I have the privilege of coaching various pastors, some of them being church planters. One of those church planters is Jeff French, who is planting Resurgent Church in Newnan, Georgia. Before starting the church, Jeff was a pastor in a denominational mega church. He felt a burden to leave the church to not only plant one church but a movement of churches.
I’ve been impressed with how much time Jeff spends with unbelievers. Jeff and Laura, his wife, frequent the local bar to hang out and play trivia. Most of the people Jeff is befriending wonâ€™t mention religious things and even fewer go to church. Jeff doesnâ€™t force it. Yet, he’s also noticing a lot of receptivity to Jesus among those people.
From all the contacts with outsiders, Jeff started his first pilot group in May 2007, which meets on Sunday evening. I’ll be sharing more about Jeff and his church plant in my new book, Planting Churches that Reproduce: Starting a Network of Simple Churches (published in October 2008). The main point of this blog, however, is how Jeff is able to connect with those in his pilot group during the week. Here’s the scenario:
- On Monday after the pilot cell group, Jeff sends each person a set of preparation questions for the upcoming pilot cell group. The questions (and commentary) are based on a Bible passage and provide devotional study for the members during the week.
- Then on Thursday, he sends them an MP3 audio file about that particular lesson that he has prepared. The length of the audio is normally about 30 minutes. Since each person has already reflected on the Bible theme and the questions, the audio reinforces what theyâ€™ve already learned.
- On Sunday evening when they come together for the pilot group, each person is ready to share. Jeff combines lesson, worship, and break-out groups–it’s all participatory based on what each person has already been meditating upon during the week.
Here’s the good news. You can receive Jeff’s MP3 files and lessons for free! In my coaching session last week, I asked Jeff if I could share this resource with others, and he was fine with it. If you’d like to receive this weekly resource, simply write Jeff French at: firstname.lastname@example.org and he’ll put you on his list. I just listened to the lesson last week and reviewed the reflective questions. They are great!