by Andy Hale, CBF New Church Starts Specialists &
Pastor, Mosaic of Clayton, NC
Let’s step past the eye catching introductory paragraph and get right to the brass facts: the Bluegrass State is primed for new church starts. Crisscrossing I-64, I-65, and country roads of Kentucky are towns and cities that need the church to connect deeply in relationships, to invest holistically in community, and to partner to see the Kingdom come on earth by simply loving their neighbor.
So what are we going to do about it?
Being a part of staring new churches can be intimidating, especially when many churches having shrinking budgets, aging buildings, and absent parishioners. Yet that’s what healthy fellowships do, they birth new churches.
The Fellowship needs more new church starts. How else are we going to grow this network of missional-minded congregations and individuals to spread the movement of freedom, diversity, and equality?
Beyond giving financially, established churches should begin to think outside the box on how they can partner with new church starts.
Could you offer gathering space, lend equipment, administer the accounting work, or offer strong words of affirmation with no cost to you but with great value to a new church start? Could you begin to share the story of those stepping out in faith to start new faith communities across the United States? Could you begin to do discipleship on the necessity for new church starts?
You are brilliant people, so I’m sure you can discern and engage impactful ways to partner with new church starts.
But’s lets talk about financial support for a moment. During the KBF Spring Gathering, I could not help but notice that there wasn’t a single penny going towards new church starts. If church starting is the future of the fellowship, this will be one of the first things that will need to shift to catch that vision. A financial investment in a new church start is not intended to buy new sound equipment or guarantee the salary of the church starter, but it is act of partnership, support, and encouragement to one of the most challenging vocational callings. It is a way of saying to that new church start, “We believe in you, your calling, and the God that is willing you to this new thing.”
So one of the challenges I took away from my brief time in Kentucky was the necessity to continue this conversation. Let’s find new ways and venues to talk about what it looks like and what will be required of churches in the KBF to start new churches.
As we continue this conversation, may we also encourage others to explore a calling in new church starts. Whether it is an individual discerning this call or a group of people seeking a CBF expression of the church in their community, the Fellowship offers great opportunities for both.
For individuals discerning a call, the Fellowship offers a free online cohort four times a year. This space is designed to be a safe place to learn more about church starting and clarifying calling. Participants invest an hour or two a week to learn, reflect, and encourage others. Our next cohorts will be July-August, October-December, February-April, and April-June.
For groups discerning a call, the Fellowship is developing a conversation guide for groups to work through the dream, nuts and bolts, and engagement of a new church start, as well as develop a partnership with CBF. More details about the emerge group initiative will roll out this fall.
These are just a few of many ways that the conversation can continue. So who is ready to take the next step?