Sun, May 09, 2021
Today is some large-scale vision thoughts and pastoral musings from having been with 30 of our people for a week of learning and dreaming, with a couple informational items.
Notes & Thoughts from Church Leaders Conference 2021
A couple weeks ago, we took 31 FCC Staff, Elders, Leaders, & Residents to the Church Leaders Conference (churchleadersconference.com) at Watermark Church in Dallas. We initially got connected with them because we use some of their resources—re:generation and Marriage Ministry—but we’ve also been going to their conference for a number of years because it is quite cheap and fun compared to most, they make all their staff and ministries available for the entire week, and it’s a great time of bonding for our leaders. We have grown to love and trust Watermark as a church from which we can learn a lot. (Really. They’re smart, Biblical, way deeper than you’d think from the outside, and they do ministry in a way that equips their laypeople really well.) So, a few post-conference thoughts, in bullet-point form…
- First, a special note of thanks, to all who went and took off from work, funded some/much/most of their way, and also to FCCers who faithfully Pursue generosity. In past years we’ve used budget money earmarked for staff professional/convention/continuing education and not taken a bunch of additional laypeople. So thank you for contributing to help make this happen. We had a great time!
- Second, totally random, but our own Wesley News made the Watermark promo feed with this doozy…
- A few quotes:
- “Ideas have consequences. Bad ideas have victims.”
- “Just because you’ve grown old in Christ doesn’t mean you’ve grown up in Christ.”
- “Trust is gained in drops and lost in buckets.”
- “If you’re still breathing, you still have a race to run.”
- “Healthy churches see feedback as an act of love.”
- “The question, ‘What does the Bible say about that?’ must run through everything you do.”
- A few (ok, many) post-CLC personal thoughts and observations (and they’re just thoughts, not gospel truths about our direction, future, etc.):
- Note: No, we cannot do even half the following things well quickly, (and maintain adequate focus on the things we do that need further development), but we can do many of them well over the span of many years. Remember, friends, a community of all-in Jesus followers who love their community well takes time to take shape. But, I’m excited thinking about how God may want to use us together to Help Greene County find and follow Jesus.
- We must continue to find ways to integrate our existing youth and young adults into church life early and often. Our multisite campus launching strategy already accounts for this, in theory, but we need to continue to fight this important battle. I mean, think about it… With the continued dissolution of the extended family, where else on the planet other than the church do young people come into regular contact with older people in a way that passes on generational wisdom and strength?! Anyway… There was a lot of discussion among our crew re what it might look like for us to start a ministry to college and young adults. I’ve got thoughts, and they’re taking shape, and they wouldn’t involve recreating the wheel, and some people are already nodding yes to a number of magnet-over-the-sand conversations. Pray for God’s direction here.
- We need to do better training and supporting lay leaders about what committed long-term local church ministry is like, not just for learning and training, but for encouragement to stay the course.
- We need to continue to emphasize The Big 3 of Engage in worship., Serve on the team., and Connect in a small group. as the (Yes, I know, keeping the Habits stated as active sentences may be creating for you all sorts of internal grammatical tensions! Nathan and Wes, please note. We haven’t been retaining this Style Sheet convention of Habits as active sentences.) Anyway… At our size and with our vision, if our people are not meaningfully involved in The Big 3, receiving care from Serve Team Leaders and Small Group Leaders, not only will our current strategy to launch campuses and reach our community not work, but most importantly, our people will not grow as they, and our community, need.
- We need to celebrate every baby in worship, across campuses. The US is 6 straight years of not replacing itself, which is a worldwide trend among developed countries. God’s command of “be fruitful and multiply”, in biological terms, is of more importance for the flourishing of society than most think. (Charity & Creative Team, ask me re this.)
- Re:gen and Marriage Ministry are secret sauce ministries that develop spiritual health in ways that more of our people need to experience and we need to hold fast to the idea that our leaders have been through re:gen. It’s that important.
- We must continue to work toward helping young parents, single parents, young families, singles, etc.
- We have to be a voice, home, and church for foster, adoptive, and widow needs.
- We have to mentor young people.
- We need to celebrate faithful service more. (Btw, the Team Bash is a great way we do this! Coming up soon. You do not want to miss it. It’s a really fun and important cross-campus and entire-family pow wow where we thank God for the last two years (#bccovid) of our peoples’ faithfulness to serve.) This place doesn’t work without people saying yes to all sorts of Tennessee-like (and, well, Jesus-like) motivation to be a #volunteer!
- We need to push back at the cultural trend toward laziness and luxury that pays for the professionals to do the work and work harder, as a staff and leaders, on building the team and equipping the saints for the work of ministry (Eph 4:11-16). We have to build good teams.
- We need to finish our new website and promote the bejeebers out of it. There are lots of new people in our area, and they need a good church.
- The 7 Habits need to be verbalized by us, more often, in more contexts, in sermons, in youth ministry, in the Sermon Study Guide and Life Group discussion questions, etc. Lack of that is mostly my fault. Same with Leadership Pipeline.
- Another FCC vision thought… We need to further integrate #ForGreene thinking and motivation into our existing 7 Habits vision. If God’s people do not have a vision for keeping their community strong and healthy , who will? Who else other than well-fed and well-connected Christians are willing to personal sacrifice and suffer, over the long-term, for the sake of their community? Any lack of this is likely mostly my fault, too.
- We need to raise the bar for membership. Way too many people think mere intellectual assent to basic doctrinal beliefs is the essence of being a Christian and they are missing out on the long-term project of personal growth through our 7 Habits. (We should probably also make the lack of this my fault, too.)
