Week Five|Tuesday

Go here to take the Vision Matrix. This is an exercise in describing the culture of our church. When taking the assessment, don’t over think it. Simply pick the word in each row that best fits our categorization the best. Keep a tally for each row and at the end count up whether you have more I’s, S’s, E’s, or M’s. The explanation and application of this assessment can be found here: Vision Matrix Interpretation.

Take time to prayerfully journal about the following questions:

Which expression of the church best defines us? Why?

What qualities can we take away from each expression and implement into what we are doing?

What gives you the most energy around what we are doing?

Week Four|Friday

Dream of Your Ideal Church Start: Support and Resources

As we continue our exercise of imagining starting a new church. You have laid out why, where, who, and how. But now we have do deal with logistics. What support and resources will you need. Review your plan so far and think about the following question:

• What resources will this new church start need?
• Who will you partner with? Think about what organizations you could team up with.
• What are local resources? Are there other local churches, schools, community ministries that you would want to involve? How can you engage the social resources in your community?

Add these details as you revise your church start plan.

Week Four|Thursday

Dream of Your Ideal Church Start: How

We have been working on an on-going exercise where you imagined starting a new church. You should have already written down ideas about why, where, and who. Review and revise your thoughts on these topics. Today we brainstorm the how.

How will your new church reach the community. What will your church focus on? Worship? Small groups? Missions? Social ministries? Of course, most churches will have all of these activities, but what will your church’s priorities be? What will worship, discipleship, ministry (missional ministry), and community look like in your new church start? Add your vision for these elements to your strategic plan.

Week Four|Wednesday

Asset Mapping

You have permission to have fun, be creative, and think outside box.

If you were asked to teach a class on any topic, what would you teach? Consider your passions, strengths, and interests. For example, if you enjoy hiking and are pretty knowledgeable about it, why not teach a class on hiking?

Write down three things you could teach class on. Each thing should be written on a separate sticky note or piece of paper.

If you had the opportunity to take a class on any topic, what would it be? Consider something you’d like to learn more about or an area that is not your strong suit. For example, if you would like to learn how to cook but would currently burn the house down if you tried, why not take a class on cooking?

Write down the subjects for three classes you’d like to take. Each thing should be written on a separate sticky note piece of paper.

Read 1 Corinthians 12.

Journal about the following questions:

What are my strengths?

How can my strengths enhance the relational ministry of the church?

What do I bring to the group?

How do my strengths fit well with others in the group?

Look at each of your separate pieces of paper. Say a prayer of thanksgiving to God for the gifts God has given you and commit to serve as the Holy Spirit leads you.

Bring your papers with the class descriptions to Bible Study on Sunday morning.

Week Four|Tuesday

Square Peg in a Round Hole

In the 1995 film Apollo 13 we join the astronauts and mission control crew as they work through unexpected and life threatening complications with limited resources, but unlimited imagination. Watch the following clip depicting a problem with the oxygen filter on the space craft:

How anxious did the participants seem?

Where did their story take unexpected turns?

Watch this next clip and see how the engineers discovered a creative solution:

Reflect slowly on each one of the following questions. Don’t rush. Wait for insights and journal about your thoughts.

How was a new filter formed for the space capsule? What assets were discovered and how were they re-purposed?

Who participated in the formation of a new filter and what was their role?

How were the participants re-formed by by this dilemma and its solution?

How did both planning and discovery play a role in formation?

Is planning or discovery more difficult? More rewarding? More open?

How are both planing and discovery valuable in the life of the church?

Week Three|Friday

Dream of Your Ideal Church Start: Who

Last Friday and this past Tuesday we worked on an on-going exercise where you imagined starting a new church. So far we talked about why and where. Review your thoughts on these two and revise your notes as you feel your vision evolving. Today we will imagine who.

The question of who is somewhat tied to the one of where from Tuesday, but today concentrate on the group of people that you would focus on. Describe this community of people and their needs. It might be a specific geographic community, or it might be an age range or a group with common interests or activities. Explain why there is a need for a church to this group of people.

Week Three|Thursday

Reading Our Community

Context is everything when it comes to being an engaged church. The church needs to discern with God the particular needs in the community. To fail to thoroughly contextualize your church will lead to immense frustration and potentially failure of the church itself.

According to Cameron Harder, author of Discovering the Other:

The first move in building community must be to increase our awareness of each other. We have to hunt each other, do some research, start listening. Community begins when people seek to know each other. Remember that old song, ‘Getting to know you, getting to know all about you’? That’s the first step in the love that binds us together.

According to another author, putting your finger to the pulse of your context is all about awareness, understanding, evaluation, experiments, and commitment. (Mark Branson. Starting Missional Churches)

As we observe our community, let’s we consider where people are, what they are doing, and how they interact with others. To truly get the pulse of our community, we must engage others with intentional conversation to discover their hopes, dreams, and needs. Your new vision will be developed after visits in the community, listening to people’s stories, and reflecting on how God can use these encounters. Contextualization is all about intersecting what God is already doing with the needs of the community around you.

Today, I would like for each of us to observe the community. Be brave. In the next day or so, seize an opportunity to share in a conversation with someone in the community that you do not already know. Listen to their story: their hopes, dreams, and needs. Get to know them as a person beyond the job or role they fill in society.

When you get home, say a prayer for that person and journal about your experience. Where have you seen God at work?

Week Three|Wednesday

Windshield Prayer

Sometime in the next day or so, go to Living Faith (map) by a different route than you normally travel. As you drive, pray for the residents and businesses you see. Pause for prayer in the parking lot. Then drive to the blue building (map) that Living Faith used to meet at and do the same. Now drive to the land that we intend to build on (map) and do the same. Drive home a different way. Meditate and journal on your experience. What do you notice about the community?  Write down what you notice.  What does this tell you about the community?  Why do you think these aspects captured your attention?