Church Planting Talk By Randy Draughon

A dear friend of mine, Randy Draughon, spoke at a Church Planter’s conference several weeks ago. I was really challenged by the message and wanted to pass it along. He shares an authentic approach to church planting that is moved by the spirit. If you are a church planter or thinking about planting you need to listen to this.

Here is the link: http://bit.ly/sEgWWy

 

 

Church Planting Task Management Software.


All of us have overflowing to-do lists. If you are like me, you are constantly trying to manage what is on your list and what you have already done. Complicating the issue are tasks that you share with other co-workers. Often there is as much time spend on sending each other emails about your work as doing the work itself. Group cooperation can be a maddening experience. Its even tougher when you have multiple people that you are assigning tasks too and you want to keep up on their progress without coming off as micro-managing. So how do you overcome the Task Management monster? More importantly, how do you overcome it on the cheap? My hope is that this will be helpful to all you church planters out there trying to lead your emerging teams.

This year we have more volunteer leaders and staff than ever. Our teams at Green Hills Church seem to be continually expanding. Our ministry is growing and we are trying to all stay sane and on the same page. As we have been trying to figure out the group task managing problem I commissioned my Administrative Director, and good friend Ben Stewart to come up with a solution.  What he has presented us is a task management software called Orchestra. You can check out their site at https://web.orchestra.com/#

Orchestra is completely free, has a mobile phone app and is very user friendly. You start by creating an account for each team member. It functions a lot like a Facebook Account. You then can assign tasks to other team members. They can accept or reject the task and you can see their progress. You can remind them to do the task by nudging them (a gentle reminder) or by sending them a note. You can also create subsets of tasks that are not shared globally so you can isolate your tasks to specific teams or even keep some of your tasks private.

The current drawback is that you cant upload and attach working documents and you can’t do file sharing between teams. But it is a great interface to use to communicate tasks and keep communication lines flowing.

Here is a picture of what the interface looks like.  

 

So if you are interested you can sign up at: https://web.orchestra.com/#

If this is helpful spread the word!

How To Develop Volunteer Leaders.

 

Every church need to reproduce leaders at every level. However, developing leaders not something that is easy to do. It takes a lot of time and effort to be able to develop leaders. I want to share with you how to develop leaders strategically in order to make a difference in your community.

This week we had a breakthrough Sunday at Green Hills Church. We had several key volunteer leaders who were out of commission. One had a medial condition that kept him from serving, another was on his honeymoon. These were guys who had been carrying the baton of leadership over the last 3 years. Instead of catastrophe we had something really exciting happen. We had several new volunteers step up and fill key roles that they had never filled before! These were not volunteers that showed up and were plugged into roles that they had never filled before, these were young men who had gone through an apprenticing process. It was exciting to see a new set of servant leaders spread their wings! From every ministry area we had new volunteers serving this past sunday.

As a church that depends on volunteers to set up and tear down our church every sunday it is a huge undertaking to do church every Sunday. We get to Cabana Restaurant in Nashville at 7 every morning and turn it from a high end nightclub into a church. We move tables, sweep and mop the floors and set up our sound system and children’s ministry. We can get it done usually in an hour. Over the years we have had certain key lay leaders who have led the charge sacrificially. But recently we have seen that we have needed some new blood to be able to continue ministering with excellence.

1. Recruit Relationally. The best volunteers are those who are your friends. I think the best place to recruit is among people who you are already friends with. Ask your volunteers to invite their friends to volunteer. Also remember that whomever you invite to your team is now a friend. I think many leaders do themselves a disservice by keeping people at an arms distance when they are working together. Many of my closest relationships have developed through serving alongside my volunteers.

The best way to recruit someone is to get to know them personally. Take them to coffee. Get to know their story. Invite them to join you in making a difference. I make it a point to personally recruit people when they indicate that they want to serve on one of the teams that I am personally leading. I have realized that men need someone to invite them personally to serve and tell them why they are needed.

2. Establish Parameters One of the temptations when you are recruiting someone is to be vague about what their responsibilities will be. Its easier to just shoot from the hip when you are dealing with volunteers. Personally I find that to be really lazy leadership. You will not develop or attract strong leaders that way. For every volunteer you need to clearly define what the role will be. You need to be able to answer the following questions for every volunteer you put in place. What will they do? How long will it take them to do it? Who do they report to? How do they request change? How long will they be committed to serve in this position? All these questions should be written down on a job description when you hire a volunteer.

