We're getting a lot of questions about the launch. What's the time table? What do you need to start? Have you found all the people you're looking for? That means it's time for a good, old fashioned update post.
1. Time Table
At the moment, this is in flux. It is unlikely that we will achieve our original target date of July for our first once-a-month service. Some of this is due to the challenges of trying to complete a mountain of tasks while maintaining a demanding occupation. I understand the need to be bivocational at this juncture but it makes it no less frustrating.
That's not the only source of delay. Some of it is the fact that planting a new church is just plain hard. No matter how much I prepared, studied, and sought council, there's more to do than I could ever have foreseen. No book on church planting, no article, can ever actually prepare anyone for the enormity of the task. Even with the help that's been beginning to come in, there's still far more to do that just a few can do in the time allotted for a July launch.
That said, there are some important things that need to be tackled prior to our first service.
Yes, we are still looking for everyone we need for a start-up crew. We have some people, many of them leadership caliber. However, we have yet to reach critical mass or, simply put, that threshold necessary for a first service. Currently, I'd say we're at about fifty percent.
After a lot of prayer and some good council, most of the leadership roles will be filled as the people come to fill them. The only positions that have to be ready prior to launch are the elders and the worship pastor/leader. The elders are necessary to hold me accountable and help steer the church in the proper direction. Good, Godly leadership is essential to the mission set before Freedom Church.
Other positions will be filled more organically. Ministries will start as leaders with the passion, desire, and character rise up. The elders will prayerfully aid those leaders into their God-directed ministries. It's better to leave a role unfilled than to have the wrong person in it. I've spent too much time in ministries with that problem and committees built by assigning people to them in nominating committees simply because there were slots to be filled. That type of nonsense will never happen at FC as long as I have anything to say about it.
The worship pastor is absolutely necessary before we can go any further with services. Quite frankly, you don't want me leading worship unless you intend to have only one service that would be empty before the end of the first song. For more, here's the earlier post on the music and what kind of leader we need. We have some help seeking the right person but it's very difficult.
3. Financial and Material
Everything I read preparing for this launch said that fundraising would be the greatest challenge. They weren't kidding. While we were serving at Peoria Outreach Center/City Church, Bill Lee had a saying, "Ministries run on two things, faith and money."
We need to raise more money than we have thus far if we are to begin. We need to finish the legal filings for a religious corporation, purchase promotional materials, and a lot of equipment. All told, we need about $8-10,000 to start. If you need a breakdown, please contact us.
We are going to try an approach similar to the one often used for tech startups and artists seeking finance for their creative endeavors, Kickstarter. Of course, that site is only for specific types of project funding and can't be used for a church. The technique, however, is sound. Crowdfunding, as it is called, is being used successfully all over the county effectively. We start a campaign using video and social media not only with the followers on FC's Twitter but with the much larger following for Jesus' Outsider. It will still be a lot of work and will require help from people not only contributing but sharing the site to their own friends and followers. We will set up a special page just for the effort. Once the video is produced and the page created, we'll saturate social media with the links. We'll still need to use other methods of funding my I have hope for this approach.
There's the update. We can feel the Lord's presence in our work and still waiting on His timing. Please stay tuned for more and keep praying. We'll take all the prayer cover we can get.