Here is a website I read often. It comes from the folks at Church of the Savior. I hope you find it helpful.
It took a lot of effort, but we got him. Rich turned 60 yesterday. On Sunday evening Seth and Laurie threw him a surprise party. They planned it a couple of months ago. They accidentally sent an evite to everyone that was in the office database – so if you got an evite and wondered why…there you go.
So many people knew about the party, nobody slipped and he was totally surprised….(a few people were worried he could have a coronary) we had a brilliant plan to get him to the Vineyard, he thought water was flooding the main room from the kitchen. On the drive there I asked if he thought our insurance would cover it to which he replied (in a very short, grumpy tone) “I don’t know Rose we just have to get there and see”. We pulled into the parking lot, (everyone parked away) there was no sign of 100 people in the main room, he flung open the door to 100 people yelling SURPRISE!!!! Laurie caught the moment….it was a great party…
Happy 60th Rich
I need to find the most updated info on the following:
1. Average church size in America – broken down by tradition would be best
2. Percentages by size
3. What are the percentages of churches in America that are actively involved (serving in some way) in their neighborhood or city.
This afternoon I go to this beautiful place until Saturday afternoon with about 35 women to laugh, cry, take in the beauty, laugh, eat, make space for God and one another…this is one of the highlights of my year. This is the view we have. We stay a few steps away from the beach (some of us will actually stay in a beach house literally on the beach). The scene is Useless Bay on Whidbey Island. The majestic Olympic Mountains are in the background. It is supposed to get in the 80’s the next two days…Perfect
HAPPY BIRTHDAY ERIKA!
My post for Jesus Creed is up today. Go take a look.
In light of this discussion I wanted to shout out to Scot McKnight. He is most generous about including women over at Jesus Creed, how? With his writing, his honest respect for women in leadership, the interaction in the comments, and he, more than any man I read, often invites women to guest post. I don’t know his stats, but I can guess he is one of the widest read blogs in the Evangelical tradition. Check out his current series Pastor’s Wisdom over the next two weeks while he is away in South Africa. Today my colleague and friend, Cindy is the guest blogger. I wrote a post for the series as well. Scot is a man that understands what is needed to change the structure. I appreciate Scot and Kris!
A change of pace for a moment:
I am in the midst of writing an eighty page paper documenting the process we have gone through to birth two mission groups. Hopefully we will have our website updated with more of our history in the next few months.
A mission group is a group of people that join around a passion to serve others, usually driven by one or more entrepreneurial leaders gathering a team. These leaders are joining their passion with some area of God’s redemptive purposes in this world. The group develops its own leadership, mission, purpose, values, and organizational structure. The group functions under the VCC board of directors until it reaches viability. Once the group and the Board agree it is time, the group spins off with its own 501c3 status and becomes an entity unto itself.
Our dream is that we would help birth multiple mission groups over time. We know of folks who instead of planting a conventional church are actually planting a mission group with the dream of a church being birthed in the midst of the mission. There has been great conversation about sustainable models of church in the past week or so. It is a much needed conversation. One way I believe we have to think about the future, no matter what size congregation we are is how to garner resources beyond our size. Church of the Savior has pioneered a way to bring the healing ministry of Jesus right into the neighborhood with their mission group model.
While not adhering exactly to the COS model, they gave us an imagination to what we perceive is God’s path for us. You see we began a journey about five years ago to discover why our church had a reason to exist. When we began to ask that question partnered with inquiring prayer, our vision of what it meant to “be” the church was forever changed.
We are only five years into our journey toward what we now name as our grand experiment. I wrote a piece for Scot McNight’s Jesus Creed blog that will be posted sometime in the next few weeks while he and Kris are in South Africa. It is a short piece on how and what we focus on as a congregation so I won’t go into that here. I will link to it when it is up at Jesus Creed.
Bullet points for my paper:
We decided to grow a church big rather than grow a big church
Mission group development, includes those dreadful words from the 90’s; mission, vision, values. Somehow in the mission group context they are life giving if you want to be faithful to the mission.
Leadership – what kind of leadership within the church is required to let go of control enough to let others run with their passion and vision. This seems to scare pastors. We are often asked (sincere) questions that reflect this fear: how do you make sure leaders of mission groups stay on track with your vision? What about resources, do they take away from people giving to the church or serving in the church? Our vision is to “incubate” kingdom activity through those that are responding to God for the sake of the world. The mission group model has shown us that there are resources of not only money, but time and talent beyond what our local church could ever provide. The amount of resources that are available when you invite people to partner for a grass roots cause continues to amaze me.
There is a need for structure to organize around the mission. We are a mysterious blend of organic community and organizational structure for the work of the kingdom.
All kinds of people get to play. Those that follow Christ and those that wonder about following Christ but in the meantime want to make the world a better place work together for kingdom purposes.
We partner and collaborate with the City, the School District, Social Service Agencies, the local Food Bank, the County Housing Authority and many other sectors of our city. We are at the table where the needs and resources of our community are discussed and then addressed as best they can in collaboration to make the “community livable again”.
More later including:
Some specifics in mission group creation, including financial sustainability.
How a congregation moves through the kind of change necessary to cultivate incubating passion for God’s healing in our world…incubating, or the term “birthing” is interesting. My friend is a doula, she has a lot of stories for walking alongside a woman giving birth. I, myself have given birth tree times and my husband’s first wife, Wendy was a mid-wife. He witnessed the pregnancy process and birth of hundreds of babies. The birthing metaphor is fitting for where our journey has taken us these past few years and very metaphoric for where we are heading.