Church Planter: Welcome Obscurity

There are a lot of advantages to not being well known when you are starting a new church. You have a lot of freedom to experiment and take risks.
Fried and Hansson describe the benefits of obscurity in their book Rework. I think their points are well applied to church planters.

Welcome obscurity
No one knows who you are right now. And that’s just fine. Being obscure is a great position to be in. Be happy you’re in the shadows.

Use this time to make mistakes without the whole world hearing about he, Keep tweaking. Work out the kinks. Test random ideas, Try new things. No one knows you, so it’s no big deal if you mess up. Obsucrity helps protect your ego and preserve your confidence.

…You don’t want everyone to watch you starting your business. It makes no sense to tell everyone to look at you if you’re not ready to be looked at.

When we started Lake Hills Church in Castaic, California we went public way too soon. There’s a blessing in obscurity. That’s one of the reasons why I encourage church planters to start with a monthly worship gathering in the early phases of development. It allows you time to focus on the important disciplemaking activities first. You can experiment as you develop your disciplemaking engine. You can make some mistakes without impacting lots of people.

I recommend waiting to worship corporately until you’ve developed three or more missional communities. After you’ve started four or more missional communities, consider meeting twice each month. When you’ve started five or more, then consider a weekly worship gathering.

This will allow you the time you need to figure out what’s working, what’s not working, and what’s next. Don’t be in a hurry to go public.

The process we train in our Multiplication Workshop includes three phases: Submerge, Emerge, and Converge. Until you are actually making disciples who make disciples, you don’t really need a worship gathering. Focus on your submerge activities first, then your emerge activities. Converging comes as a result of the first two phases.

Today’s Missional Challenge

Welcome obscurity. Don’t be in a hurry to launch worship services. Be effective at engaging with those in the culture around you first. Then consider when and how to gather for worship.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Dave DeVries

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Dr. Dave DeVries is a coach, trainer, author and founder of Missional Challenge. He is passionate about coaching and training church planters and missional leaders. With 30+ years of church planting and leadership development experience, Dave brings his passion and encouragement to those he trains and coaches.
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