It wasn’t all that long ago that I was wrestling for the first time with this unshakable feeling that I was supposed to start a new church. I remember the swirling cocktail of emotions that came with it – the excitement and the fear, the hope and the anxiety, and the ever-present question of, “How on earth am I going to do this?”
During that season, I consumed every bit of information I could get my hands on. I read books, attended conferences, called up church planters, and combed the blogs of those who had succeeded and failed at what I was setting out to do. Every piece of input felt valuable during that season. And I am forever grateful to those who shared with me the things they had learned along the way.
A couple years into planting now myself, I too would like to pass on some of the things we learned in the early stages of starting Mosaic Lincoln. There is a special place in my heart for church planters. My hope in the series of posts to follow is simply to help in any way I can those who are considering starting a new church or ministry, as well as those who are already well on their way.
::VISION-CASTING & RECRUITING::
When we arrived in Lincoln in April of 2010, we had shared the vision of Mosaic with just one Lincoln couple. We knew we had a lot of work to do, so we hit the ground running. During that season, I met with anyone and everyone who expressed even the smallest amount of interest in what we were doing. It wasn’t uncommon for me to spend most days a week bouncing from coffee shop to coffee shop around Lincoln from morning to evening. (I blame my shameless coffee addiction on this season.:)
These meetings were rich and I wouldn’t trade them for anything in the world. The conversations and questions that surfaced in these meetings forced me to get really clear on what we were setting out to do. And when it comes to planting a church, clarity of vision is priceless. (This isn’t to be confused with clarity of plans. I believe it was Mike Tyson who rightly said, “Everyone has a plan…until they get hit.” Plans change. Clarity of vision assures that they change in the right way.)
But one of the mistakes I made early on in casting vision and seeking to recruit people to my cause was insisting on sharing that which I was most passionate about. (For those of us who are preachers, this comes all too naturally.) My assumption was that if I just did a good enough job of passionately sharing the vision, people would naturally hop on board. But what I had to learn the hard way early in ministry is that while people may be quick to admire another’s passion, they rarely adopt that passion as their own. Think about it, anyone worth their salt likely already has passions and convictions of their own.
The light bulb came on when I finally realized that people don’t need to be as excited as I am about the large-scale vision of what we are doing. As the leader, that’s my job, not theirs. And while it may get me up in the morning, it will inevitably bore, or worse, overwhelm a number of others.
The breakthrough for me came when I realized that the most important part of casting vision and recruiting people to my cause is NOT what I am most passionate about, but rather what they are most passionate about.
So I began doing a lot less talking and a lot more listening. It wasn’t uncommon for me to spend most of the first hour with someone simply asking questions. I learned their unique story and the unique passions, motivations, convictions and dreams that flowed out of that story.
After forty-five minutes or so, I typically had a pretty good idea whether or not this person was going to be a good fit for Mosaic and whether Mosaic was going to be a good fit for this person.
When I sensed it was a good fit, I then connected the vision of Mosaic to what they cared most about. Of course, in some rare cases this wasn’t possible. However, most of the time it was. I simply helped them see that point of connection, that overlap between their own passions and the larger vision of Mosaic. Then I invited them to use those passions in serving the mission of the church.
Once I learned how to do this, recruiting people became relatively easy. It wasn’t all that long before we had a launch team of over forty wonderful people who genuinely believed in what we were doing and who were committed to using their unique passions and talents to serve the vision of the church.
What about you? How do people tend to respond when you share the vision? Do they lean in for more? Or are they disconnected and glossy eyed by the time you get done? Are you giving them enough? Could it be that you are giving them too much? What is imperative that they get before getting on board, and what is optional?
Lastly, when you meet with people to recruit them to your cause, do you spend enough time listening? Do you take the time to discover their unique passions and areas of interest? Do they see how their passions connect to the larger vision?