & be healthy?
Have we truly asked ourselves ‘why’ we are running ahead with that strategy or plan? Have we pushed back and thrown that idea around with others? Pulled it apart. Looked at it from an unchurched perspective?
Have we got other people weighing in on the decision making so that we are making wise calls? Or are we leading in isolation? Isolated leadership is unwise leadership.
Are we creating an environment of safety and understanding, where people can ask questions about our church and the way we do things, and not be judged or feel afraid?
Are we too focussed on perfection and perception in our gatherings, rather than the power and the presence of God?
Are we more focussed on getting people to ‘do what we need them to do’ rather than creating an environment where they are valued for who they are, not what they can give?
Are we more focussed on what people in OTHER churches think about our church, than what the people IN our church think about their church?
Are we expecting things of others that we wouldn’t first do ourselves?
The list of questions we have asked ourselves goes on and on. But many of them come back to AUTHENTICITY.
We currently have church in a basement of a house. We sit on chairs that cost $10 each. Our worship team consists of 4 people who lead us in acoustic worship and sometimes stop in the middle of a song, have a little laugh about forgetting the words and then move on. Nothing we have is fancy, or cost a lot of money. but everything is done with excellence and love.
And YET… every person who comes in says that the simplicity behind what we are doing is exactly what they have been looking for. New comers are regularly in tears because of how impacted they are by our humble beginnings. And the reason they stay, and come back, and bring friends is because of the AUTHENTICITY. God is there, friendly people are there, and that’s all that matters.
Cool is not stuff. Relevance is not expensive. There is a time and a place for stuff. This is not a blog against that. Some of the most amazing churches also have the most amazing ‘stuff’, but what people want right now in the world is AUTHENTICITY. And most of the time authenticity is free. The best thing about this ‘authentic need’ is that we have access to God. And He is as authentic as they come.
It is such a special time to be a church planter, because our message; the message of the gospel, is the most authentic message in the world. We are positioned more than ever to easily give people what they are so desperately in search for. But we can’t let ‘stuff’ get in the way.
So if you are a church planter, we hope that these thoughts encourage you. We hope that in reading this you realize that you probably already have all that you need to step out. We hope that you will have the courage to shift things up if you feel you need to. To build it HIS way. To trust Him. To lean not on your own understanding. Not to wait on the stuff. We don’t wait on stuff, we wait on God.
What we have seen here so far is so much more than we could've dreamed up or planned. The people, the community, the friendships, the God moments, the presence of God in our gatherings... it's nothing short of miraculous.
And we pray that it will be the same for you as you step out on the most amazing God journey of pioneering His Church.
God bless and much love,
Levi & Nadia