Church plants are an interesting beast. For me a beast that I expressly never wanted to wrestle with so imagine the shock that my wife and I experienced as the Lord began to put something foreign into our hearts – a sense of leading away from the only church life that we knew towards something totally vague.
Over the past 15 months we have been exposed to a mountain of information, new organizations, people, ideas and things to freak out about. Church plants are as unique as their geographical area of ministry, culture, lead team, core volunteers and the pre-existing church culture of the founding couple. For Lesia and I church planting was not in our DNA, it wasn’t something that we were exposed to growing up and nothing that we had ever directly observed throughout our lives and ministry.
For the founding couple the exposure to all of these factors varies differently and their venturing out largely comes down to their prompting, calling or invite into this new world.
General Church Planting 101
In general new churches are directly birthed from a denomination or a church and usually with the aid of a church planting organization. In large denominations such an organization may even be an internal one. Financial support is widely established for two years while the new ministry gets up and running. This support varies greatly from group to group with some looking for a repayment and others not. Other variants may include the option to extended the support plans or offer fund matching to a certain dollar amount to help the early startups.
These newer church planting organizations have been a breath of fresh air to the church planting community over the past decade. Moving from simply training teams and individuals they have progressed to on-going relational support which greatly strengthens the process of starting a church which lasts years and is almost always a very lonely and personally costly venture.
To fulfill the God given mandate of reaching our world many churches start new campuses; copies of the main campus into the surrounding communities. This method of expansion has some great advantages and is a much easier and probably more efficient model so it is very attractive. The closer the new campus to the establishing church the greater the chance of success.
As to church planting, starting something from nothing, one of the healthiest models is that of a mother-daughter relationship. The ‘mother’ church conceives, sends, establishes and supports the ‘daughter’ church. The D.N.A. of the mother church is ground zero for the daughter church and over time the daughter will grow in independence, culture and even vision of ministry. With the help of a church planting organization the relationship and timeline needed for a strong church is also more successful.
Vintage Church’s Birth
Burn it. The beautiful brilliance, the ‘path’; burn it if you want to understand Vintage Church. Vintage is part of another group of healthy plants but they just don’t fall into the currently expected guidelines for going about this. For us it began much more like an uprooting massage. Picture a tender gardener who in desiring to transplant a plant begins at a distance to work the soil moving ever closer and deeper in order to move the fullness of the plant to a new place.
As I began to explain earlier starting up a church was never a goal or intention. This, for us, was an intention that was massaged into our hearts first from a place of acknowledging the Gardeners moving through our little garden to His ever approaching work in and around us until we arrived in this place, the place where anything else is unimaginable and undesirable.
We lived in Surrey BC at the time and in late 2015 there was a loosening of the soil. For no understood reason my wife began to feel a release from the city and the need to be within blocks of our families. Early 2016 saw my heart being stirred around seeing from afar other ministers responding to God’s ridiculous stirrings in their life and an excitement over, well ‘nothing’, began to rise. Add to this a random phone call that would come a month later to consider reinvigorating an existing church a province away and the ground began to shake. Prayers were added to prayers and for seven months we wrestled to understand what God was doing.
July brought me to the point of lunch with our bishop who had also been my pastor, my boss and spiritual overseer for most of my life and the godly cat was out of the bag. We were open to insight and were guided to keep pursuing, that God was indeed showing us something and that we needed to get to the bottom of it. A whirlwind of days proceeded until I found myself sitting in my senior pastor’s office uttering the words “I believe that our time here is coming to a close”.
Some months latter in San Diego Lesia and I were in a room full of church planters and to our relief and amazement we were not the only ones to resign without knowing what was coming next. Not to ‘what’, not to ‘where’. We had only known when – March. We were part of this other group of churches that are born out of God doing something new for his own purposes which are not entirely clear to us at this point.
Vintage Church is and is becoming. We gather, read the Bible, pray for one another, serve the community, do outreach, take communion and worship with others in our community. Our shape will change but our ministry is already formed. Our values, convictions and goals are set as well share the overwhelming love that we have received through Christ. For many people Sundays are the endpoint and the distinguishing point of a formed and functional church. For us we say “Someday – Sundays” as they will be added to what we are doing as a further expression and important part but a far from sufficient part.
Come, Serve, Pray, Give, Tell.
Our Unique Needs
Shaing is caring. That is a little mantra around our home but it also is the reduction of everything that we as a church and community need.
- Come be a part and share in what it happening, relax and enjoy.
- Serve others through your time and your God given passions and talents.
- Take time to bring others in your prayers to God and share in their needs and be a part of their uncomfortable moments.
- Give; to see anything accomplished there is always an associated cost and more often that not there is a financial component. Share a meal, invest in some children and offer a snack or a craft, drink a good cup of coffee. As Vintage grows outreach costs do as well. As individuals are increasingly connected to Jesus through our midweek gatherings resources for small groups and adult education are essential. As these people grow in their desire for Christ so will their desire for worship and corporate expression – Sundays. Currently to start a moderate sized Sunday gathering with a good solid offering to adults and children starts in the six-figures and climbs rapidly.
- Share with others. Tell them about what is happening; what is happening within you most of all. And this doesn’t mean that you have it all figured out but rather “Here’s me, Jesus showed up and now I’m an excited mess!”
- Tell them of what Vintage is up to as we create opportunities for people to connect, connect to God and serve the community that we are a part of.
Vintage Church needs participants both local and from around the world. We grow primarily here in Kelowna but our denomination is international, our personal mentors are as well. But those who know us and know our heart are still in the small spheres that we travel. Prayer, personal time and efforts as well as individual and corporate donations are all needed as the need for a new and ever growing church never end.