- I think the time to strike with a leaner and more agile campus launching strategy, that results in smaller campuses with more personal attention, is way sooner than some may think we are ready for, #bccovid. While Covid obviously isn’t a reason to launch foolishly, it may just be what forces us to learn to launch smaller, leaner, with a modified vision of our Campus Constants.
- If we don’t continue to raise the bar for personal spiritual disciplines in our peoples’ lives, emphasizing Habit 4: Pray and study the Bible., all of these aforementioned things will be done in our own strength, unwisely, and as perverted self-salvation projects. If you don’t have a deep and abiding daily walk with God, you absolutely will not do the Christian life from a place of joy and contentment, but self-righteousness and spiritual emptiness.
Factors in Launching Campuses (in order of priority)
Since we’ve got a slew of new FCCers who weren’t with us when we worked toward launching multi, and we’re talking toward launching leaner and smaller, figured I’d share the rubric the Elders use in discussing factors that help us wisely launch. Though we have already been talking about our fitness and readiness to launch a 3rd campus sometime this Fall (no earlier than early September), this isn’t some sorta announcement. It’s just letting ya know we don’t do things haphazardly, and letting ya know we are constantly asking questions like this in our assessment of preparedness. Please pray with us for God’s leading. We don’t want to move ahead too quickly, nor too slowly, but at the least, as wisely as we can!
- Right Campus Pastor? — “They” (the multisite and campus launching experts) say this is the #1 factor in the health of a campus. We’re working on it. We’ve got people… and ideas… and are working on taking them to a Campus Pastor Assessment soon. Please pray for us in this endeavor.
- Right Place? — This is not just about the venue itself, but also about whether the place fits with our school adoption strategy. Baked into our campus launching strategy is the idea that we “adopt” a local school and the Campus Pastor spends 20% of his time leading the campus to do outreach to, in, and around that school. Not only that, but we direct budget money there. Cool, huh?!
- Enough Leaders (Coaches/Serv Ldrs)? — Do we have enough folks who know, from having done so at a previous campus, how to help train folks at a new campus?
- Enough Doers? — Every such endeavor needs folks who will just plain help get things done and who aren’t called to lead people.
- Enough Money? — Don’t wanna launch unwisely, but as leanly (Is that a word?) as possible, accounting not just for equipment needed, but also for some additional staffing required. We are doing well here, have some money in the bank, are running a surplus of $25k YTD (INC v EXP), and are just a smidge ahead of budgeted need, but adding a 3rd campus, even if “small”, isn’t a minor change! So we are constantly monitoring financial health and readiness. Thank you for practicing Habit 5: Pursue generosity.
- What needs to be nailed before scaled? — Since campus launching is about scaling existing systems, are there any areas that need work now, before launching another campus? Yeah, we’ve got a couple. We’re working on ‘em.
- Can we do all these things in a way that creates new vacuums (opportunities for growth) at existing locations without destroying their ability to continue to grow? — This very important question involves the overall integration of everything! Being a church that is a campus launching strategy is about creating leaders and developing people through 7 Habits that are practiced in doing so. That means we don’t necessarily launch “when totally ready” and we don’t launch “when largely unprepared”.
Bond Between Us Class Has Relaunched
Our seniors began meeting again on Sunday mornings at 10a, at our Greeneville campus. Special thanks to David Walters and a few others who have made this happen! I peeked in and said hi. It was good to see a few familiar faces who haven’t been around a while! Thanks for the brownies. ;o)
Updates: Brown Bags & Bibles (& Books!) & Coffee Convos & Monday Morning Missives
In BB&B(&B!) this week, we dive into week 2 of what will likely be 3, for a book review of Finally Alive, by John Piper (https://youtu.be/Nd75c_BHoz8). Free digital copy at desiringgod.org/books. We’re taking a deep dive into the biblical doctrine of regeneration.
As we’ll be posting a new MMM tomorrow morning on the socials and the app, it would be helpful if you would Like and Share, to encourage someone to engage with God in His Word this week. It’s nothing amazing, but just a quick 2-minutes devotional thought. Themes will change over time, but I’m likely gonna be going on a “The Word does the work” jag for a good while.
Last Wednesday’s Coffee Convo, episode #22, was with Chuck Bowlin, FCC Elder and Aftonite. Catch up to learn more about Chuck, his family, vocation, and the story of God’s work in his life. It’s good stuff, available on fb.com/fccgreene/live, YouTube, or our app, under “Watch”.
Friendly Reminder that you can find BB&B, CC, and MMM on the app, under “Watch”, which is where you can also find sermons, and content for re:generation, 180 Youth and Kids! Also, did you know you can watch or listen and even adjust the speed, on the app?! I do everything at 1.5x speed, #bcadderall, but you do you.
Update: Pine Cove City & Team Bash
- We are seeing more registrations, donations, and host homes step up for Pine Cove City, which is great–thank you for jumping in–but we are nonetheless a bit behind on, well, registrations, donations, and host homes! We need people to help us host some of the 35 PCC young adults who come make PCC happen. See the PCC tables at both campuses for more info. Also, see the 2019 highlights video and more at fccgreene.org/pcc.
- Team Bash is coming up fast, Sun, Jun 13, 6-8p! We’ve got really cool plans for our Bluegrass & BBQ themed Bash at The Shed (across from Food City on Snapps Ferry Rd)! Bean & Bailey are back. Monroeville is playing bluegrass. We will have BBQ. It’s all free. And our staff make it all happen, as a thank you for being on Team FCC! So, if you serve in any capacity, with any frequency, or you helped out that one time at that one thing, or if you haven’t begun serving, or you aren’t particularly interested in serving, or you consider us your church home and you breathe, then come join us because it’s a great time together. More info and 2019 highlights video at fccgreene.org/teambash.