by Peyton Jones: This is the night you gather up all the peeps that you think might be interested in your “crazy idea”. You invite them to your house, a Denny’s, where ever. It doesn’t matter on the first night. The point is that you’re gathering the people that you think might be interested in church planting. If it resonates, they’ll be back the following week.

Initially it’s best to tell them to come that night, and explain that there’s no strings attached, and you’re not going to make them sign in blood on the dotted line. At the end of the night, you let them go away without any talk of commitment. Instead you simply say:

“If you liked what I said, then I’ll see you next week.”

Some will, some won’t, but from there on, you continue to meet weekly, for about 9 – 12 months.

On that first meeting, you’ll paint the broad brush strokes for them, leaving them to fill in some of the detail on the canvas. They need to know what you’re thinking. If you turn up and say, “I want to plant a church” and leave it at that, they’ll yawn and fall asleep. You’re going to have to spell it out a bit more for them. If you’re the leader, then they’ll want to know where you’re going. Don’t be like the leader whose performance review read “his co-workers would follow him anywhere, simply out of morbid curiosity”.

If God has given you a vision, sing it loud, and sing it proud.

If they’re called to join you, something will resonate, and they’ll spark their lighters and hold their cell phones aloft shouting, “encore”.

During the next 9 – 12 months time, you’ll eat together, laugh, talk, get into the word, pray, and discuss the people that you’re trying to reach. For this reason homes work best for people to relax, let their hair down, and be themselves. Most of your bonding will happen naturally through prayer and over a plate of indian curry, or sweet barbecued pigs flesh. We over formalize team building in the West, yet the Mediterranean people know that if you really want to bond with somebody, you eat with them.

Some of the best team building was done by my youth pastor who was more apostolic than he ever knew. Without realizing it, he mentored me by taking me into his house after our late night outreaches, and feeding me anything he had which usually wasn’t much. Over the years, I’ve realized that I ate that poor guy out of house and home, but he will never know until eternity reveals all, how much he invested in me during those late night hours. We ate tacos, reviewed that night’s ministry, and laughed until we cried poking fun at low budget rap videos, and infomercials. Shadowing this man of God unwind on the downside of intense front line ministry I learned what it meant to be a disciple. I’m convinced it was no different with the Twelve.

It is extremely important during this time that you start sizing people up and getting a feel for them. For example, some people who come will be strange. Some will be the most amazing leaders and partners you will ever know. The really strange thing is that you won’t be able to discern the latter for some time. Just like you, they are developing into this vision, and God is going to take you, as well as them, to new heights. He may also sink you into heart-wrenching depths as well.  In his sovereignty, however, God will bond you together as you share these sorrows, weep with one another, and carry each other to God in prayer. Laughter and tears have the bonding properties of super glue, and I’m sure that Jesus had this strategy in mind, when he lived with and carried these poor misguided youths for three years.   I’m sure that their laughter was epic.  I’ve traveled with groups of guys before, and one thing that they know how to do is laugh and cut up.

As Solomon said, enjoy these times, for dark times will come… soon enough..

But I know that some of you are already wondering how to be the hostest with the mostest. What does a meeting look like. What should you say? What should you do? What color apron should you wear?

Buy Peyton’s newest book “Reaching The Unreached: Becoming Raiders of the Lost Art” over on Amazon.com. You can also download a free chapter and watch a cool trailer for the book HERE or click the image below.