Creating New Faith Communities
- Jesus - we are making His disciples
- The targeted people in the community who are actively growing the faith community
- The lead or senior pastor of the church
- The lead pastor, communicator and/or lay person for the New Faith Community
- Worship, music, children, youth and other key ministry leaders.
Budget carefully for all expenditures:
music, staffing needs, sound system, communication tools, space costs, food, coffee, toiletries, etc. Be prepared for unexpected costs. Don’t anticipate that the New Faith Community (NFC) will be able to support much of the budget, at least not at first. The goal of any new faith community is to be self-sustaining. However, this does not always happen or it can take a while.
Communicate, communicate, communicate
to staff and lay leaders, to decision makers, to the church family and to the community. Communicate why are we doing this, what type of new faith community it’s going to be, how it will benefit the community and the church, where it’s going to be, who will be immediately involved, when is it going to begin, what will the NFC service look like, and what is its purpose. Anticipate and answer every possible question before it is asked. Market to the identified target community via social media and other available tools depending on the environment of the NFC’s community.
- Pray and research, undergird spiritually and biblically;
- Explore if there is really a need in the church and community for this new faith community;
- Envision carefully and comprehensively how this fits into the churches overall vision;
- Begin preparing the congregation months ahead; preaching and communicating and approving;
- Have pre-meetings with everyone who will be involved including a practice worship service;
- Have clear and attainable bench marks/metrics and allow all participants, partners and stakeholders to be part of the plan as this allows for the NFC to understand the expectations of success, or to be redirected or closed if known benchmarks are not achieved.
What drives New Faith Communities
(from Winfield Bevins)
- Christ Centered:Christ is the foundation and the reason.
- Spirit Empowered: The book of Acts is the story of the church in partnership with the Holy Spirit.
- Lay Driven: The momentum created by lay leadership is the driving force of all growing NFCs.
- Discipleship Oriented:There must be a process to intentionally make disciples of Jesus.
- Means of Grace: Sacraments are an avenue to God’s Grace.
- Missional Impulse: The church’s heart is its mission to others, the community and the world.
Build your team(s)
- Hospitality Team: who is going to make the coffee, set out the bulletins and brochures, make sure the environment is warm and inviting.
- First impressions: welcome greeters/ushers team (this team should be large)
- Prayer Team: this team should include those who are going to be part of the new faith community as well as those who will remain in the existing service(s). Consistently pray for this NFC in any existing service.
- Children’s Team: this team is non-negotiable if the target for the new faith community includes young families. Young families need to be on the team. The environment and learning for young children must be outstanding if you want to succeed. This team needs to be large.
- Worship Team: any musicians/vocalists that are needed, also media and audio-visual people
- Set Up Team: signs, chairs, tables, stage, etc.
What else needs to happen to support the new faith community?
- Communications, a volunteer program, hospitality, staffing, even a change in existing worships services;
- Talk to pastors, lay leaders, churches that have created new faith communities;
- Build a team that is heavy with laity early;
- Find a resource coach to help in the journey;
- Prepare financially early;
- Take your time and plan, plan, plan;
- Build in a fail-safe for the service/new faith community. If it fails, what is next, then try again, celebrating the positive;
- Identify target audience, select venue and time, design seating, pick the right music, select focused liturgy.
An effective way to begin a new faith community is to integrate it into an overall strategy and vision for the church. Looking forward, this becomes one piece of revitalizing a church or creating momentum in making disciples for a church. Comprehensive visions help the entire church move forward and not just one piece of it. Typically, new faith communities don’t work if they are just an addendum, they do better if they reflect the journey of the church, congregation, and the community in discipleship, evangelism, and mission. When a message series is added, even a year-long emphasis, have prayer gatherings as this helps to bring a church family together around the why, what, when, where, and how of the goals and visons of the church.
Who is the target?
Four types of New Faith Communities (from Winfield Bevins)
- Missional - serving those not currently served by any church
- Incarnational - listening to people and entering their culture
- Discipling - helping people enter more fully into the life of Christ
- Ecclesial - forming a church
Find time away to pray and envision for the journey. An envisioning process that might be helpful can be found under resources at www.mikeramsdell.com, “God Give Us Success.”