14550 Lee Rd, Chantilly, VA 20151

Newsletter August 2023

New Possibilities

Patrick Bradley, Director of Operations, Passion for PlantingVisionary leaders conceive of things others cannot. They inspire people to transform seemingly impossible dreams into tangible accomplishments. Henry Ford is regularly quoted as saying, “If I would have asked people what they wanted, they would have said a faster horse.” While we can’t be sure that Ford actually said that, the sentiment aligns with the type of leader he was. He envisioned new possibilities and refused to allow old paradigms to constrain his vision of making cars accessible to the common person.

Like Ford, church planters are creative thinkers and are driven to driven to find new ways to make the gospel accessible to every man, woman and child in their sphere of influence. They think outside the box to give people repeated opportunities to hear, see and experience the gospel.

Thirty years ago, new churches could reach people and attract a crowd by putting up signs and advertising their sermon series. Those marketing tactics drew people to new churches a generation or two ago because church was a common place people retreated to when facing challenging times. It was where couples would find support for their marriage and moral guidance for their kids. The local church was a harbor of hope in many communities around our nation.  

That’s just not the case anymore in most regions of our country. Today, more people will go to yoga, pickleball, or brunch on Sunday instead of church. I don’t write this to discourage anyone, but to remind us of what we already know. We need to be creative in how we reach our culture with the gospel.

That’s why through this month’s newsletter we’re offering ideas and tools to help you and your church think outside the box of traditional church ministry, so you can pursue your mission to give every member of your community repeated opportunities to hear, see, experience, and respond to the gospel of Jesus. Enjoy!

-Patrick Bradley, Director of Operations

Aug 2023 – Content

  • Asynchronous Community 
  • Outreach Ideas & Template
  • Discipleship.org Video Resources
  • Training Everyday Missionaries  

Asynchronous Community

Covid forced many churches to enter into the digital ministry space. Now that churches are back meeting in person, what are we to do with all the online ministry skills and expertise we gained? Do we ditch it and put all our eggs into local, in-person ministry? We’re not convinced that’s your best move. 

Instead of throwing away the lessons and skills we learned doing ministry during the pandemic, use them to reach and connect with more people. One type of online ministry that many churches continue to use today is called asynchronous communities. It’s used to engage and equip congregants for ministry. Unlike traditional small groups that are bound by time and space, asynchronous communities allow people to interact on their time regardless of physical location. Want an example of a church-based asynchronous group along with tips on how to run one effectively? Read 10 Tips On How To Run An Asynchronous Community by Tom Pounder. 

Outreach Ideas & Strategy Template    

Have you heard the leadership proverb that goes, “Methods are many, principles are few. Methods always change, principles never do,”? This proverb reminds us to allow God’s timeless truth to guide our innovation efforts. That’s why we still study the book of Acts to help us plant churches. Even though it’s 2,000 years old, Luke’s account of the birth and expansion of the early church continues to offer us practical wisdom on how to make disciples and plant churches of irresistible influence in the world.  

Another book that’s inspired countless churches to increase their influence in their communities is The Church of Irresistible Influence. Robert Lewis wrote it in 2001, but it’s call for churches to build bridges over troubled waters to a dying culture is just as relevant today as it was 22 years ago. The book asks the question, “If your church closed, would the community notice and be sad?”

Unfortunately, too many churches are so internally focused that the only people who would notice if they shut their doors would be the former members. Your church can be a church of irresistible influence, but it will take some outside of the box thinking and outside of the building type ministry. To help you think of some practical ways your church can start doing this type of ministry, check out our Outreach Ideas List. Then develop a comprehensive Outreach Strategy using our template to help your church impact its community for Christ. 

Discipleship.org Video Resources  

Imagine how different your church and its surrounding community would be if every single member saw themselves as a disciple maker in their workplace, neighborhood, and home. The truth is every Christian is called to this higher purpose and our role as leaders is to prepare and equip them to answer this calling. How do we do this, though? Our friends at Discipleship.org want to help. 

Discipleship.org is committed to equipping the local church with ideas, inspiration, and practical training to help churches develop fully devoted followers of Jesus. One venue they’ve created to help local churches produce reproducing disciples is their YouTube Channel. The videos they share are both inspirational and practical, like How One Movement is Using Discovery Bible Study To Reach People, which shares how the KC Underground Network uses DBS groups to reach new people with the gospel.  

Training Everyday Missionaries

Nailing down that great venue, advertising with eye-catching signs, and designing a slick website is probably not going to attract people to your church like those tools have in the past. We still encourage you to do those things as a way to help your launch team engage in spiritual conversations and empower them to spread the news about the new church. And if we’re going to be successful in making disciples in this increasingly post-Christian culture, we’re going to need to develop new methods for engaging our communities with the gospel. 

One effective way to do this is by training your people to share their faith story. Whether you’re a church planter or a leader of an established church, be faithful with the people God has placed under your leadership by equipping and empowering them to be missionaries where they live, work, and play, ready and eager to share their testimony. Learn how to craft your grace story and help others do the same with the help of these resources from CRU: Your Story Is God’s Story and Your Personal Testimony video and 15-Second Testimony by No Place Left. 

Photos by Glenn Carstens Peters, John Schnobrich, Nina Strehl and Josue Michel from Unsplash.