3. Model the Role Leadership is caught more that it is taught. Your volunteers learn by your example. So make sure you set a good example in how hard you work. Set an example in how you deal with stress. Be active and diligent. Do the dirtiest jobs.

Volunteers should never be dropped into a servanthood position cold turkey. We do an apprenticeship for every role at Green Hills Church. We have someone shadow a volunteer at least one Sunday before they start to do the role on their own. Whether that is on our hospitality team or running sound we have people shadowing someone so they can replace themselves. What is so exciting about that is today we have multiple gifted leaders who run sound on a rotation. We have a list of volunteers who serve only once a month in our children’s ministry. We have a rotation of musicians who donate their time and talents to make a difference for the gospel.

4. Develop a community of servants People like to serve alongside their friends. We realize this and are trying to do things on Sundays that develop community while we serve. One of the things we have tried to do is to make sure that we all leave together. We make sure that we have a final time of prayer with our tear down team and then one of our members will close us in a cheer. On Sunday set up often the volunteer team will head out for coffee or breakfast after setting up. All these little things change serving from being a chore to being family.

5. Avoid the tyranny of the urgent.  It is so easy to short circuit a good process of volunteering because you need help today. I think being patient is the most important attribute to have when you are trying to develop volunteers. Often you can rush someone into a leadership position before they have fully committed to the role or before they are ready to lead. This causes more harm than good. Often you will lose other volunteers when your leaders crash and burn. The way you overcome the tyranny of the urgent is by projecting your future needs and sacrificing in the present.

Sometimes you have to do the hard work of sacrificing your own comfort right now so you can develop a great team. That may mean that you as the leader will have to do things you don’t want to do for a season. That is normal and healthy. Every leader has to carry the weight of their responsibility more heavily at times. If you remain patient you will reap a harvest that will pay off.

Projecting your future needs is vital to any volunteering effort. It takes time for people to commit to serving regularly. But developing volunteers is worthwhile. It gives people an opportunity to serve the kingdom and often gives them a platform for spiritual growth unlike everything else.

Feel free to add your suggestions on how to recruit and develop leaders in the comments!

Blog (Re) Focus

After some contemplation and deliberation, I have decided to refocus my blog around resourcing and encouraging Church Planters. Being someone who is in the midst of church planting I know how important it is to have good resources and best practices brought to light. My hope is that this will be a space where Church Planters can find really practical advice and ministry solutions as well as find encouragement when things seem bleak. Church Planting is not easy but it is the greatest calling a pastor can receive. Keep on fighting the good fight!

How to Practically do Missions

As Christians we know certain truths. God loves the world. God loves people. Jesus commissioned his followers to go to the ends of the world right before he went to heaven.

Although we know these truths intellectually we often struggle on how to accomplish them practically. How do we do missions well? How do we practically go on mission? What pitfalls are out there that we may fall into if we are journeying through the morass of modern missions unaware of our surroundings? Today I am going to lay out an easy step by step plan of how to prepare a mission team in hopes that it will help you go on mission with a game plan that is achievable and reproducible.

Step 1: Pray.

I know this step may seem really intuitive but it is a lot harder than it seems. You need to bathe your mission trip with prayer. You are going on the front lines of the conflict between God and his enemy Satan. You need to make sure you are hearing from God concerning where you should go and what you should do. Start by praying for a burden for a people group and a country. Often we approach missions by trying to do what others have done. That is a poor way to start the process of following God. Every great missionary movement has started by people asking God what they should do and then having the courage to follow God’s calling.

Step 2: Partner

Missions can be a daunting task. If you try to do missions alone you can find yourself  trying to pull off a huge vision with minimal resources. You need to find 2 different types of partners. First you need to find companion partners. That means finding people who will take the task on of going and doing the mission with you. I think it is helpful to have several churches taking on a project or mission together than one church or individual taking on a mission by themselves. Choosing to be a part of a denominational missions organization, church network like Acts 29, or the Impact Church Network allows you to do more in less time. Our church has partnered with the Impact Church Network and the IMB and has allowed us to do church planting and missions at a level far beyond our financial ability as a church plant.

The second type of partner you need to have are your “on the ground” partners. You need to have trusted people that you can serve. Usually these people handle most of the logistics for your team and handle the tasks that you will do. I think a key mentality you need to have concerning missions is that you serve your missionaries and help them. Often churches bring their own vision to a project and try to shoehorn missionaries into that vision. A church will have an idea that they become infatuated with but has nothing to do with what the missionary is already accomplishing. Although the missionary may accommodate their partner church, most mission trips like this are a waste of time and money.

