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Newsletter — January 2017

New Year, New Vision

Dale Spaulding, Director, Passion for Planting
Dale Spaulding
Director, Passion for Planting

As our country prepares for its next chapter in 2017, Passion for Planting is preparing for ours. Over the past 13 years we’ve focused on equipping church planters to start churches. Guided by that vision we’ve helped start over 130 churches. While we praise God for what he’s done through our ministry, we’re not focused on the past, but are looking forward to all that God has for our future. That’s why in 2017 our focus is expanding to equip not only church planters, but also church planting churches and networks poised to saturate the world with the good news of Jesus Christ.

At Passion for Planting, our mission is to:

“Equip leaders to plant healthy multiplying churches.”

We stand ready to provide support to churches or Christian leaders who dream about the future of church multiplication, and want to make this dream a reality. Our value propositions to support your church multiplication goals include:

–Dale Spaulding, Director

January 2017 – Contents

  • Church Planting Training
  • What Are You Measuring?
  • Book Recommendation: Vanishing Grace

Church Planter Training

2016-2017 Cohort

It’s been said, “God doesn’t call the qualified, he qualifies the called.” If God’s called you to plant a church, he’s probably also calling you to prepare to plant. Having a calling doesn’t guarantee success in church planting. Passion. Vision will only take you so far. At Passion for Planting, we receive phone calls and emails on a regular basis from frustrated church planters, who set out with a vision to plant a healthy church, but have yet to see their vision come to fruition. A common cause among planters was the lack of a preparation and training period to to equip themselves with the knowledge and skills necessary for planting a healthy church.

At Passion for Planting we’re committed to equipping leaders to start healthy, multiplying churches. One way we do this is through our Church Planting Residency program. Our 10-month (September-June) cohort provides the practical knowledge, skills, and experiences planters need to pursue the vision God’s given them.

Through our Distance Learning method, church planter residents remain in their local context while participating virtually with the cohort each week. During our 4 day onsite intensives (twice per year) we deep dive with the cohort into pre-launch critical topics and set the DNA for becoming multiplying churches.

Through our partnership with Mid-Atlantic Christian University participants can earn a Graduate Certificate in Church Planting. Enrollment is now open for the 2017-2018 cohort which kicks off in September. For more information and to learn how to apply visit our Church Planter Residency site.

Church Metrics

What are you measuring?

What your church measures is an indication of what your church values. Perhaps this is why Luke records the number of people who gave their lives to Christ and were baptized on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2. The early church valued new life, so they counted the individuals who made the decision to follow Jesus.

Not only do your measurements indicate what your church values, they also indicate what your church seeks to improve. As is often said, “What gets measured, improves.” This is why we weigh ourselves when we’re trying to drop a few pounds and why marathon runners track their mile times and why bodybuilders count the pounds they lift. We measure, because measuring encourages improvement.

This is true within the church as well. What do you want to improve at your church? Number of first-time guests? Baptisms? People serving? Number of small groups? Giving? Churches Planted? Then start measuring those. This won’t guarantee success, but it will encourage it. To help you in this endeavor Life.Church has created a free software solution to help your church measure what you value and desire to improve. If you can count it, it can be measured and its results displayed all in one easy to access place. To learn more about this free resource visit the Church Metrics website.

Book Recommendation: Vanishing Grace

Does your community associate your church with good news? The answer might not be what you think. According to Philip Yancey, gone are the days in this country when people associate churches with love, life, and hope. He offers this observation in his book Vanishing Grace:

“Although God’s grace is as amazing as ever, in my divided country it seems in vanishing supply.”

Is Yancey correct? When community members see a sign for your church, what thoughts come to their minds? Will they think, “that’s the church that loves this community” or “that’s the church that’s investing into the youth of the neighborhood through arts and sports camps”? Will their perception of your church be positive? According to Yancey, only if it’s earned.

We recommend you read Vanishing Grace on your own or study it with your Launch Team to develop a culture of contagious grace. Yancey’s packed the book full of sermon illustrations and inspiring stories of Christians reclaiming God’s grace as good news.

God wants his church to be a grace dispensary, not a grace cistern, but that doesn’t happen by accident. It happens by design and concerted effort. Whether you’ve already planted or are preparing to plant, Vanishing Grace will offer practical advice on how your church can offer good news to a world that’s parched for God’s transformative grace. At the very least this book will refresh your spirit with a rejuvenating reminder of God’s astounding love.

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