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Sunday, September 17, 2006
Startup Faith Communities
Hey, gals! My hubby and I are working to establish a faith community in Indianapolis, Indiana. We've got a good (albeit, very small) core group to start with, but we started having core group meetings last summer in a home and moved into an "official" building in January. We're not much bigger than we started (plus we lost a couple of really good families who decided they need to stay closer to home--still in contact, no bad blood, just logistics).

We've prayed long and hard about planting, and we really feel this is what God wants us to be doing. We have NO desire to be a mega-church (In fact, prior, to this undertaking my husband was on the staff of one of those, and says he would take struggling through this and knowing its where he's supposed to be any day over going back there.), and we've already planned that if we were to get to a certain number down the road we would plant a daughter church at that point. But the fact remains that we would need to be a bit bigger than our current size to be effective in our community (and to be solvent, to be blunt). Obviously, we trust God in all of this, but we also balance that with our belief that He also expects us to put in the work required.

Has anyone out there undergone the church planting process? Do you have ideas? Would you just like to voice your stories of empathy? Either way, I'd love to "hear" from you. :-)

p.s. If you want more info about our group in order to more appropriately comment, our site is www.dwellingplaceindy.com.

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posted by Cary Fuller at 10:50 PM ¤ Permalink ¤


  • At 9/18/2006 09:22:00 AM, Blogger Michele L

    I have not planted a church or been a part of church planting. I just wanted to place my encouragement. It takes great Faith and courage to do such a thing. May God's work be done. Let us know how it goes.

  • At 9/18/2006 10:29:00 AM, Blogger Mercedian

    If you pardon a male infiltrator.... My wife and I moved to Merced, California alone (called a parachute drop) and we are now beginning our second year. I agree with your husband; it is far better to be doing what you know God has arranged for you!

    If I can encourage you both and let you in on some of our successes, please let me know.

    Also visit the Ordinary Attempts blog which I moderate. Maybe you could share an OA story with us.

    Bruce Logue www.ordinaryattempts.org

  • At 9/18/2006 10:59:00 AM, Blogger From the Margins

    Hi Cary,

    I am a church birther (e.g. planter) also. Our community of faith is a year and a half old (Generations Quest in Virginia Beach) and is outside the traditional church "plant mold." I'd love to talk with you any time and send any encouragement your way that I can offer! ...just email me. I know that I will receive encouragement from you also through our conversation together.

    In the mean time, I'll go and check out your web site! :-)

  • At 9/18/2006 11:44:00 AM, Blogger Mike Clawson

    Hey Cary,

    My wife Julie and I are in a very similar situation to you guys up here in Chicagoland. We've planted a church, Via Christus in the far southwest suburbs. We're a little bit behind where you're at though. We got started this past January, have about 20-30 people meeting in my living room, and are desperately looking for a larger space somewhere in our town. It's slow going. We've attracted a good number of people through the internet (folks looking for an emerging church) by listing at theOoze and Relevant Magazine. But it's still just one person or one family at a time.

    I wish I had advice for you, but we're still learning how to do this ourselves. Hang in there and God bless.


  • At 9/18/2006 01:21:00 PM, Anonymous soldiermom

    My advise would be to make your ideology/theology/doctrine/core values etc. as clear as you can. Repeat them ad nauseum, and ask people to put them in their own words. In other words, make sure they buy into your vision.

    People are looking for some place to belong. They get excited, entrenched and then when hit with something they did not expect or something they don't agree with they FREAK, run, slash and burn. It’s not pretty. I think much can be avoided if people know what they are getting into. Though truly, conflict can never be completely avoided.

    In my case, we started our church 6 years ago as a contemporary church model, thinking that was all there was. (silly us) Then we hired a pastor who was truly postmodern, though he came from an extremely conservative seminary, so his true self had been kinda beaten down, if you know what I mean. Over the years we have resonated with the p/m emerging thought patterns. Eventually the leadership decided to change the church model. Well I don’t need to tell you the rest. It had to be that way for us, but not for someone just starting out.

    As far as money is concerned, that is a tough one. This type of church is not so appealing to those in the professional world. They are all about cause and effect, bottom-line, “tell me what I want to hear in 20 minutes or you lost me”. I know these people because I was one. God is moving amongst us and I am certain that if you remain authentic and set an example of true Christianity in your community the people will respond.

  • At 9/18/2006 02:59:00 PM, Blogger From the Margins

    SM: What an interesting thought about the professional and money. I resonanted with what you said but had never put it all together so succinctly! (sp?)

    Cary ... nice web site. Inviting and it's obvious you're trying to engage and reach out.

    When looking for a place to 'rent' have you considered buying a small house, gutting a few interior walls and housing the church there? That way you'll be building some equity rather than giving away rent monies. And, if you can only afford in a poorer section of town, that should work as a built- in ministry base from which to begin missionally. Rent a room to a student and it stays residential (no worries about zoning.)

    Just a thought. It's a version of what's been working for us.

  • At 9/18/2006 03:25:00 PM, Blogger From the Margins

    So, since we've had a few good men jump into the conversation on this one with some good ideas, it prompted a question in me ...

    What would it take for women, who aren't married to someone sharing in the ministry, to start a pomo (postmodern) community of faith on their own? Is it realistically viable yet in our culture? Wonder what the odds are of it succeeding?

    PS: (The largest church planting group in Amer., Southern Baptist, report only a 20% success rate over all for them. Check this out: my nephew-in-law is in this particular denomination (SB) and he and another gentleman are opening the doors this Sept. to a new church plant in a suburb of Atlanta. Here's what he's starting with from 2 mother churches: 400 people, a 40 member leadership team incl a worship team, $50K each for salary incl. a housing allowance, and $300,000 seed monies for rent, advertising, etc over the next 2 years!)

    Upon hearing this in the 'family kitchen' last winter, I definitely am putting in my request to be a white male of the southern baptist persuasion next time around!


  • At 9/18/2006 05:47:00 PM, Blogger Julie

    Yes - to the whole vision thing. Make sure your core team is all on the same page and share passions. At first we caught ourselves slipping into a trap of being an attrational church - nice service, music, non-threatening - just like all the other churches in town but with no money and no programs - and it was really really depressing. We realized that we could grow faster doing those things, but at the cost of our true vision. so we chose to stay true to the vision and be more organic. We had to take a come what may attitude - if it worked great, if not and we get shut down by our overseers - well we tried and were true to the vision - what else could we do...

  • At 9/18/2006 10:45:00 PM, Blogger Cary

    Thank you ALL for your encouraging words and great thoughts.
    Michele, I appreciate your kind words.
    SM, thanks for the advice. We've got those listed on our site (dwellingplaceindy.com), and we went through those pretty hard and heavy right at the beginning with our core group. I agree that that's very important.
    Bruce, I'll definitely check out the sight.
    Mike, if you talk to Julie, she'll tell you that our stories are even more similar than you might expect (regarding our experiences with our past churches).
    Sherri, thanks for the encouragement. Interesting thought about the house. We'll need to start looking into something in January when our lease is up, so that's something to consider.
    Julie, good to "hear" from you. I appreciate the reminder to stay true. I hope things are going well for you and yours.
    All, if you want to enter into further one-on-one conversation on this issue, I'd love to hear from you at my e-mail caryfuller@hotmail.com. Thanks again...so much to think about.

  • At 9/18/2006 10:47:00 PM, Blogger Cary

    Sorry, Bruce. I meant "site", not "sight".

  • At 9/24/2006 03:35:00 PM, Blogger Lainie Petersen

    God bless you. . .I wish someone would do the same in Chicago. I'll be praying for you!


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