Our Biblical Vision for Being Missional
The following is taken from a booklet distributed at our church wide meeting on May 20th, 2007 entitled "A Biblical Vision for a Missional Church".
Mission and Vision for Growth
Our purpose as a church is to make disciples of Jesus who glorify God by following Christ daily.
If we are faithful to that purpose, and to Christ, we will most likely continue to grow. So how do we approach our vision and strategy for growth?
What kind of church do we see ourselves becoming and how will that affect the decisions we make today?
The most common approach to growth in our culture is for churches to invest a lot of money in land, move out to the outskirts of town and build bigger and bigger buildings to centralize their ministry. This is often called the "mega-church model".
But that model is increasingly being questioned on both Scriptural and practical grounds. Young people, new Christians and non-Christians in particular find it increasingly unappealing because it tends to create a culture of slick professionalism which markets the faith to a crowd of church shoppers. It tends to stress control over community and a smorgasbord of programs for anonymous consumers over authentic discipleship in a connected fellowship. New Christians and non-Christians are increasingly saying that when they look for spiritual answers they want something authentic and spiritual not slick, pre-packaged and super-sized.
Is there a different way to dream of reaching many people and seeing significant growth? Yes.
Two questions to address:
1) Our philosophy of ministry. 2) Our philosophy of facilities.
We are a church that is committed to Christ, to historic Christian faith, to the centrality of Christ, the authority of the Word of God, to dependence on the Holy Spirit, to ministry, creativity, justice, mission, community, theology, authenticity, accountability, worship, prayer and the glory of God. But to go into all of that is unnecessary, we do that often in sermons and classes, in our bylaws, and Discovery class.
This booklet will focus on two issues as they relate to our growth and our building.
1) Our philosophy of ministry
Key concept: Our purpose with respect to ministry is not to super-size but to multiply.
Key Statement regarding ministry:
Our vision will be best served, not by trying to become one more mega-church but by aspiring to become a movement of multiple and multiplying ministries: a movement of multiple services, multiple campuses and multiple congregations that share a common set of values and distinctives.
Why a strategy of multiplying instead of super-sizing?
1. We simply sense this as God's calling for our particular church fellowship in light of our values and distinctives as informed by the Scriptures and prayer.
2. We believe this is actually the best and most biblical way to reach more non-Christians, and at the same time develop and deepen Christian discipleship amongst those who already believe.
Numerous studies have shown that a strategy of growing through multiplication; that is multiple services, sites and congregations, is especially effective at three key purposes.
A. Reaching non-Christians.
B. Developing more people in discipleship and ministry.
C. Enabling the church to retain a sense of community while continually reaching out to new people in obedience to the great commission.
The second issue to address is,
2). Our philosophy of facilities
Key concept: Our purpose with respect to facilities is not to super-size but to maximize.
Key Statement regarding facilities:
If our ministry vision focuses on multiplication we do not need a facility large enough to house a mega-church but we do need a facility that is sufficient to serve as a base for multiplying ministry throughout our community.
As we looked at the facilities issue in light of the ministry philosophy some of the issues we felt we needed to address were as follows
1. Providing a modest increase in seating capacity to enable us to be a "base church" without the cost and demands of building; compromising our ministry and mission.
2. Increasing administrative and educational space to meet "base church" needs.
3. Maintaining sufficient parking and traffic flow to meet the needs of our congregation.
4. Creating more gathering space, an enlarged kitchen, lobby, multi-use space, and ladies bathroom space.
5. Balancing the cost of building with projected increases in the cost of other ministry priorities.
Planning for Multiplication
The first step is what we are doing now with regard to our building plans.
• Expand the present worship area, lobby and ladies restroom to the North.
Increased seating will be addressed by extending the overflow seating area the entire width of the church and add on to the North end of the worship area bringing it out to the present Handicap parking spaces. This will give us 100 extra seats. Common areas, ladies restrooms, and hopefully kitchen space could be addressed in this expansion also.
• Build a two story multi-purpose addition on the South West corner of our property just South of the worship area.
The increased need for administrative facilities, educational rooms, storage, etc. would be addressed primarily through the multi-purpose building on the South end of the Worship area. This can also add extra seating in an alternative worship venue option.
A second step is to commit to an intentional season of prayerful investigation.
We've already begun this process but we need to let it play out. During this time we will deepen our knowledge base on the staff with regard to both church planting and multi-site ministries. Several of our staff attended the Global Church Advancement, National Church-Planting conference in February of 2007. We've already begun communicating with and visiting other churches who are involved in various approaches to multiplication. We held an elder/staff retreat where we prayed about and discussed our options and shared them with the FBS classes in February. We believe it is wisest to wait until this season of investigation is completed before we complete our planning.
The third step is to launch our ministry of multiplication using proven models that are backed by knowledge and bathed in prayer.
Although we are still learning about all of this, we've already seen some models for church planting that seem to be widely used with great success. The most attractive model I've seen for this has been one in which an apprentice church planter is brought on to the base church staff for a season.
During this time he will work part time in a ministry at the base church while devoting the rest of his time to researching where and how to develop the future ministry. He also uses this time to recruit a team from the base church, to develop a plan and build a core. This is all done under the supervision and support of the base church. Then he launches the ministry. There are many reasons to suggest that, at first, this would be an off-site campus as an extension of the base church. When it develops to a point of adequate self-sufficiency, it transitions from an off-site campus to a sister church.
A church planting church is one in which we are always planting a church, or thinking about and planning where we will plant the next one. It becomes a culture and we build a movement.
Charts, Graphs, and Blueprints
3 Year Plan: Chart 1 jpg
12 Month Building Plan: Chart 2 jpg
Church Planting Timeline: Chart 3 jpg
Funding Plan: Chart 4 jpg
Booklet from Meeting: PDF