The title of this blog is a question I am asked often. It makes perfectly good sense to ask the question. Churches are made up of people who meet together. Yes, that’s true. The worship service serves the goal to make and mature Jesus Followers. But getting to this point is not so simple and it takes time, especially when one parachutes into a new community like we are doing. So part of my work is to help people understand the strategy of planting a new church. The easiest answer to the question is, “Sometime early 2015.” This answer allows some flexibility as to when Resurrection Life Church would hold weekly worship services. Starting weekly worship services would actually be really easy. We can invite everyone we know to a Sunday morning worship gathering and hope for the best. We would work with that group of 20-40 and we could have a neat expression of church doing it that way. However, the reality is, if we desire to be self-sufficient which includes financial independence, then just opening up a worship service can have negative long-term effects. Lots of new churches start this way. Some are successful. Some are not. What often happens (and what does happen to most churches in North America) is that our church would have a hard time getting over the 70-100 membership hump. As one church planting coach puts it, most churches function with about 70-100 people. The pastor works more than full time on sermon preparation and pastoral care. The membership is maxed out with their time and energy. The budget is barely made. Growing beyond the 70-100 mark becomes so difficult because all the outreach energy used before the church meets weekly is now used up preparing sermons, songs, litanies, pastoral care, administration (too small to hire an office administrator), etc.
And so with all that being said, parachuting into a new community for the purpose of starting a new church takes a tremendous amount of patience. That’s why I think it’s important for me to communicate. It takes patience for all people involved in investing into this new church plant. We have moved beyond the ‘vision casting’ chapter, and we now reside in the ‘networking and gathering’ chapter. That means conversations with all sorts of people- people who know and follow the Lord already, churches who can connect us with more people, people who don’t know the Lord at all, and lukewarm adventurers who are seeking a different expression of church.
As I write all this, the point is not postpone meeting at all. Different expressions of meeting is the engine that leads up to weekly worship services with enough people with enough resources. Meetings like Bible studies, community grill outs, and children events are all ways that serve to feed into a leadership core, and eventually feed into weekly worship services. The most important element to this process is that people are growing up as followers of Jesus and understand the missionary vision set out for this church to be drawn to Jesus, challenged by his message, and released out as missionaries to southwest Wake County.