CHURCH PLANTING RESIDENCY–JOURNEY INTO CHURCH PLANTING (PART 7)
In this post I’ll describe a bit of what this year will look like as I take part in a one-year church planting residency/apprenticeship, and how you can be praying for us (for early parts of the JOURNEY INTO CHURCH PLANTING SERIES go here: 1,2,3,4,5,6). The hope of this apprenticeship is to prepare me to plant a church.
1. Weekly Mentoring: Each week I meet with Joe Thorn, who is mentoring me. Joe asks me questions about how I am doing spiritually, offers guidance on growth and next steps for church planting, and prays for me. Joe has been a true blessing, mentor and friend to me these past few years and I always look forward to our weekly meeting together. Another part of the mentor process is attending various ministry visits and the weekly elders’ meetings. I’ve learned a ton just by seeing how ministry takes place and how different situations are addressed.
2. Structured Leadership Responsibilities: I oversee two different ministries for our church. The first ministry I oversee is our Leadership Lab, a monthly leaders’ training gathering. This ministry trains men to lead and preach, and functions also as a preaching workshop (different guys preach and receive feedback each month). The second ministry I oversee is our Welcome and Offering ministry. At our church we have different individuals lead the Welcome and Offering/Announcements portion of the service, and I provide the administrative and training support. Along with these ministries, I oversee and lead a community group which meets weekly for fellowship and Bible study.
3. Structured Theological and Leadership Development: I am working through a stack of books to grow in knowledge of pastoral ministry and theology. These books include Center Church, by Tim Keller, The Institutes of the Christian Religion, John Calvin, The Pastor’s Justification, by Jared Wilson, Planting Growing Churches, by Aubrey Malphurs, Outgrowing the Ingrown Church, by C. John Miller, Discovering Church Planting, by J.D. Payne, Christ-Centered Biblical Counseling, various authors, Van Till’s Apologetic, by Greg Bahnsen, The Distinctiveness of Baptist Covenant Theology, Pascal Denault.
4. Building a Core Team: This year, by God’s grace, we hope to build a core team of individuals who will help us plant a church. We hope to find those both from Redeemer and outside of Redeemer. It is vital that we have a strong and committed group who will labor with us as we seek to plant a church. So this year I’ll be meeting with people, casting the vision for our church plant, and helping the team become solidified and united.
5. Evangelism: Another vital aspect of my apprenticeship will be connecting with non-Christians and sharing the gospel with them. The plan is to engage in initiative evangelism, street preaching, and evangelism through relationships. I’ve already had some great opportunities to share the gospel with individuals that I’ve met and am eager to do this much more this year.
1. Pray that God refines me: Pray that I love God above all and keep my priorities in place: (1st God, 2nd wife, 3rd ministry). Pray that I grow in godliness and become more like Christ.
2. Pray for wisdom about location: We are praying about a location to church plant and are leaning towards Naperville. Pray for wisdom and guidance.
3. Pray for a core team: We are asking that God raises up a team of believers who are willing to sacrificially commit themselves to the church plant. Planting a church is extremely hard work, and we desperately need a diverse team made of people with various gifts and passions. Pray that God raises up the right people.
4. Pray for finances: I am hoping to receive funding through NAMB for this year of church planting while I continue to work bi-vocationally (teaching music and substitute teaching). Pray that this funding is approved and for generous folks who want to give to the church plant when the year is finished.