The Field: Nov. 10, 2022
What is THE FIELD newsletter?
This e-newsletter is designed to inform and energize all of us for the work of the harvest. Jesus told us to pray for the harvest fields and for all those working in the fields. I hope you will join me in this exciting adventure.
Church Planting Mobilizer
Where I’ve been…
and where I am going…
I just returned from Utah and Ohio. Pray for our church planters in Utah reaching the LDS community with the gospel. Jason Quiring, Phil Wiebe, Jeff Hubrich and Eric Nelson are making a difference in the Salt Lake City area. Pray also for the Congolese immigrant church starts in Ohio! This is me with my awesome translator Henri Ngolo in Hamilton, Ohio, at Pastor Hermann Mputu’s Christian Center The Hand of God. My next visits will be in Minnesota with the Central District MB Convention and then to California to meet many of our west coast churches. Later this month I will get a firsthand visit to the border of south Texas and visit the LAMB District churches. In December I will share some of the amazing stories!
Can a church do more than give and pray?
A question that pops up regarding church planting is, “What more can a church do besides give money?” While it is important to support a church plant financially, it is by no means the only way. Here are just a small sample of ways churches can invest into a new work.
1. Pray. So, you might say, “Ok, Brian. Go all spiritual on us! Give money AND pray.” So maybe there are two ways to be involved. But let’s not overlook this important element. Intercessory prayer is a massive need. Paul desired the prayers of the Philippians way more than the funds. (See Philippians 4) Furthermore, intercessory prayer was huge in building the church. Check out this guy named Epaphras in Colossians 4 (I’ll let you dig through the chapter to find the verse- it’s good). In the future, I will be encouraging many of us to read Andrew Murray’s book on intercessory prayer as a tutor for serving our church plants.
2. Go. On so many different levels you can go. Some of you are saying, “Brother Harris, we are NOT moving to some other town!” But what if just a few did move and join the work? With all the remote jobs post-Covid, it is much easier to do that today. BUT… let’s look at other “go” options. What if you just went on short-term trips? When my wife and I planted in Ohio, we were blessed with “Helps Teams.” These were churches who would get up early on a Sunday morning (some even came up the night before) and helped serve in various roles on Sunday. Coffee team, set up team, assist in kids’ ministry. Some even guest taught! Usually, it was a group of 10-20 people that supported the core team. It was fantastic! With enough churches, they would make it a rotation in those first few years and come up 3-4 times a year. I remember how some of these teams would clean up the building so that I could go to lunch with guests. There is a lot of gold in this concept.
3. Administrate. Some churches need all kinds of administrative help. Do you have a well-oiled accounting and payroll system at your church? MB Foundation has a system new churches can use for FREE, and you could help them get set up. Could you give assistance in the early days? Finding a bookkeeper is hard at the beginning. In our day and age of technology, so many tasks can be done online. This isn’t limited to just finances either. What about helping with a website? It’s harder to get involved in the details, but setting up a website and giving assistance to it could be a major help. I regularly am asking for help on my communication pieces to somebody in another state. Maybe the new church needs a promo video produced. So many ways in the communication and administration areas. Email and texting are our friends!
4. Loan or donate. Have a working sound system that is sitting in the church closet? Now, don’t donate a broken down junker, but I know of a lot of churches that don’t mind gently used equipment. Go through your church and take an inventory of all your junk stuff. You might be surprised!
5. Canvass. Before a church launches perhaps a team could go up and canvass the community with door hangers. (Maybe you even offer to pay for the printing of the door hangers). I took my girls to literally hundreds and hundreds of homes with door hangers. I’d have loved more help!
6. Host Special Events. What if your church hosted a marriage retreat in a common location or a women’s event? Why not invite the church plant? Build deep bonds with people. Maybe even offer to scholarship somebody who is an unbeliever at the church plant?
7. Encourage. Every planter gets discouraged. What if your congregation began a card sending ministry? Not just to the planter, but to the workers too. I love it when I get a physical piece of mail that has an encouraging note in it. ANYONE can do this! Perhaps you “tweak” it a bit and put a gift card to say “Cheesecake Factory” every once in a while.
8. Oversee. Every plant needs an initial leadership board. This transitional board, also known as a task force, serves as an elder team until the church is able to find qualified leaders from within. This is critical to the health of a church plant. Perhaps your church has a qualified person that could be part of the task force.
9. ZOOM. What if your church connected with a church plant and had a ZOOM visit just to introduce people to each other? For free, members from your church could meet someone from anywhere in the world. Imagine the new church plant holding a prayer meeting with core members, and YOU joined them in praying and encouraging them?
10. Train. This one is more long term. But think about one or two couples in your church that might be considering full-time ministry. What if YOUR church was a church that found a couple to plant? Other churches might be willing to help in the other ways listed above. This will be an entire conversation at a later time.
11. Multisite. While this is not for everyone, more and more success and lessons from churches that have gone multisite make it a viable option even in rural areas.
Share your story in 15 seconds
Would you like to be more effective in opening up a spiritual conversation? Click the link for a wonderful training tool on sharing your testimony. And yes, you can do it in 15 seconds!
Best book for a seeker…
Need help in sharing Jesus? Give a book! One of the best books to give a seeker is Andy Stanley’s “How Good is Good Enough?” I buy it in a bulk 3 pack for under $6. Here’s a link.
“The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” Luke 10:2
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