Thursday, August 7, 2014

Church Planting Essentials - Guest Post by Logan Loveday

Church Planting is full of ups and downs. For those church planters that do not own their own facilities they can easily relate to the struggle that comes from being constantly mobile. While renting a space can be both inexpensive and greatly rewarding, the portable church model always comes with its surprises.

There is never a dull moment in this type of church planting. I have experienced the struggle of the portable church many times. Whether it is a double-booking issue, worship team issue, supply issue, or technology issue, there will always be surprises. In the early stages of planting, a service can rarely go according to plan or without some problems. The computers will crash and the sound system won’t work. Someone will be late or forget that they are on set-up duty. The coffee and refreshment supplies will run out and someone will forget to restock them. The portable church vehicle or trailer will be missing items and yes, someone will have to go back and get them. No matter the situation the unexpected will happen when planting a church with the portable model.

From my own personal experiences in church planting, I have come up with 7 principles to remember when planting through a portable church model.

1. Stay calm; God is in control. Yes, someone forgot the keys or there is no one around to open the space. Yes, the space was overbooked. No matter how big or small the problem, even though it may at first seem to ruin the entire service or set-up, God is still in control. There is a reason for the problem. Breathe, discover the problem and devise a quick and efficient plan on how to remedy the situation. This may be an opportunity God wants to use to teach you how to be a more mature and effective leader. Remember, people are always watching.

  2. Prepare ahead of time. Call ahead. Plan who will do what, when, where, and why. Make sure everyone knows their job for the service or set-up. Make sure you have everything you need ahead of time. Please don’t wait to go check the coffee supplies or buy batteries that morning. Make a list or an action plan to help the team remember what need to be done.

 3. Expect the unexpected. It never fails. No matter how much planning and preparation goes into the service and set-up, something will go wrong. Someone will forget something important or a certain technology piece will go missing from last week’s tear-down. (Yes, the one that projects the words for worship and PowerPoint.) Every detail can be planned out for the service and something will go wrong, but that is not an excuse to wing it. Remember, at the core of what we are doing we are trying to connect people with Jesus. We must do everything we can to make sure nothing hinders that from happening.

  4. Have a back-up plan. So you planned it all out. The team knows what they need to do. But, you arrive and nothing goes according to plan. While many would want to crawl up in the corner and cry, as the pastor or leader you cannot do that. You must adapt to the situation and have a plan-B. When your team is planning the service make sure you add in fail-safes. Bring extra equipment, have extra helpers, buy extra supplies. You must acknowledge that things can go wrong and you need to be ready. Even if the back-up-plan is not perfect, you need to be ready when a problem arises and people come to you or the other leadership for help.

  5.  Recruit volunteers. Do not do it alone. This cannot be stressed enough. In ministry you cannot be an island in and of yourself. In church planting, it is very hard if not impossible to set up the entire service by yourself. Learn to delegate the responsibility. Lead and teach people the set-up process and then let them do it. If they mess-up then you can re-teach it to them if needed. A great way to ensure success in the portable church model is to recruit multiple set-up teams. These teams do not have to be large; just enough to prepare everything for the service. Teach these teams what all needs to be accomplished for a service to happen. Put the teams on either weekly or monthly rotating schedules. This not only helps you and the other leaders, but it allows the others to get involved in the church planting process.

   6. Make sure you have set-up lists and instructions. Set up for success; not failure. Even though you may have taught the set-up teams perfectly, someone will forget something or someone will forget how to do something else. Make check-lists for the night before that helps the teams know exactly what needs to be loaded up or put in the trailer. Also include detailed instructions for set-up of various signs, booths, tables, and equipment.

   7. Rejoice always. Rejoice when set-up is perfect and when it is not. Make a special comment during the service or after, recognizing God’s plan and power in each set-up and service.  Thank Him for making it possible to worship whether set-up went perfectly or even if there were problems. Acknowledge team members and their hard work even if set-up had issues. Thank all the team members for their hard work and willingness to serve. 

This post was originally posted at Logan Loveday's blog, which can be found at:

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