In February, our family is moving to northern Virginia where I will be working out of New Life Christian Church with Passion 4 Community, while identifying the city for our future church plant. At the end of our first six months in Virginia, we will move to the city we identify for the church plant. The corridor for selecting a city is from DC to Charlestown, WV, and from the Potomac River south sixty miles.
We have discovered that most church planters (1) go to a city, (2) start a church, and (3) then ask the question, “How is our new church going to serve the community?” Our approach is the exact opposite; we are (1) going to a city, (2) asking the question “How can we serve the people of this community?”, (3) starting a faith-based organization to serve the people in that community, and then (4) planting a church that partners with the recently started faith-based organization to continue meeting the needs of people in the city. I will be the lead pastor of the church plant with an initial staff team of two or three other pastors. One of these pastors, from our team, will be with us for two or three years prior to being sent out to plant another church.
Once we move to the location of the church plant, I will start a three step process:
Step 1 -
I will answer the question, “How can we serve the people of this community?” by taking six months to meet with 150 city leaders to assess and identify the greatest needs of people in the community.
Step 2 -
I will hire a strong, missional leader to build and lead a new Passion 4 Community faith-based organization that meets the needs of people in the community that meets the identified needs of people in the community. For example, if the community has a sizable population of single moms, then we will build a faith-based organization to come along side single moms to help meet their relational, physical, parental, financial, emotional and spiritual needs.
Step 3 -
After starting the faith-based organization I will focus my full energies on establishing a new church in late 2009. This new church will partner with the new Passion 4 Community organization it birthed from to meet the spiritual needs of people in tangible ways.
What is the vision of the church we are planting?
The church we are planting is a church of irresistible love that restores people to God and others; a church whose people are just as committed to worshipping God in the marketplace as they are to worshipping God in the sanctuary; a church that births out of relationships and the shared mission of touching the contagious, befriending people who are lonely and relationally isolated, and partying with people who are far from God; a church that is committed to meeting the holistic needs of people; a church that goes to the people it longs to restore; a church that is committed to equipping and resourcing parents to be the primary spiritual influence in their children’s lives; a church that births out of living Jesus’ mission together.