The Greatest Untapped Church Planting Resource: Senior Citizens

seniors

Restoration City simply would not exist without the incredible support we receive from individuals, foundations and partner churches.  They have poured prayer, encouragement, manpower and financial resources into the vision of Restoration City and I will be forever grateful.  We’ve had partner churches send people to serve alongside our congregation for our ServeDC outreaches.

All of which is to say I’m incredibly grateful for the body of Christ.  It’s in that spirit that I’ve come to believe we are missing one of the most strategic opportunities for existing congregations to partner with church plants.  It’s the untapped potential of retirees.

More than we need your high schoolers for a week, we need your seniors for a season.

Really want to bless a church plant?  Recruit and train a small team of spiritually mature, disciple making retirees and ask them to invest 3 years in a church plant.  Yes, that means they leave your church.  It might even mean they leave your city.  We need to think of our seniors as missionaries.

As a church planter, I can tell you that’s the greatest gift you could give us.  There’s an army of largely untapped potential in your pews.  They have time.  They need a mission. Maybe God is calling them to one last battle, to one last push.  And maybe it’s all about helping a new church thrive.

If you’re a pastor or senior interested in talking more about this, email me or leave a comment.  I would love to talk more.

Thinking Of Planting A Church? Check This Out.

Church Planting Network from The Summit Church on Vimeo.

The 10 months Laura and I spent in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina with The Summit Church were some of the most significant of our lives.  We had space for God to work in our hearts, to learn, to dream and to prepare for planting Restoration City Church.  Those months were invaluable for us!

If you’re interested in planting a balanced, gospel-centered church that will plant other churches, you really need to consider working with The Summit Network.  You don’t even need to move to Raleigh for a residency – we’ve decentralized the whole process!   If you would like to talk more, let me know…especially if you’re interested in planting in or around DC.

There isn’t a city in America, DC included, that doesn’t need more churches.  If you’re interested in stepping up to meet this need, I would love to walk alongside you.

Restoration City, We’ve Been Sent

Nine months ago, Laura and I stood on a stage with Pastor J.D. and three other families in front of The Summit Church.  For me, that was the first time I had ever worshipped with this church.  We were brand new, a little nervous but trusting that God had us here for a reason.  I remember standing on that stage with J.D. and wondering how The Summit Church would respond to this idea of raising up four teams of people at the same time to go plant new churches.  We were asking people to leave an amazingly healthy church and move their lives to D.C., to Wilmington or two other plants right here in Durham.  Honestly, I remember driving home from that weekend and thinking, “If this was my church, I don’t think I would be going anywhere.”

Well, two things happened in these nine months.

One, Summit became my church.  I didn’t expect that one – we moved here to raise up a team, develop a plan and head back home to D.C.  From day one, there was an expiration date on us.  We knew we were blessed to be at Summit but we didn’t know how much we would come to see this place as our church home.  These last nine months have had a huge impact on me, my family and the church we’ll lead.  I’ve seen a grace filled culture.  I’ve seen people love one another well and sacrifice deeply to participate in God’s mission.  I’ve seen the power of the gospel to save and to send.

Speaking of sending, that also happened these past nine months.  This past weekend, we were back on that same stage with J.D. but there weren’t just four families.  There were 120 other people.  Jesus has been faithful to His promise to build the church.  He’s raised up teams of leaders who will carry the vision with us.  He’s sent out missionaries to Durham, to Wilmington and to D.C.  The gospel continues to transform lives.

Thank you, Summit, for an incredible nine months.

As I sit here this morning, I have to believe the best is yet to come.  Restoration City, we’ve been sent!  Now it’s time to see how God is going to use all of this for His glory.

Fear, Faith & Church Planting

If you want a crash course in how messed up your heart is, plant a church.

It’s a sure fire way to surface all kinds of fear, anger and despair you had yet to uncover. When I look back on my last six months as a church planting resident with The Summit Network, I realize just how much I’ve had to confront in my own heart. I wish I could tell you those confrontations with self were always easy, quick and painless but that’s just not the way it works for me. I can be a frustratingly slow learner. But Jesus has been faithful and I wouldn’t trade what I’ve learned for anything.

Like most church planters, I’m an optimistic visionary at heart. I love big dreams, inspiring visions and thoughts of what the future can and should look like. I live in the world of what’s possible and I love to paint that picture for people. And I really love it when other people buy into the vision.

But when they don’t, all kinds of chaos threatens to break out in my heart. Whether it’s someone not joining our launch team or someone not contributing financially or someone just seeming a little bored as I’m laying out my dream, I don’t always handle the rejection well. Fear, anger and despair are right there to plant their little questions. Maybe my vision stinks? Maybe we’ll go broke and my son will starve? Maybe the reason this person isn’t more excited is because they’re a totally selfish jerk who doesn’t love Jesus? Maybe I’m not a good leader? Maybe Summit needs to fix their assessment process and weed out guys like me? And on and on and on…

All of that junk comes from a lack of belief in the promises of Jesus to us through the gospel. He really did promise to build His church. (Mt. 16:18) The Father really is glorified when we bear fruit. (Jn. 15:8) He knows every one of our weaknesses and promises sufficient grace. (2 Cor. 12:9) No plan of His can be thwarted. (Job 42:2) And on and on and on…

I get worked up when I think this whole thing rests on my shoulders. I’m tempted to shrink my vision, lower my dreams and downsize my hopes. I’m tempted to cave to the fear, anger and despair that constantly lurks. But when I remember Jesus, I’m okay with the uncertainty and the setbacks. When I remember Him, I’m filled with hope for what God is going to do.

Planting Restoration City has forced me to learn how to fight fear with faith. Maybe God will use a church plant to do the same in your life or maybe He’ll use something else. Either way, I’m convinced it’s a lesson he wants all of us to learn.