Monday, October 21, 2013

Advancing the Vision for Church Planting

On September 18th, Pastor Nick, Kendra Shaw, and I boarded a plane bound for Dallas, Texas and the Leadership Network Multi-site Jumpstart. Loaded down with computers, plans, dreams, and ideas, we weren’t totally sure what we were getting ourselves into, but we did know that whatever it was, it was going to stretch us and at the same time fine-tune us with regard to the church planting dreams and direction for East Hills. I’m confident to say that at the end of our two days, we feel that all of the above took place in spades.

At our arrival to the event on Thursday morning, September 19, Pastor Nick, Kendra and I had the opportunity to informally meet the other four churches that were walking through the process with us. Coming from North Carolina, West Virginia, Michigan, and the central coast of California, it was clear that a broad cross-section of churches and ministry fields were represented. This dynamic added to the flow of ideas and insights that were shared throughout the process.

Following introductions, the facilitators of the Jumpstart (themselves leaders in the multi-site church planting movement) walked us prayerfully through two straight days of in-depth processing. We began by sharing our own specific vision for planting with the Jumpstart      leaders and other churches using only picture drawings on a whiteboard as visuals, which was a stretch in and of itself! We also had an opportunity to break up into mixed teams with members from all the different churches and develop a six-month plan for launching a multisite church campus. This activity stretched our minds to consider  every aspect of planning that goes into such a launch, and the cross-pollination of leadership helped us all see the holes in our own planning up to that point.

Some of the processing we did was in the form of lecture /discussion with key national leaders in the multi-site church planting realm. Through either live interaction or through video conference, we discussed (in both large and small group formats) everything from the latest data regarding multi-site church planting to the “what not to do’s” with regard to site selection and leadership team development. The discussions, as well as the ideas, links, and resources that came out of these interactions were critical to the fine-tuning of the vision that God has given us.

Throughout the two days, Pastor Nick, Kendra, and I also had opportunities to interact as a team. We dreamed  together. We bounced ideas off one another. We held different ideas that other leaders gave us up to the light of scrutiny with regard to our unique ministry field in the northwest. Some of these ideas we came to embrace, while others we recognized as not ideal fits for launching a church in Longview, Washington. And at the end of our time together, we drafted EHA’s first six-month strategic plan for launching a new site plant in Longview in the fall of 2014! While still in its most basic form, this plan will serve as a critical framework from which we will hang the various details of the planning process over the next six months. It will also serve as a launch pad for our next six-month strategic plan that will take us into the launch of a new campus next fall.

“What does this vision and strategy look like?” you might ask. Great question! On Wednesday evening, October 30 at 6:30pm, Pastor Nick and I will be sharing about many of the details regarding vision, planning, and direction for the future plant. Come to EHA that evening to hear all about it, as well as to ask questions. We know that a second congregation cannot happen without the active investment and involvement of the entire church, so your involvement is critical. I cannot encourage you enough to be there on October 30 to get the full report on where we’ve been and where we believe God is taking us. In the meantime, please be praying for us, and if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to connect with    either me ( or Pastor Nick ( We would be happy to talk with you about what God is doing! I’m excited to be on this mission with all of you!

Pastor Jon

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