Your public launch is the next date on the calendar, but that doesn’t mean that you should put off going on mission until that date. In fact, that’s the biggest mistake a core team can make. You’re here to reach people, not launch a church service. Paul always started with outreach. You can’t just start with Christians, and expect the lost to magically turn up. To turn magical thinking into a reality, somewhere between stage 2 and 3 is a secret locomotive platform that you’ve got to locate if your going to get to a magical realm where all muggles can fly. Somewhere you will have needed to have started to reach out to the lost together as a team. You’ve got to begin community outreach before your public launch because at the end of the day, you’re not looking to simply start a new church for Christians to go to. There should be other things that you’re doing in order to get out into the community as a group. We’ll talk more about that in a later chapter, but for now, simply understand that outreach along the way is an essential part of developing the bond within your team. It’s part of your bonding experience!!! If anything, reaching the lost is the hidden platform between these two dates.
YOUR PUBLIC LAUNCH:
There is nothing as exhilarating as the backside of your public launch. Most of us want to climb back up thousands of feet and jump all over again before we’ve even repacked our parachute…ahem. A few words about planning your public launch…
Planning it is essential.
This date needs to be set in stone before you even put the others on the calendar. The reason why is that you’re going to be tempted to keep moving it back, because we’re all chickens.
You know it, and I know it.
So draw a line in the sand from the start. Like it or not, you’re jumping out of that plane Mr. T, even if we have to drug you or knock you out. You need to start from this date and work backwards; determining how long your team needs to bond before you start inviting the lost to your church. Whether you plan to launch out of a coffee shop, community center, night club, or still meet in your house, it’s Miller time in heaven, coz souls are about to get saved from this date forward. So I’m asking you to commit as a team and hold each other accountable to launching on the original date that you agreed upon.
PROPER BEHAVIOR ON DATES
That said, there’s proper behavior whenever you go on a date. Like the proverbial Dad cleaning his shotgun on the front porch when the teenager comes to pick up his daughter, let me give you a few conditional terms when it comes to going on a date with your core team.
- Don’t gossip – There is nothing that the enemy will try and do to divide a team faster than causing bitterness to take root. It destroys our witness, and therefore the church plant. Don’t be the weakest link in the chain. When you have something to say, go to the person that offended you in the spirit of Matthew 18. In Titus, Paul warned that Titus should warn a divisive person once, then twice, and after that have nothing to do with him. That’s some tough guy talk, but you know how you make it work as a team? It needs to be modeled from the top. That’s right! Your leaders need to make sure that they’re not gossiping about anyone. This is so important that I warn people not to come to me unless they’ve gone to the other person first. I make it known that I’ll be holding them to it. Then I promise them that they’ll never EVER hear me gossiping about one of them, or heard that I said something behind their back. That’s a show stopper right there, folks. It’s so rare for a leader to promise that and then carry through on it. But it has to be modeled. We held that so strongly, that I invited everyone to our leadership meetings so that they could check that we weren’t discussing other people’s problems (OPP) there. We would discuss outreach, strategy, and the like in our meetings…we had nothing to hide. And people began to trust us. They also began to trust one another.
- Commit – Remember that cut-off commitment date we talked about earlier? That’s when you put a ring on it. When you marry yourself to a church plant, there come responsibilities. That’s right. You’ll have the equivalent duties of taking out the trash, and paying for things. That’s what commitment involves. It involves being there. It involves bearing with others, and adjusting your own rhythms to the lives of others. Your church will need you to show up, help pay for stuff, and serve. Those might seem like small things, but commitment is a rare thing in church these days. In a big church, you can attend twice a month, get lost in the crowd, and give your 2% a year to the Lord. Not in a church plant. Somebody needs to take ownership. Perhaps ownership is the right word. See, you’re not renting, or leasing anymore. You’re an owner of this house where your family will be created, nurtured, share and create memories, and reproduce. I’m getting all weepy just thinking about it.
- Participate – Besides the responsibilities, there’s also priviledges. You get to do things you couldn’t before. You get to use your gifts. In fact, a church plant is the one place on God’s earth where your gifts aren’t just needed. They’re crucial. In a church plant if you don’t use your gifts, it leaves a you-shaped hole. It may be that the church plant is where you’ll actually begin to discover your gifts. That’s okay. Hopefully your church is going to pour into your development more than you’ll pour into it. It’s a symbiotic relationship, not a parasitic in either direction.
So…you ready to jump into the foxhole and stand side by side with this ragtag bunch of commandos? You may feel like the dirty dozen, but you’re God’s chosen twelve. He only needs a handful of wrecked, broken, screwed up knuckleheads to turn the world upside down. Think of what he could do in your community!
Buy Peyton’s newest book “Reaching The Unreached: Becoming Raiders of the Lost Art” over on Amazon.com. You can also download a free chapter and watch a cool trailer for the book HERE or click the image below.