One of the plumblines for us at the Summit is that the church is God’s demonstration community. The church exists to share the gospel, and a large part of how we demonstrate the gospel is through local outreach. As we preach the announcement of Jesus’ finished work on the cross verbally, we have to tangibly display the love of the gospel through the work of our hands. Continue Reading…
Archives For Plumblines
Last week I read a great article on the Catalyst website which asked whether churches were developing leaders or simply recruiting volunteers.
Volunteers are crucially important to the church. Our greatest collective ministry to our city is our presentation of the word of God in all its various forms each weekend, and it takes over 1000 volunteers each weekend for us to pull that off well. Greeters, parking leaders, teachers, worship leaders, production directors, etc are all crucial in making the gospel message plain to peoples of all ages each week. Thus, we believe every Summit member should have a job within the church whereby he or she serves our body and, through that, our community on the weekend. The presentation of the word of God in the weekend service is priority # 1 of our church (Acts 6:1–5; 1 Cor 14:25).
That said, we want to develop leaders in our church, not just recruit volunteers who help us pull off weekend ministry. We believe everyone has been given a ministry gift and that many of those, if not most, are to be used primarily outside the church, in the community.
To develop leaders I believe two values have to be firmly entrenched.
1. A great deal of Christian ministry happens outside of the weekend service, and members are to be empowered to do things that are not directly beneficial to the bottom line of the church.
2. We must be willing to see, even encourage, some of our favorite leaders and members go out from the church to serve in new places of ministry. We never want to put a lid on someone’s potential by keeping them in a place when they could be doing more. We are committed to seeing the gospel go into new places, and that requires empowering and sending our finest. Many will be called to stay right here in RDU and reach their respective spheres of influence through this church; others will be equipped and sent out.
Business writer Jim Collins said that the difference between “good” companies and “great companies” is that good companies enlist quality people to carry out the vision of one “genius.” “Great” companies collect and empower geniuses and help them reach their God-given potential.
Those that know him well say that Jack Welch’s (the legendary CEO of G.E.) greatest gift was his ability to spot and raise up leaders. An impressive number of CEO’s came from GE. He gave away some good leaders, but the leadership culture he created attracted many to replace the ones he “sent.” That is what we desire here at the Summit Church – not to be a group of people gathered around a leader, but a leadership factory.
We rejoice even though it’s bittersweet when some of our greatest and most gifted leaders, lay and staff, rise up from among us and go to plant their lives elsewhere. We believe that, just like the boy with five loaves and two fish, as we give what little we have away, God will multiply it and give it back to us. It is a great, and harrowing, and very rewarding life to give what you have away to see it used for the purposes of the Great Commission.
(see also this previous post)
Summit — This weekend God graced us to officially send out our Greensboro church planting team. This team (pictured below) consists of families and graduating students who are uprooting their lives from here in RDU to plant Mercy Hill Church in Greensboro, NC. This makes 140 members in 5 strategic church plants that we have sent out in the last 18 months. This is the one time we don’t mind “losing” our people! Praise God!
Andrew Hopper, lead pastor of Mercy Hill, is as fine a preacher and leader as we have here on staff at the Summit. He has served in numerous capacities, including young professionals pastor and Brier Creek campus pastor. We will miss Anna and him. And, to make it official, we have always liked her better than him. Some say that we hired him just to have her around. I can neither confirm nor deny that.
Sending out our members to plant new churches is always bittersweet for us. Many of those pictured above were leaders–of small groups, of ministries, and even of our pastoral team. Many were personal friends. It is painful to see them go. We are committed to being a sending church, however, because:
- We believe that the New Testament strategy for completing the Great Commission is to plant churches in strategic cities. There is still much work to be done in Raleigh-Durham, but our God is a sending God and each church should be involved, in some way, in the process of sending the gospel where it is not. God’s Kingdom advances through the multiplication of local churches in strategic cities around the world.
- We measure our success by sending capacity as much as seating capacity. Jesus’ vision of the church was not a group of people gathered around one anointed leader, but multiple leaders going out in the power of the Spirit (John 14:12).
- In order to send out church planting teams, we are willing to send out our best. It always scares us to send some of our most dedicated members and most gifted leaders, but another of our plumblines is that pushing out leaders creates more leaders.
Please pray in the coming weeks for this team: that they would gain strong connections with the city of Greensboro, particularly as many of them search for jobs; that they would have Spirit-arranged opportunities with unbelievers from day one; and that leaders would be raised up from the harvest there in Greensboro.
This is not a plant by a fringe subset of the Summit Church. This is “our” offspring. Let’s believe God with them for great things.
If you or someone you know is curious about Mercy Hill Church, you can check out their website–http://www.mercyhillgso.com/–for more information.