Sunday, October 28, 2007

Systems for Health - An Assimilation System

Once your new church is launched and you have begun creating a sense of community among the new people, it is important to start developing your essential systems for health. There are three critical systems that every new church needs to develop:
1. An Assimilation System,
2. A Spiritual Formation System, and
3. A Leadership Development System.

What is an Assimilation System? This is your process for connecting with people who are far from God, and bringing them into "connection" with your faith community. Of course this involves everyone in your church! Everyone should be establishing and building intentional relationships with people who are far from God. I encourage every believer to have an "Impact List." These are people who God has place in your path who you will be praying for, investing in, and seeking to have spiritual conversations.

Think now for a moment - what steps does it take for someone who is far from God to become connected with 2 or more people in your church (other than the one who invited them)? These steps make up your assimilation system.

But when is someone connected? I think it requires at least 2 things. First, the newcomer feels mutual care from 2 or more regular attenders. Second, the newcomer feels like they make a meaningful contribution to the group.

We must think of ways to make these two things happen. Be sure to design your assimilation system for results, and then measure its effectiveness at different points. A good coach will help you think these through. They will help you design an assimilation system that connects many new people every month.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Need Help Gathering a Following?

Most church planters have a difficult time with their initial gathering of people. Conventional marketing strategies work in newer communities that have lots of traditional families who have a Christendom worldview (typically in suburbs). It's usually easy to find a lot of church shoppers unless these communities have been over-marketed by other churches! So how do you gather a following?

We have found that "prospecting" is always effective, even in difficult communities. However, beware, difficult areas where there is high resistance requires time and patience and much prayer. But the approach to prospecting is still the same. We teach on this in our Essentials training.

Don't miss our next training coming up in 2 weeks, Nov 1-2. For more information about our next training go to and click on "events."

For some tools to help you with prospecting see our "Essential Experiences" #4, #4a, #4b, #4c, and #4d at

Saturday, October 06, 2007

One Pure and Holy Passion

Possibly my favorite song these days is "One Pure and Holy Passion." It's my prayer almost everyday. You can find it on the One Day Live CD.

I've come to realize the nobody pursues God with passion, no one follows hard after God until they have become thoroughly convinced that there is absolutely nothing else in this world worth pursuing.

The song says "Give me one and pure and holy passion. Give me one magnificent obsession. Give me one glorious ambition for my life, to know and follow hard after You." I so much want this to be true about me. But I'm realizing that it will never be true as long as there is something in this world that I think is worth pursuing. There has to be nothing else in my mind or heart that is worth being ambitious for.

I pray that more than anything else, that the churches we start will produce this kind of disciple.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Do You Value Your Values?

It is common to talk about "core values." Most church planters list their core values in their initial church planting plan. That is important because our values will shape our new church. However, what I see is that most church planters do not go back and evaluate or re-visit their values. As a result, their values cease to be a directional tool and just become words on a piece of paper.

I think it is important, at least once a year, to conduct a "values audit." Every new church (and established church) should step back at least once a year and ask "Do we really value our values? Are we really running hard after what we say we value? Are these things truly important to us, and do they really shape our church culture?"

In my church ( we state that we value 4 things that are core to who we are and who we want to become. Our 4 core values are:
1. Christian Spirituality,
2. Authentic Community,
3. Sacrificial Living, and
4. Faith Sharing.

These were not our original core values when we planted Crossbridge. They have emerged as we reviewed and evaluated over time. Now we must faithfully ask ourselves, "Are we running hard after these things? If not, why not? Are they really core? Do we really value these values?" I would encourage you to do the same!