So, I've researched and planned the beginning of our rural multisite adventure so much so that I'm at information saturation and really, it's time to actually put some plans into action. If action isn't taken, I'll simply become an expert on theory with zero experience in the matter.
So, how do you actually get your church fired up and on board with multisite in a rural context?
Here's how we're planning to do it: Create a communication strategy
Most people are dying to be a part of something significant and bigger than themselves. What we're finding is that there is a LOT of interest in our congregation about what our new location will be like. We need to find a way to fire up our people about the mission, engage the people and create easy on-ramps into the mission. The biggest obstacle for us in doing so is communication.
If you communicate poorly, you may end up turning away the people that you're trying to engage! It's been written about in various leadership books, and I've experienced it first hand, the best people want to be on the teams with the best people*. I need to work at being strategic to leverage the life-giving mission of the church with the opportunity for the right people to join in.
To do so, we've come up with a tentative 5-step plan that we believe will engage the hearts of our congregation.
*best people: the ones who are energized by the mission, give their lives to the cause, are teachable and will do everything they can to get better at living the mission out for God's glory.
First Step - Casting a Large Net
I can sometimes fall into a trap of only approaching and asking people to help with a ministry that I have 'pre-screened' in my head. I'll look at them and evaluate from a distance things like:
These are all terrible things for me to do - from a distance. What I end up doing is often saying "no" for them based on my observations and assumptions. Doing the pre-screening has limited me to a very small net that only includes the handful of people that I know already and totally misses the people who are just dying for someone to invite them to a mission to give their lives for!
This time around, we're beginning by casting a large net! We're pitching our heart, vision and dreams for the town of Neepawa to anyone who will listen! I'm not doing any pre-screening for this because I don't want to cause someone to miss out on a mission that Jesus may be leading them to!
In the first week of June, we will be promoting and hosting a vision night for anyone in the church to come and hear what we've got planned for our new location. During the night, we'll intentionally create easy "on-ramps" for people to both join us in helping launch the new location as well as on-ramps for people in the church to step up into the vacancies created by those who are leaving to Neepawa.
But in order for this to be a successful night, much time needs to go into planning and crafting the evening so that we are free to communicate our passion and vision easily and with clarity. People don't want to jump into confusion - they are looking for a clear and compelling vision and we need to communicate that well!
How have you succeeded or failed in communicating vision? Leave a comment below!
I am a pastor in rural Manitoba that is passionate about the church, leadership, coffee and bicycles.