13 Lessons From Year One at Imago Dei Church (Part 2)
The article was written by Tony Merida, Nate Akin, and Matt Sigmon from Imago Dei Church in Raleigh, North Carolina. Part 1 can be viewed here.
5. Plant the Church You’ve Always Wanted to Go to
This is the sagely advice of Larry Osborne. It might sound self-serving, but it’s not intended to be. Larry says, and we agree, that the church you are most gifted to lead is the church that you would want to be a member of. A lot of guys seek to plant someone else’s church, or the church that they think will reach a lot of people (and those things are important and we should learn from others), but the church that you will lead best is the one that you would want to go to. This church is the one that you will be able to lead authentically and intuitively because it will be an extension of your theology, philosophy, personality, passions and gifts.
As you begin your church plant, set it up the way you want to do it. But note this big qualification: This assumes that you are following the Bible on the foundational matters first. What we’re referring to here are the various methods and ways of doing particular ministries in the church. For example, if you want to take the Lord’s Supper every week (and we think you should!) begin doing that immediately. If you want to recite the Apostle’s Creed, then do it immediately. If you want to have home-based small groups instead of Sunday school, then do it. While there are many hardships in church planting, remember that you do have this blessing: you have no tradition. So go for it! Further, remember that church planting is tough, but one way to make it a joy is to plant the church you’ve always wanted to go to. And this is the church that you will stay it for the long haul because it’s an extension of you and the other elders.
Side Note: In addition, if you hope to be a multiplying church, then plant a church where everything you do can be easily reproducible, whether that is in NYC or Tokyo. The church that we want to go to is a reproducible church.
6. Don’t Give Leadership Away to Quickly
One of the potential pitfalls will be to give leadership (or even a spot on the core team) away too early. We often think if anyone has a pulse, loves Jesus and wants to serve in a church plant, then they should be given leadership (usually driven by a strong desire to keep numbers up or to not have to do everything yourself). We avoided this pitfall because of others warning us of it, but we have also witnessed others that weren’t so fortunate. We would rather risk having less people do more, or even having small groups that are too big before forming smaller groups led by the wrong leaders. This pitfall has the potential to divide and destroy a church, its vision, and its mission. It is best to be patient and look for men as future leaders who are faithful, available, and teachable. These will be the type of guys who have humbly served in the church in various ways already, and are respected by the church for the character and diligence.
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