WWYD, What would you do ,#1.
November 24, 2008, 18:45
Filed under: What would you do? | Tags: , , ,

This is an invite!  Open armed, no right answers. It is a way for me to get advice or check myself.  I propse a situation and ask you,”What would you do?” .  You know WWYD? [and I do not mean Yeshua!]  You can ask yourself  ‘what would Jesus do?’, but then tell me based on that if that is how you do it,  What would you do?    Here we go, and this happened to me.

Some one hands you the keys to a church.  It comes with piano, organ , nice enough building with great parking, moveable pews, total seating for 100, and about 8 new Christians, one couple from a fundementalist/legalist background and a couple seekers. All the officers quit and leave with costs of$750.00 per month and a balance of $7000.00 available to you.   The downside, the basement has been flooded twice in 3 years and there is no leadership, none.  The church was started by the SBC in the 70’s and went down hill ever since.  There is no lock to stay with SBC, if you do you are one of 20 SBC churches in a 17 county area of 1.7 million people, fully half of those people are RC.  There are no rules, no existing culture, no one will get mad at your ideas, do what you want.

So here are the keys, you’re up! What do you do? What worship style, what bible, what meetings,  what vision?  I can’t wait to read the comments!

10 Comments so far
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Great question! I don’t think I could answer it fully without more info on the community. The style of worship would depend on the local culture and what would reach them. So I’m guessing not traditional. Of course, if I’m starting with very little it might take awhile to have a “full worship service” with the music that would be best. In the meantime I’d meet with the people that are there and cast a new vision for them. Together we’d figure out what God’s calling us to do in that community.

Thanks for the imput Marcus, What is the sourse for that cast a new vision thing? I have heard a lot of things like that with SBC. No critisim, just wondering the source. I like the thought process, learn about the community, allow the worship to develop, Be a leader with a Vision. Hmmm, that is kinda what happened, wish I was smart enough to have predicted it like that! Good on ya!

Comment by Marcus

I would take the church through a strategic refocusing process. Most of the steps are described here including free downloadable manuals. Our church district requires it of every church that is on a district subsidy, and it has to be redone by every church calls a Pastor. It helps ensure that the church has a vision and a direction and that the vision of the Pastor and the church fit together.

By the way, I feel your pain. I have been involved in starting several churches and have helped close two. Although SBC churches have autonomy, having someone else available who knows your situation really helps.

From reading what you have written I hear two things. 1. As leader you were able to grow the church. 2. The controlling triumverate are no longer around. Am I correct in this?

Correctamundo Mike. We have been greatly blessed. It has been four years and we have grown. Not Mars Hill growth, but we get forty at average service and hit sixty on high days. We never took SBC money, which would have been less than $400 and come with a degree of accountability. It was not avoidance of the accountability, it was that we chose to trust in God to keep us going, not an allowance. I was active in the North East Pa. Baptist Assoc., and a couple brothers there gave me great strength.
So I get from your post you would use the tools available to you thru CMA, kool beans! sorry about the closing churches, ouch, that must have been painful.

Comment by Eclectic Christian

thanks for stopping by the blog! not sure what your comment of in light of means?!?! but hey what ever

i agree with marcus. its one of the many ways for church planting. i don’t have any experience in “church planting” but in cultural out reach projects.

1. what does your community need?
what are the needs that are not being met, by the government or other ‘brothers and sisters’ in Christ.
What is the demographics of race, economics, schooling and so on, Helps you see what your dealing with and how you can move forward

2. What is already in place?
you don’t want to do what is already being done, you know no need to re-invent the wheel.

3. be unique, but be relevant to what that culture needs.
don’t be gimickie, but show the people the reality of the Good News

4. Know what the people don’t need?
Another building, where selfish ‘christians’ gather to talk about Gods love and compassion but do nothing with the truth or the action it calls us to live by.

5. Have a Vision!!!
Nehemiah my friend, read it, own it believe own it. Nehemiah through Gods call got the materials he needed, and equipped the people of God to do the building. here is a great sermon on the topic

lastly just a reminder of things…
do you have your wife and kids FULL support in this, is it what God is calling you to…who out side of God and family is going to support you?

now if it was me with the situation…depending on the demographics i would sell the land, if all i had was 7,000 and bills of 750 a month, with only 5-8 members coming through. or look at leasing the area during the week to have some extra income in order to raise funds.

would ditch the pews (to 1600th-1999s) which would allow for greater usage of the area

as for denomination…thats a tough road…you can get some support from other churches in that denom…but it can also close some doors with people and open them with others

but if someone handed me the keys to a church… i would ask them why and probably give the keys right back. I am a teacher, pastor, prophet, spiritual formation director of sorts… not a church planter….where ever God and his people are there is the church…

GREAT RESPONSE! Just what I was looking for!
Great questions that just have to be asked. Driscoll was a great sourse to me. The first sermon series was Nehemiah! I just listened to the link you sent me, thank you, and will listen again. Brit, I am blessed with support. When I so egotisticaly say I, I mean we. My wife has been in the thick of this from day one. She recently took a break of a month and a half, and she needed it. In year one she was treasurer, a job she rejoiced to pass on. My kids are now 20 and 21. The younger is our lead singer, the oldest is in college down the street and just got married in the church.
We changed the name so the denomination thing doesn’t pop up on the surface, few people up here know what SBC means. The Pew thing must be generational, young guys just hate pews! Ours are portable benchy things, so they get moves easily. Boy did I think about dumping the land, but that could be another post. Thanks for the intellegent Godly post.

