This Sunday, our church, Vision Baptist Church, will celebrate her 5th anniversary. I cannot believe how fast the last 5 years has passed. It seems like only yesterday, a group of us were staying up through the night getting our auditorium ready for our launch service. Serving on the pastoral staff of a church plant does not make me an expert but did teach me some things:
You will either create a market for your church or you will adapt and provide what is already being provided.
Let me explain what I mean by, “create a market.” Please, don’t be thrown off by my business analogy about the church. I know that church is church and it is the Father’s business and not merely a nonprofit organization. In the business world this is called the Blue Ocean Strategy. In missions it is called God’s plan for world evangelism!
Many church plants will fail because they will not find anyone who wants to come to the type of church they have planted. Other churches will grow around them but they will not find people who want to attend their church. You know what happens in a community that has thousands of people wanting a Wal-Mart? They get a Wal-Mart! If thousands of people in North Fulton and Forsyth County were looking for an independent, fundamental, expository preaching and teaching Baptist church that took world evangelism seriously, then they would have already started one. (side note: I typically prefer to just live out these adjectives instead of listing them every chance that’s given. Also, there are good Gospel preaching churches within driving distance of where we started our church.)
Our teenagers are currently raising money for camp by removing plastic flamingos from lawns. You know, there was not a market for a Flamingo Removal Service until we helped create the need by placing pink flamingos in yards. We helped people see their need for our services.
This is the same thing, in essence, that we do in church planting. People that are without Christ are not looking for a fellowship of believers. People that are not discipled are not looking for an expository preaching and missions living church.
Let me explain what I mean when I say, “adapt and provide what is already being provided.”
There is a time in any church plant where you wonder if the community you are working in will be receptive to the message you have brought them. I remember one time when we did something named, “Phone for You.” We called thousands of people and with all of our excitement told them we were here ready to serve the community and share the Gospel with the world.
When the amount of people you wanted or expected do not show up to your church, you have to answer a very serious question. Will you change the message to adapt or will you help create a market for what should be needed in the community? I am afraid to say that many have chosen the first option.
We at Vision chose to create a market. We knew that our message could not be changed. It was the Gospel! It was radical obedience to the great commission! It was handling the Word of God according to the Word of God. Slowly but surely, God is advancing His church through the ministries of Vision Baptist Church.
There are people that will celebrate with us on Sunday who, when we first arrived, showed no interest in the things I just mentioned. This Sunday they will celebrate them with us. I am so glad we chose not to adapt.I have missionary friends around the world who chose to “create a market.” You can learn more about them at www.bcwe.org.