The secret to building the vision God has given you.
Christ Fellowship is an awesome church. It is a church where people can discover their calling from God for their life. Christ Fellowship attracts passionate leaders who get a vision to impact their world with the love and message of Jesus. As a Campus Pastor, I interact with passionate leaders all the time. I get to hear them share how God spoke to them about a need in their community or in our church, and how God is calling them to action. I love that God is speaking to our people and calling them up to BE the church - EVERYONE, EVERYDAY, EVERYWHERE!
Usually, these people start by telling me how they are going to build a large ministry, how they are going to assemble a large team, how they are going to make it go “multi-site.” They are envisioning helping hundreds and even THOUSANDS of people. They feel the urgency of the need, so they plan build their ministry within three months. Whether it is helping single moms with car repairs, mentoring the under-privileged children, or supporting small, local churches, the need seems overwhelming. A Leader always has a burden on their heart…
”something must be done!” “we need to act now!"
What I have learned in launching a Christ Fellowship Campus is:
Think Big, Start Small
Dream big...pray big...see the future vision.
But today...start small. Start with what you can do…today.
When Pastor Todd Mullins, our Lead Pastor called me up to help launch Christ Fellowship in Stuart in 2007, I immediately caught the vision from God. I was excited. I was passionate. I remember telling everyone and anyone who would listen my big plans and big ideas. I drove around Stuart praying and seeing the future ministries that we would build to meet the need of people in Martin County.
It took nine months to prepare for the initial launch of the Stuart Campus. Lots of recruiting and praying happened before we finally launched in a High School in Martin County. After the excitement of launching, our church started with about 300 people, most who had come from our main Palm Beach Gardens Location to help me start the church. They were passionate, faithful people who worked hard with me week after week.
The beginning days were awesome, but many of my big plans and big ideas do not turn out the way I intended, at least initially. I recall going to our combined staff meetings with the other Christ Fellowship Campus teams and hearing their stories of hundreds of visitors coming. Many people were surrendering their life to Jesus. I heard of great outreaches within their communities. However, I was not having many visitors come; I did not have stories of many people making decisions to follow Jesus. Because we were in a school, we had to put much of our energy in to setting up and tearing down our media systems and children’s supplies. Other Campuses were having thousands come. We were just having a few hundred come.
God was teaching me in those early days. He was developing me. It was in those days of setting up church in a High School that I learned that our outreach WAS THE SCHOOL. It was the janitors, the teachers, the coaches, and the students that became OUR outreach. We learned that every time we set up church, we also SERVED the school. We would clean the school and leave it better than we found it. We had a “SECOND-MILE” nature in how we loved on the school staff, by finding ways to serve them and care for them. We built great relationships with those at the school, many who eventually started attending Christ Fellowship.
Our Stuart Campus did not grow overnight. Instead, God was growing me and our 300 faithful volunteers into mature leaders. We learned how to invite people to church. We learned how to recruit people to serve together with us on our teams. We learned how to care for and coach the new people that would come (Discipleship.) As our core 300 grew as leaders, then God began to bring visitors to our church.
Over the years, we have seen hundreds decide to follow Jesus. We have had thousands of visitors, many who have never come to church before. We have helped marriages, students, divorced people all get healing and get healthy. Our Stuart Campus teams have served out in Martin County, working alongside churches and organizations. God has allowed us to realize the vision He gave us when originally started!
God had given us a big vision for Christ Fellowship in Stuart. But He wanted us to start small, start with where we were at.
Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin...
Zechariah 4:10 New Living Translation
When passionate people share with me their vision from God, I tell them to Dream Big, but Start Small.
I challenge them to start reaching just one person. I coach them to gather together with just two or three friends who they have influence with and start reaching just one person in need. They should not wait to build some large organization before they start. Neither should you.
Ask the question: what can I do TODAY to meet a need? How can I use what I have to make a difference?
“If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones.
Luke 16:10 New Living Translation