Comment by Brit Windel

The tools I mentioned to you are also available to you for download. I would seriously consider downloading them and taking a look at them. If you wanted some assistance in how to use them I would be glad to be of assistance, or it is quite likely that the District Superintendant Ron Bonar, or Assistant District Superintendant Steve Conway, would likely be happy to spend some time with you on the phone going through them. Mention that they were recommended to you by Mike Bell from Waterdown Alliance. (One of the churces that closed.) The tools include a congregational survey (X2), a Pastor’s survey, a community survey, a demographic study, and a leadership survey. It then tells you how to compile this information into something that is meaningful and from which you can start developing a vision that is going to work for you, your church, and your community.

I am going to check the supplies available out, but for the purpose of the question here your answer is “Use available resources from a trusted source” good answer and I used SBC material to a degree. It wasn’t a great resource, so again I will check out what you offer, thank you. Some might start their whole independent work. I see the value in community as do you.

Comment by Eclectic Christian

I’m not a pastor, or in leadership, or a church-planter, nor am I well read on any of the growth methods and demographics analysis. I’m just a sheep. So my suggestion may be a little different.

Have a meal. Center your gathering around a meal. Open it to whomever shows up. Eat the Lord’s Supper/Communion/Eucarist as part of that meal. I know some folks hesitate at a pot-luck dinner, but if there are hungry folks within sniffing distance, they will show up… and get fed in at least a couple of ways.

Please never say just a sheep. Have you ever heard a shepherd say just a sheep? It would discount the whole profession. Honestly we have had neighborhood dinners, but nobody ever thought of having Lord’s Supper/Communion/Eucarist at one of our dinners.That is a radical idea. Why not? We take Communion real serious, maybe people should see. Justin you really got me thinking. Now be honest, the whole supper thing pot-luck, you are some kind of Baptist, right? You know bury me with my fork, meet and eat Baptist? just a guess. Thanks for thinking! Drop back with more of these brain storms!

Comment by Justin

I have just one response… love the people. Spend time with them and let God do the directing. I think sometimes we try to hard to “make Church happen” by having a “3 step plan”.

At one of the churches I served at (for two years as a young adult pastor) all I really did was build relationships with them. Most were hurt by the church in various ways and all I felt needed to do was love them and help them see God’s love. I spent hours over coffee, having unexpected visitors to my home (God bless my wife!!)and many hard talks with my “sheep”.

My advice… don’t get to “organized”. Keep it real, relevant and relationship based. You don’t even need to run a Sunday service. Love the idea about sharing dinner/communion.

Amen and Amen. I wish I heard that at church strengthening/planting meets.

God leads when we stop trying to lead. Being a pastor is all about loving people with the love of God. Spend time with them.

Glad you stopped by my blog! I’ll be following yours.

Comment by geoff

Great question, Willohroots. Like some of the others, I’m not a church planter and I’d need to know more about the people and community. Knowing myself, I’d probably try to sell the building and have everybody over to my house for “church”!

What bible? Everybody would bring their own bibles! (personal experience proves that multiple-version meetings can work) What meetings? Well, anytime that fits well with most of the people. What worship style? I guess you mean “music”? Everybody would write down a bunch of songs/hymns/psalms/Christian Heavy Metal that they liked. We could mix it up. What vision? Oh, that would come much, much later. It would have to grow. Lord’s table would be a real live “meal” where everybody communed with each other as well as the Lord. It was this way in the upper room, no?

Some of the “what’s” about how the meeting would go I’m going to develop in my series. But, one thing I can hint at here is that all the people would be involved in worship style, theology, and using/developing one’s “gifts.”

Comment by Steve Scott

In answer to your question, WWYD?

I would run as far and as fast as humanly possible.

Comment by shealyisnottheantichrist

Now be honest, the whole supper thing pot-luck, you are some kind of Baptist, right? You know bury me with my fork, meet and eat Baptist? just a guess.</i?

No, but I know a few. The idea comes from a group I used to meet with who turned a once-per-month pot-luck lunch into an every Sunday thing… any and all welcome to hit the buffet (not one incidence of anyone ever going away hungry, btw). Only the Communion addition is my idea, sorta. I’ve shared Communion with people in this way, before (not often enough), and it ends up being immensely more meaningful to me than “a pinch-and-a-sip”.

Comment by Justin

I’m late to the party, but here goes.

I’m a former worship leader. Last one was a SBC in the NEPBA, no less; a rather frustrating experience. My $.02: Take the people you have and concentrate on them. Love them, teach them. Get a RVS bible, get into the the beatitudes (use a good patristics commentary) and stay there until they have been chewed up and fully digested. Then move onto the sermon on the mount – stay with the words of Jesus. Keep your worship service simple (hymns or a blend of hymns and simple worship songs [sing the psalms, if you can]) and concentrate on prayer (My house shall be called a house of prayer.) Do this for six months and see what happens. Help them to fall in love with Jesus.

May God bless your endeavor.

Comment by Anne

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