“Successful” Church Planting

By Michael Sove

Today I want to lift up all those who go out on the front lines to win souls and make disciples who in turn make disciples.  Many times when we talk about success we immediately think of the large churches that have multiplied and planted other churches around the world.  I believe anyone who plants a church is a success.  They have heard the call and stepped out of the boat and thrust out on a redemptive mission for the Glory of God.  The following is an interview with the Lead Pastor/Planter Ryan Weaver and Andrew Thompson, the Remedy Groups Pastor.  They were part of our church and a little over a year ago answered the call to plant a church in our community called Remedy Church.  I hope this encourages others to plant churches and for those of you on the front lines we’re proud of you and want you to know you are a success!

“So go and make followers of all the people in the world. Baptize them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach them to obey everything that I have taught you, and I will be with you always, even until the end of this age.” +Matthew 28:19-20 (NCV)

The vision and purpose of Remedy Church <http://remedychurch.me/> is summed up in three words… six letters… and can be found among some of Jesus’ last recorded conversations with His followers in Matthew 28:19-20. In this passage of Scripture, it’s clear that Jesus is calling His followers to make more followers (aka:: disciples) to build His Kingdom (also see:: Mark 16:15, Deuteronomy 6:5-9, and 1 Corinthians 11:1).

The temptation that churches must constantly battle (whether they are established churches or brand-spankin-new church plants) is the desire to imagine that we are building our own kingdoms by our own efforts and our own energy. This is where competition among churches begins to emerge. And yet, the central message of Jesus the Messiah was summarized and unified in the phrase “change your hearts and lives because the Kingdom of Heaven is near” (see:: Matthew 3:2 and Matthew 4:23). A vision/purpose statement should remind us that our call is not to advance our own kingdoms… but to accept the call to join God in what He is already doing in building His Kingdom.

Our vision/purpose/process statement at Remedy Church is:: Go. Be. Do.

Complexity is tough to avoid. Rarely do constitutions and purpose statements and mission documents shrink in size and word count. Most (if not all) of these living documents grow over time with amendments and additions and corrections. Simplicity is one of our values at Remedy Church. We can’t get much simpler than Go. Be. Do.

The simple and concise version of our “Go. Be. Do.” explanation can be found HERE <http://remedychurch.me/gobedo> … but for the sake of further clarity (and at the risk of adding complexity to the mix) here is an expanded explanation of what Go. Be. Do. looks like in the life of those who are leaders and attenders at Remedy Church::

Go.
GO is movement in the same way that faith is movement. GO is a person loving his neighbor… a person loving God’s creation… a person serving the Church… the Church serving the community… the Church serving the world. GO is the church gathering collectively to pray, confess, sing, celebrate, study, remember… and then exploding into our communities sharing our faith by the way we live.

Be.
BE is God with us… God among us… God beside us… God within us. Jesus taught that the Kingdom of God is within us and among us (see:: Luke 17:21). BE is a person seeking to understand his Creator… seeking to know Him intimately… seeking to live as He taught… seeking to love and be loved… seeking to know and be known… seeking authentic community… seeking to give more than take. BE is lived privately as we study the Scriptures and rest in God’s presence… and BE is lived collectively as we gather in small groups (aka:: Remedy Groups) throughout our city.

Do.
DO is a person living in obedience to the teachings of Jesus. The Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20) challenges us to move beyond a mental understanding of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the hard-core reality of obedience. The Scriptures compel us to obey. A relationship with Jesus leads to action… love… justice… faithfulness… mercy… forgiveness… service… generosity… obedience. DO is a person living in daily obedience to God… searching His teachings and the culture for Truth.

#2  What role do the groups (cells) play within that strategy?

Our holistic small groups truly are the heart of our strategy. We desire to express the love of Jesus Christ with our families, our city, and the world by living out this vision (Go. Be. Do.) in the context of authentic relationships. Our Sunday morning worship gathering serves as a weekly time for Remedy Church to come together under the teaching of God’s Word, to share in the collective vision of our church, and to celebrate God’s movement in our Remedy Groups. We place a high value on simplicity, multiplication, relationships, truth, and authenticity… and these values are best expressed within the intimacy of our holistic small groups.

#3  What have been some of the blessings and challenges of your first year?

In the 14 months since Remedy Church launched, our journey has been filled with blessings that have far out-shined the challenges. We have been blessed to see life-change from the “front row” as families and individuals have given themselves to serving Christ, and serving one another by “going, being, and doing”. We baptized 6 adults in 2010, and already have others ready to be baptized when the Atlantic Ocean is a little warmer (haha). We were also blessed to celebrate our one year anniversary by funding the construction of a well in the village of Kenscoff, Haiti (a mountain community only a dozen miles from Port Au Prince, where a local Haitian church planter is planting the Gospel).

Some of the challenges that we have faced are typical of most church plants in North America. The largest learning curve has come in the area of establishing healthy systems to support our vision and values. Much of this is a trial and error process that provides us with many opportunities to fail (and learn valuable lessons that can only come with the beauty of failure). We take great comfort in the knowledge that there are no perfect formulas in church planting… only a perfect Savior who allows us the opportunity to join Him in His work of redeeming the world.

I am thankful to serve as the pastor of such a committed bunch of ordinary renegades who love Jesus the Messiah… and love the vision that God has given Remedy Church.

Ryan Weaver – Lead Pastor / Planter  <http://ryanweaver.me>

Andrew Thompson – Remedy Groups Pastor

You can reach them for further dialogue through their web page.  May God bless you in your church planting efforts as well.

 

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Michael

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