One of the key questions to ask as a church planter is, “Am I starting a church that I would want to lead in 10 years?” My encouragement to church planters is to start the way you want to finish. There will no doubt be adjustments and corrections made along the way, however, there are things that you will not be able to add as time goes by and growth happens.
Let me pick on the “hesitant charismatic” to show what I mean. There are many out there who have had significant encounters with the Holy Spirit, they are theologically convinced of the role of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer today, and yet they don’t want to encourage the activity of the Holy Spirit in their church plant as it may deter some from joining the church.
So when would it be a good time to introduce the things of the Spirit? After you’ve gathered 150 people who thought your church was not “one of those charismatic churches”? Ten years down the road you’re leading a church where the Holy Spirit barely gets lip service.
Clarity is essential
The most important time to gather people to the things you and your team value is right from the beginning. The reason being is that values can’t just be clever statements on paper, they need to be tangible realities in the community of the church. The best way to communicate vision and values is through stories. People’s testimonies, people saying we don’t just believe this, we live this. The worth of a value statement is found in how God transformed someone to enjoy and live out that value.
In our church we don’t call them values, we actually call them Family Traits. We feel this is more incriminating - if you’re a part of this church, this is what you’ll look like. So when people say they value the activity of the Holy Spirit in their lives and in the community of the church, and yet most people in the church look confused and nervous at that statement it really isn’t a value is it?
People are very aware of the bait and switch. Be honest up front with them about what you believe, what you value and the vision for the church. Start the way you want to finish.