Walls Down Church will “go public” (i.e. launch) on January 4, 2009.
Before then there is much to be done. The most pressing issue on my radar right now is the creation of a core group.
A core group is a team of workers… a team of people who are committed to the vision of tearing down the walls that keep people from knowing Jesus.
The core group works harder, gives more, prays more, and feels the weight of the vision more than any other group in the church.
The core group is made up of people who look at the pastor and say, “I’m in. You can put some weight on my back. You can count on me to help tear down the walls that keep people from the life Jesus promised.”
The pastor, and the core group understand that the vision is just a dream until a team of people come together and make it a reality.
I’m realizing a few things about building a core group:
- It takes a special kind of person to be a part of the core group. This group is not for consumers… it is for passionate, committed, determined workers. Building a church is different than attending a church. While attending is easier, building is more rewarding, though the consumers will never know this!
- You need believers to be on the core group. Trying to build a core group on the back of people who are not committed to Jesus is like trying to persuade a John McCain supporter to recruit and persuade people to vote for Barack Obama. It doesn’t work. The crazy thing about this is that many of these believers are already involved in ministry in their church… and happy. While I believe that you certainly can and even should have unbelievers on the team, I don’t believe that you can build the church on the backs of people who aren’t committed to the Leader of the church… Jesus.
- Building a core group is different than growing the church. I’ve led growing churches, and the people we reached out to and focused on were different than the people we’re reaching out to now, as we build our core group. Growing a church is the result of reaching out to those who don’t know Jesus. Building a core group is the result of reaching out to those who do know Him and want to help others discover Him. Practically speaking, this makes a difference in how you approach your marketing. You have to do two rounds of marketing: Round 1 = Come help us start a new church; Round 2 = Come to church.
- Steven Furtick talks about the space between the promise and the payoff. That space is called the process. The process isn’t sexy. It isn’t always fun. It will be long hours, hard work, and not always net a ton of reward, at least initially. For church planters, part of that process is building a core group. You have to keep reminding your core group, your team, your family, and yourself that “It’s not what it will be. We’re just laying the foundation now!” You have to stay in the game even when the auditorium isn’t packed with people worshiping and hearing the gospel! You have to do the work of building a core group. If you bail out in this stage, you miss out and so does everyone you could have reached for Jesus! Pastor Furtick says, “We forget the promise, and forfeit the payoff because we’ve fainted in the process.” If you are starting a new church, as we are, don’t faint in this time. Don’t get discouraged. Don’t live and die on the numbers every weekend. Remember the promise, pray and work like a crazy man, and look forward with confidence to the payoff!