Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Thoughts on Restarts

Ok, back to business!

Recently I was asked a few questions by someone who is considering leading a church through a restart. These are great questions and things I'm working through a bit myself at the moment, so it was good timing. (If they give me permission, I'll update this post with their information and more background on their situation)
: He did. Check out Loren Hicks, a campus pastor at UCLA, and originator of the great questions!

I may look at a few of these in a more indepth way in future posts, but for now I'm just throwing them all out there at one time.

Now I know that there are some great church planters/pastors out there who occasionally drop by this blog who have a wealth of knowledge & experience. What would you guys add to my thoughts, here? I could use some fresh thoughts, also!

Here are the questions and my responses.

I think that even though this is a restart, that the best success will come from thinking like a church planter.

1. In a church plant/restart like this, what would you consider as the critical success factors?

Here are some things I would be shooting for:
  • A clear and compelling vision that you can share passionately.
  • Complete "buy in" to the vision of at least 90% of the original group. (It is very likely that you'll lose at least 10% of that group, anyway. Focus on who you will be trying to reach even more than who is already there.)
  • Financial base raised/committed before "relaunching." (sounds like you're on the road there, already)
  • Evangelistic/Outreach strategy that builds "pre-launch" momentum.
  • Strong, unified leadership team and structure.
  • Good, thorough understanding of the area, the people, and the culture. What are the felt needs?
  • Critical mass at the official "relaunch." Shoot for over 100 people in attendance. This will completely change the old landscape and establish momentum and excitement about the new direction of the church.
2. What would you consider the initial steps in a restart to be? (some of these repeat/flesh out the above items)
  • If you have never had a church planter's assessment done, it could be very helpful to discover your personal strengths and challenges you may need to work on before beginning.
  • Answer the following questions in your own heart in a way that can be communicated with authority and passion:
  1. Is there a need for a "new" church in this area at this time?
  2. Is there anything distinctive about our church?
  3. Are there people who will not be reached by anyone else unless we reach them?
  • Completely "survey the land" - Know everything you can about the area.
  • Develop a "prospectus" that includes a timeline, budget, and your vision & values.
  • Gather/build the leadership team to realize the vision. (Get the wrong people off of the bus and the right people on the bus and in the right seats, ala the book, "Good to Great")
  • Develop/enlist a prayer team.
  • It may be a good idea to consider creating a whole new identity for the church. New name/logo/etc.
  • Develop a marketing (think: "how to communicate the greatest news in the world and who we are as a church" to the community) plan. Include everything from newspaper articles to service projects to advertising.
3. Do you have any suggestions on looking for a leadership team? Would you look for a certain criteria?
  • Start by considering people that you already know and have worked with in the past.
  • Bill Hybels suggests looking for CIA: Chemistry, first, Integrity second and Ability third. I would also add that you should look for people who understand your vision, values & where you're going - and want to go with you.
  • Consider enlisting a designer/visuals/media person, a volunteer coordinator and a community relations coordinator to the team.
4. Are there any resources you would point us towards?

You may be familiar with all of these, but here's a start:
Well, there are certainly more things to consider, (and many, many more resources) but I hope these are helpful. Please let me know how things go, and I pray God's best for you, your family, and the church God has put on your heart!

Grace & Peace,


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