It is really important when selecting a mission partner to know them well enough to trust their character. Unfortunately there are many unsavory characters out there that operate under the guise of being social workers and missionaries. It takes time to really distinguish if someone is trustworthy.

Step 3: Plan

It is really important to have a plan for your trip. If you have no objectives for your team you will likely be doing nothing but wasting your people’s time. It is my personal belief that mission trips should be focused on one of two objectives. A mission trip should be focused on either church planting or ministry to the least of these. You may ask what about evangelism. I believe evangelism should be done in both contexts. Evangelism is the reason for any trip.  If you are on a mission trip that does not share the gospel you seriously evaluate if this trip is worth doing.

Evangelism isn’t just going through the Romans Road or EE with people. There are many aspects of evangelism. I believe that a trip that creates contacts for a missionary or a church plant is a vital part of evangelism. We have had great success in gospel resistant countries by creating events that draw unchurched people into relationships with our church planters.

Mission projects that serve the underserved and do primarily humanitarian service opportunities are great first serve opportunities for people. Some of the projects our people have have done are construction, health clinics, well building, and orphan care. These trips are always really rewarding and usually our people walk away realizing how blessed they really are. I think the trick for leaders to is to make sure that people realize that humanitarian aid is not the end game. The gospel is what is most important. It is very important to teach your people that our good deeds should point people to Jesus. All the help we do for others is not because we are good people but because Jesus has changed our lives.  Matthew 5:16 says,In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Good works are not for our glory; instead they are signs that God has transformed us.

Step 4 Prepare

Preparing your team takes a lot more effort than most people realize. Here are some things you need to do to prepare your team.

  • Interest meeting: Have a couple of these meetings before you finalize your team. Its best to do them right after your church service.
  • Deposit: Sometimes people struggle with committing to a trip. I give people a deadline to sign up and I also ask for a deposit of $200 before they go.
  • Fundraising: your team likely has no idea how to fundraise. You are going to have to teach them how to do it well. A support letter followed by a phone call to close friend is a good way to start fund raising. I operate under the premise that if God wants people to go on a trip, he will provide the finances to go.
  • Deadlines: I like to give teams deadlines to get their money in. These are more of suggestions of when their money needs to be turned in. I like to get enough money to cover their plane ticket in by the end of the first month. That allows us to purchase the tickets at a group rate in advance.
  • Team Meetings: have 3-4 meetings before you go on your trip. Pray for your trip. Pray for the people that you will meet and share the gospel with. Teach your people how to share the gospel. Communicate what you are doing. Personally, when I am leading a trip, I like to host these meetings at my home. It allows me to invite my team members into my life and start bonding our team together.
  • Discipleship: you are discipling people on your trip. Give them stuff to lead. Make them lead a team devotional on the trip. It will allow them to learn how to lead a Bible study in a stress free environment. I also encourage you to give your team some books to read before they go on the trip. A great suggestion is the book “Brutchko” by Bruce Olsen.
  • Logistics:  Plan out your transportation, Plan your meals and lodging. Create budget for all your expenses. Make sure you have money for the airport taxes when you leave the country. Check on visas. Make copies of all the passports for your team. Check on security issues in your country and make sure your register your team with the state department before you leave.

Step 5 Play

Enjoy your trip. I think it is important to have fun on every trip that you go on. Make sure you plan 1 day to see the country that you are serving in. Many times people will fall in love with the country as they are enjoy the culture on the off day. If people fall in love with the country chances are they will return and serve again.

Step 6 Begin the process

Ok, I couldn’t come up with another word that came started with a P. I was on a roll there. The most important part of missions is doing it. It isn’t primarily a process or a plan. It is a lifestyle. I am so grateful to be at a church where God’s people are passionate for missions. A lot of what I do is just get out of the way and let God work in people’s lives. I find that when I serve as a cheerleader and champion for missions, people accomplish far more than I could ever imagine.

 

If you are a man watch this video

If you are a man and love Jesus you need to watch this video.  Then go find a church and give your life away.  If Jesus doesn’t come back in 1000 years, McDonalds wont exist, America will be a memory and every parachurch ministry on the planet will be dust.  But the church will remain. Jesus preserves his bride.  He said, I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XnN2PrIQijw&feature=player_embedded