An encouragement to church planters

There isn't a lot out there to encourage church planters. Advice? Yes. Correction? Yes. Coaching? Yes. Comparing? Yes. Mocking? Sometimes. Encouragement? Not really. Some may say, "Well, if you're a church planter you shouldn't need kudos to stay the course." There's some truth to that, but that's not what encouragement is about. To en-courage is "to put courage into". Yes, our ultimate source of encouragement is the Chief Planter. Yet, the primary means by which we receive and experience his encouragement is through His people - especially from others who are in the trenches with you. So, to all my fellow church planters, this is my encouragement to you, as one among you.

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An opportunity to become a disciple-making-disciple (and be trained to plant a church)

This fall Downtown Cornerstone Church, which gathers in downtown Seattle, is rolling out two discipleship training tracks: a 1-Year Gospel Leader track and a 2-Year Pastor/Church Planter Residency. Each track leverages a mixture of BILD, Porterbrook and other resources to create a world-class, yet very local, training environment for making disciple-making-disciples. This is a great opportunity to be further equipped, whether you hope to go deeper in your relationship with Jesus, desire to grow as a disciple-maker and/or be trained as a church planter. For more information, track descriptions, frequently-asked-questions and to enroll, go here. 

Do you know about Acts 29?

One of the unique joys and privileges of my life has been to participate in what God is doing in and through Acts 29. I have been on staff, served as a regional director, helped establish a presence in South America and, now, as a church planter. Over the course of last ten years the network has grown from a small huddle of like-minded pastors to a global network of over 500 churches-planting-churches. In this new video, Matt Chandler, pastor of The Village Church and president of Acts 29 talks about the network and where God is leading us. If you would like to learn more about planting with Acts 29 go here. If you would like to learn more about participating in an urban church planter residency with us, go here

As of 2013, here is where the network stands:

  • 482 Churches within Acts 29
  • 142,932 People attending Acts 29 churches
  • 61 Countries supported through the work of Acts 29 churches
  • 6 Continents represented by Acts 29 churches
  • 18 Denominations represented within Acts 29
  • 10,026 Baptisms at Acts 29 churches in 2012
  • 97.9% Planter success rate
  • $18M Given to church planting initiatives in 2012
  • 273 Church planters sent out in 2012

 Learn more about the Acts 29 distinctives here.  
Learn more about the Four Hopes of Acts 29 here.  

Church Planting in Rio de Janeiro

A friend of mine, Jay Bauman, is doing some great gospel work in Brazil. He created Restore Brazil, serves as the South American director for Acts 29 and just this year set out to plant a new church in Rio. He and his team recently put this phenomenal vision video together. I encourage you to watch it. It will stir your soul to take the gospel to your neighborhood - and the nations. 

How to prepare for, and execute, an info meeting with someone you want to learn from

This post falls into the category of practical theology. How do I prepare for, and carry out, an informational meeting with someone I want to learn from? I did this a lot with others in the early the days of planting: local pastors, fellow church planters, non-profit directors, city council members and pretty much anyone who would meet with me. You can read more about what that looked like here.  More recently, others have requested to meet or talk with me (typically concerning church planting). I don't have a lot to offer, but I'm more than willing to give away any help I can. I love to connect with guys that are sensing a call to plant or are already fully immersed in the storm. One of the things I've noticed, however, is that many don't come prepared to get the most out of our time. What follows are some of the things I've learned from my own mistakes, and the mistakes of others, along the way.

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15 questions to ask when searching for a local church to serve, participate in and call home

Cities are places of transition. Seattle is no different. Many people move to Seattle for school, work or new opportunities. Moving to a new community is difficult. But, finding a church that loves Jesus, believes the Bible and preaches the gospel is even more so. Since launching in 2011 we’ve met many new-to-the-city Jesus-following transplants in search of a church to call home. That search is not as easy as it might sound, particularly in Seattle. What follows are questions I encourage others to consider when in search of a new church family. There's no such thing as a perfect church or a church that will fulfill everything you wish a church would be, but there are a number of things that should be non-negotiable as you consider partnering with a local body of Jesus followers...

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Church Planter: What your people need most from you (and probably don't know it)

​I'm about three years into planting a church, which means I'm not an expert. However, I do trust my Bible, love my Jesus and have some battle scars. I know first hand many of the things, internally and externally, that compete for the church planters heart, mind and soul.  Unfortunately, the reality is that many, if not all, of these can threaten to eclipse the very thing that our people need most from us.

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Church Planter: How to network when you hit the ground (and knowing where to start)

​The early stage of church planting is a unique season that comes with its own share of opportunities and obstacles. We're familiar with the obstacles, but what about the opportunities? Because everything is so new and fresh (and frightening) at the beginning it is an opportune time to network. With who? With anyone who is willing to meet with you. Anyone. I'm not a natural networker, but I found the following to be incredibly helpful. 

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Updated: 9 books church planters must read

I have the privilege of meeting with 2-3 potential church planters every month and one of the central questions asked is, "What books should I read?" One of my hopes is to be of help to those that are (1) considering planting, (2) in the early stages of planting, or (3) looking at becoming a church-planting-church. Given that, I plan to regularly provide an updated list of books and resources that every church planter should read. I'll update the list as I come across newer/better resources. This post builds off of a previous one here. I'd love to hear from you if have additional recommendations. There's a much longer list than what is provided below, but if you're planting you need it narrowed down. Let's look at the top nine... 

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The Apostle Paul and the heart of church planting (and pastoring)

have lost track of how many church planting books I have read. I have attended conferences. I have read blogs. I have listened to sermons, workshops and seminars. I have talked to seasoned planters and pastors. I have done my homework. As a novice church planter I was told to focus on: converts, leadership development, missional communities, connecting with city leaders, contextualization, strategic planning, social networking, engaging preaching, membership development, and contemporary worship. Those are all good, even needed. I agree with (most of) them. Yet, in focusing on so many things, it is easy to lose focus on the main thing. 

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