Starting a church… building a core group

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!

The teaching at Walls Down

At Walls Down Church you can expect that every week you will hear teaching that:

  • Addresses issues that you’re dealing with
  • Comes from the Bible
  • Calls you to life-changing action
  • Points to Jesus

Look, we’ve all gone to church, invested an hour, and walked away saying, “What the heck was he talking about?”

Sermons that start with the various theories of the atonement and don’t move further than that are pointless and unhelpful.

I have a Masters of Divinity Degree. I took 15 hours of Greek and six hours of Hebrew. I regularly read theology books, and I love a healthy debate about theological issues, but I realize that I’m a bit odd in that regard.

Joe the Plumber… ever hear of him 😉 isn’t concerned with Greek, Hebrew, and the intricacies of the five theories of the atonement.

Joe the Plumber isn’t wondering what the dragon and the beast in the book of Revelation are all about, and he sure as heck isn’t wondering what the Greek word for “forgiveness” is.

Joe is working through issues like:

  • Disappointment – That didn’t work like I thought it would… where do I go from here?
  • Success – I’ve got it… now what?
  • Guilt – I just can’t forgive myself.
  • Anger – I live one degree from boiling and it’s killing me and my family.
  • Lust – I hate it, but I’m hooked on porn and real close to cheating on my wife.
  • Drivenness – I’m working way too much… watching my kids grow up without me… I need to change…
  • Questions of purpose – Is this what I was made to do/be?
  • Relationships – How do I be better husband? Son? Parent? etc.
  • Finances – I want to get out of debt but this economy is killing me!
  • Forgiveness – I know I should but dang… it’s tough
  • Confidence – If they only knew, I’m not as confident as I act… what would they think?
  • Affirmation – I love it when she tells me she’s proud of me.
  • Romance – Yea, I need some of that in my marriage.
  • Etc. – What the… Oh, it’s an abbreviation for etcetera.

These are the things that keep Joe awake at night and they are the things we will be talking about!

The music @ Walls Down

Here are some ideas of what you can expect at Walls Down Church when it comes to music:

From New Spring Church:

From Steve Fee:

From Hillsong Church:

Also, don’t be surprised to hear secular songs that relate to the teaching of the day, and in my opinion, no one does it better than Granger Church in Indiana. This is a significant part of our weekend strategy, but that’s a post for another day

My favorite color

Orange is now my favorite color.

In years past I have not had a favorite color. I saw no need for it.

Today I have a favorite color.

Perhaps you are asking, “Why Paul do you have a favorite color now, and why is your favorite color orange?”

Let me shed light upon this question.

The color of the Walls Down logo is orange.

I am the pastor of Walls Down Church.

Therefore, my favorite color is orange.

Ahhh… do you see now?

Why is it that this post has even made it to the surface on this otherwise respectable blog?

Because ALL day I have been in stores shopping for supplies for this weekend… our first Walls Down Informational Meeting! I do not like to shop at all… much less all day.

After shopping all day Sherri drove me around town and I posted yard signs proclaiming the arrival of Walls Down Church.

So, before you worry about the frivolous nature of this blog post… give a brother a break and send a prayer or two this way this weekend!

Some Walls Down waddup

These are exciting days!

  • We heard back from the elementary school today. We’ve been in conversation with them about the possibility of Walls Down meeting in their facilities. Their price per week/month was very exciting! We are not ready to pull the trigger though, because we are still in conversation with the movie theater about meeting there. It’s good to have more than one option.
  • Today we had a conversation with First Choice Mailers, a mailing house that we will be working with to help us as we prepare to send out our mailers. Tom Planck has been giving us some great insight on the whole mailer process.
  • Today we looked at some equipment for Walls Down Church. The buying/acquiring phase has begun!
  • Tomorrow I’ll be picking up 100 yard signs we’ll be posting around town and the banner we’ll be hanging in front of the YMCA.
  • I am blessed by the partnership of other churches in the area.
  • This week I’ve had the opportunity to meet with several people that God will use in very significant ways to expand His work in the world, and maybe in Maineville.