The purpose and plan of discipleship in many churches is unclear, unfocused, and unreliable. Programming will change constantly and the themes we emphasize vary wildly. It leaves people confused or exhausted, and leadership flabbergasted. What we propose is not complicated, but it does require the hard work of clarity, discipline, and consistency.
But first, let’s go back to basics and re-imagine discipleship by asking three simple questions adapted from the book, Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek. The questions are WHY, HOW, and WHAT.
Paul May is a church planter in metro Washington D.C., now starting his 2nd plant. Here’s what Paul said recently about having a Gospel Coach:
“My coaches didn’t just give me advice, but came alongside me as older brothers. They walked with me through hard conflict and painful losses, and celebrated with me at personal successes and when we saw God do big things. While I’ve been blessed by many godly pastors generous with their prayer, friendship, and counsel, I’ve found that having someone walk with me and remind me of the gospel continually is what has kept me married and in ministry, and I’m convinced it’s had a significant role in the fruit produced in our first and now second church plant.
“The main content of CMM coaching is how to apply the gospel to the heart of the planter. So being coached was the beginning of a journey for me of learning the A-Z part of the gospel and applying to my life in ways I didn't know I needed. Kind of like when you buy a new vacuum and you realize how much the old one sucked--or didn’t, rather. My wife and I have learned that we need these kinds of relationships in our lives continually, and it’s opened new pathways of conversation in our marriage, with our children, and with those we disciple. Gospel Coaching has helped me grow more and more towards being the spiritual leader I’m called to be, both of my household and over the household of God."
Remember, you don’t have to be alone in ministry. At CMM, we believe every pastor, church planter, ministry leader, and missionary is created to thrive in ministry. Click here to download your FREE eBook “Gospel Centered Discipleship” today!
A CMM C.R.O.S.S. Coach will help walk with you through the challenges in church ministry that you’ve never faced before.
Team ministry has been written about a lot. Whether in the business community, medical community, start-up companies, large corporations, military or education, teams are the way to go. But it has not always been so in the church. Today, more and more churches see the value of forming ministry teams who work together toward a common outcome. Search for “Team Ministry books” at Amazon.com and you will find over 300 titles. You can find practical help for doing ministry as a team or working with teams in the church through a variety of sources.
Since many of you have been raised in an educational system that thrives on learning groups or work groups, from elementary education on up, you might have experienced a close relative of teams. Work groups are similar, but not the same as teams. You most likely have been part of a small group that studies together. Again, it is similar but not the same.
Most of what is in the marketplace about team ministry is utilitarian in nature. It is as if the whole purpose of team ministry is to get some job done in the best, most efficient way.
The Bible makes it clear that teams did not originate with a business guru, but first in the Trinity. God himself exists and functions as a team (Gen. 1:26). He is The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit. God is love because God is a Trinity (team). The Triune God worked together in Creation and it is the Triune God (team) that worked in bringing salvation and renewal. God is generous, creative, serving, and saving because He is a Trinity. We were created to exist and function as a team (Gen. 1:27, 28). Your family is a team.
We also discover that teams are the basic building blocks for the church (Mk. 3:14; Acts 1:15,26). Teams bring together a diversity of gifts and are the best place for disciple-making. Teams were put together for mission in church planting (Acts 13). In the local church, team members should be committed to one another’s relational, personal, missional, and spiritual growth and health. They must see themselves as mutually responsible and accountable for one another.
Teams have the potential to be one of the most powerful drivers of planting and growing a healthy reproducing church. However, teams simply don’t just happen. They take time to mature. They require proper leadership.
Click here to download your FREE ebook "The Trinity Teaches Teamwork" and consider the 3 keys for developing teamwork in your new church.
At the end of each year, it seems that everyone goes into giving mode. We can choose from thousdans of different opportunities to help those in need, whether that's giving canned goods, toys, and clothes to your local charities or giving money to a cause half way around the world.
Have you ever stopped during this busy season to consider that generosity is not the same as stewardship?
In a Church Plant, the Church Planter and leadership team have the opportunity, from the very beginning, to communicate, model, motivate and challenge the new members and attendees to look to the Great and Generous God, who graciously gave us all things, including His Son. In fact, a new Gospel-saturated church should encourage generosity because it is the core of the gospel. A friend graphically proclaimed once, “Jesus left the most prestigious, richest, Gated Community in the Universe, and became poor so that we might become rich.”
Many Church Planting pastors are realizing the great value of creating a pervasive culture of generosity that is capturing the hearts of their members and connecting their wide range of resources with needs in specific and meaningful ways by living out a value of the gospel: generosity. They are discovering that the power of money has enslaved an entire generation and the promise of the gospel can bring freedom and joy.
Why is generosity so important?
Generosity is a gospel issue. It is at the heart of the gospel of grace. Grace is another word for generosity. God is a generous God and the source of all our generosity. What is the goal? To help God’s people to live out the gospel by becoming more generous. Generosity is more about the need of the giver to give than the recipient to receive.
Developing the generosity of Believers in your Church Plant will mature them in the Gospel and bless them with the joy of being generous with their finances and their lives. Unfortunately, many in the church today are actually living in “affluent poverty.” Giving money is one of the greatest areas of need people have in their spiritual journey.
Stewardship: A steward is a manager of someone else’s property. God owns all that we have. We are simply managers of His property and wealth. Biblical stewarding is managing God-given resources for accomplishing His purposes in this world. Christians therefore must live as stewards, using the power we have over creation through our money for God’s causes. We do that controlled by the thought that “my money is God’s.” We are obliged to give. We are God’s investment managers.
Generosity: it is NOT Stewardship.
Generosity is much more than financial stewardship and tithing. It is about living generous lives in response to God’s overwhelming generosity to us. Money is ours by God’s grace and when we give it away joyfully, it comes to others like God’s grace being given freely to them.
So how can we develop a culture in our new church that encourages, practices, promotes and excels in the grace of giving throughout every month, year after year? Download your FREE eBook “Planting a Generous Church” today!
Dr. Tom Wood
I've been in the Church Planting business my entire career. I want you to know, you don't have to plant a church alone!