Ready to Launch

space_shuttle_launchIf you’ve ever watched the launch of a space shuttle you know how meticulous they are in their preparation.  They go over every little detail with a fine tooth comb, making sure the shuttle is ready for launch.  They know that one panel or structure that is out of place can send the mission in the wrong direction.

The same should be said in the launch of a new church.  Often church plants can launch before they’re really ready.  As I alluded to in my post on Monday, we use preview services leading up to the launch to allow for this preparation time.  Without this time, a new church plant might experience significant, rapid growth during their launch but not be ready for it.

Think of it this way.  Imagine building a house before the foundation is ready.  Although the house might survive, chances are better that by the time you get to the roof, there will be some noticeable problems.

Preview services allow you to build teams.  Each month you’re adding to your teams.  Each team is recruiting new members.  Not only does this connect new people into your church as you prepare for your launch, but just as important, it helps you build structure and lay a foundation for your future growth. So when this is done properly and the teams are building, your church will be ready to support the new growth you have.  The house (new growth) will be built on a solid foundation structure (your teams).

This is often where churches hit their growth barriers.  They don’t grow because they couldn’t handle significant growth if it was given to them.  You want to plant a healthy church?  You want to see your church experience healthy growth?  Develop your teams.  Develop your leaders. You grow leaders, you will grow your church.

Get a Handle on Reality

Any normal pastor would agree that they would love to have some kind of handle on the reality of where their church is spiritually.  Measuring a person’s spiritual health is such a difficult thing, and if done with the wrong motives can actually be a very destructive thing.  But as a pastor, it’s important to be able to gauge the effectiveness of your discipleship programs.  Are they doing what we think they’re doing?  Pastors can take a guess or just hope they are, but unless you have visible proof, it’s very difficult to have even a grasp on the reality of your church’s spiritual health.  And while you can’t really gauge a person’s spiritual health because it’s such an intangible thing, you can measure how many people are placing themselves in a healthy discipling environment (small groups, Sunday School, etc.).

Here’s a few questions to ask yourself to see where your church is?

  • What does an individual in your church do to be discipled?  Is their a program or process to walk them through a journey of discipleship?  If not, you might want to work on that.
  •  What percentage of those that attend your church on a Sunday morning are going through your discipleship process?  You will never have 100%, but a healthy percentage is 50-60%.  Don’t get discouraged if you’re well below this percentage.  The big thing is that you’re actually looking at the number.  Part of grasping the reality of your church’s spiritual health is measuring.  Looking – not assuming.

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