Posts Tagged ‘Church plant’

I owe the Catalyst people a short explanation of a negative tweet I post a few days ago. My post, “Loved #catoneday grt teaching. Only I think big church pastors are out of touch with church planters and small churches.”

Like I said the One Day conference was extremely good and I gleaned much from the speakers, Andy Stanley and Craig Groeschel, and I will be applying so much to my ministry and passing it on to the leaders of Epic Life Church. It is great stuff.

The later part of my post was a bit more negative but I couldn’t help, half way through the afternoon, thinking to myself that these two, along with Mark Driscoll and Judah Smith, seemed really out of touch with the small church pastor and church planting pastors.  It seems odd because each of them started the churches they are now involved in, save Judah, and they all are in the process of starting more campuses, which really do not reflect the structure, resources and environment of the small church or church plant.

As I listened to these great men of God and equally great pastors and leaders tell all 1500 of us, sitting with willing ears and attentive souls, their schedule throughout the week I was a bit taken back. None of them said a word about interacting with the lost, or people who are currently located outside the walls of their respective Church Bodies.

Andy hinted about a relationship that he was building with a painter, but it was a very small portion of the entire day. These men shared their weekly schedules with us, divulging when their staff meetings were and when they prepared for the weekend talks and when they took time for themselves and their families, when they vacationed and Sabbathed, but not one word was mentioned, as far as I can remember, hinting towards their own personal involvement in the lives of the Christless world.

Again, I have a lot of respect for these men, as I am sure 99% of the others squished into the “for skinny people only” theater seating of the City Church’s auditorium. But, that means we, most of us who were in attendance, who lead much smaller churches or, like me, am in the first year of the new church Epic Life, we are listening and respecting and then trying hard to replicate the actions of those we look up to. Which means we would spend no time, none, on the streets ministering to the homeless, marginalize, widows and fatherless. And in essence not fulfilling the Gospel Call.

Hmmm. I am sure this is not what they wanted to get across. When I tweeted that statement at the end of the One Day event a friend of mine in Wisconsin dialogued briefly with me the virtues of big church and the need for pastors who are focused on the Flock, because of the size, they can’t be expected to be “on the ground,” and that both are needed.

To a point I agree and if it was presented in that fashion then maybe I wouldn’t be making it such a big deal. But it wasn’t presented like that. I actually began to feel bad for sitting on Aurora Ave. waiting for my pizza to cook from “Good Guys Pizza” while I prayed for the strippers sitting outside the “Dancing Bares” taking their smoke break two doors North and not being home at 5:30 but instead going from there back to a planning meeting as we pursue more ways to reach the, literally, Lost.

These men kept telling us that we need to be home by 5:30 every night, take vacations, Sabbaths, spend two days working on the weekend talks, delegate, keep things edgy and creative, blog continually, making killer videos, writing books and travel around speaking at conferences.  When I am sure at one time they too sat in my shoes and I would think the shoes of hundreds of those in attendance.

The shoes that haven’t been paid in a year, that can’t afford to record the message in a studio and then go on vacation, that has to work a job and preach, that are on the streets lifting the Lost off the streets, that are actively building relationships in their city with the secular world, that has no staff, that is actively creating a garden space in an empty lot, that frequents businesses to get a chance to share Christ, that is truly going into the world and making disciples, that have served for years and have never gotten a day off, that has no retirement fund or insurance or dental plan or college savings or any savings but gives their meager income away to anyone who comes to the “door.”

Those people are who these pastors were speaking to. Men and women who are giving more than can be written about to see one person come to Christ. There is a passage in the Word that calls us to be willing to leave our families behind for Christ’s sake. Luke 14:26. And although we might not take this literally it still has to be considered, when it is only in this country that as pastors we are taught take care of ourselves and our family first.  Pastors in countries like China actually are giving up their lives and are in hiding yet still preach, pastors in continents like Africa spend countless hours walking from village to village to preach the Word and pastors in countries in the Middle East are getting beheaded along with their family for preaching the Gospel.

But here we are in the Western church glazing over passages that tell us to give all.

Please remember the beginning of this post. I still highly respect each of these men and I have never put down “big” church, because I know they have done great things in this world to advance the Gospel to the multitudes. Far greater things than the small church could and let’s face it, often it is the smaller church that is unwilling to change, that reeks havoc on the perception of Christianity.

But…gentlemen…you are leading Catalyst! Such a great influencer of young minds and young leaders. You now have the opportunity to teach sacrifice and not make us feel that we are doing our family a disservice serving God and following after the vision he has called us to. You all have been in our shoes and those same “big” churches are big because someone sacrificed something and God blessed it and that someone was probably you. But if we allow the next generation to believe that they have to act and exist like a big church when they begin there will be no one lasting long enough to become big.

I confess, I am nothing. Just a church planter with a church that is less than a year old and just now breaking a meager 100 in attendance. What do I know. Maybe I have much to learn and discover. I just pray that when God chooses to expand our walls and we have thousands attending the Epic Life Church movement, that I will be able to remember who I was when I was no one.

Oh…I still like Catalyst and I plan on trying very hard to raise the money so I can attend the Catalyst West conference with my leadership team this coming spring. A team who I am blessed beyond belief to minister with and would benefit greatly from Catalyst, and actually has benefited from the Catalyst Groupzine just a few years ago.

Ezekiel 22:30 (New International Version)

“I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land…”

Epic Life Church is at a major crossroads. We are publicly bringing the Church to the attention of thousands in North Seattle and we need your help! I wish I could sit down and share everything God has been doing over the past year, because it has been amazing. He has allowed us to reach inside a community and see a lot of transformation, and many open doors.

Would you please “Stand in the Gap” and pray for us as we travel through the next two weeks? These are very important days and we need the protection that prayer brings. Also would you please “Stand in the Gap” and provide the financial covering we are in need of at this very moment. If each person who reads this blog would give Epic Life a one time gift of just $25 you would pay for every piece of advertising, the sound equipment and children’s ministry supplies. Many of you already are partnering with us; Thank you!

We just need to cross this one bridge financially, will you “Stand in the Gap for us? The power of many is great.

To give online go to the following link..http://www.seattlechurchplanting.com/index.cfm?pageID=3606

To give with a check you can mail it to:        Epic Life Church

Stand in the Gap Gift

10002 Aurora Ave. N

#36 PMB 5501

Seattle, WA 98133

Thank you so much for “Standing in the Gap” for Epic Life Church and for the thousands who will be touched because of this ministry.

Stand Strong, Live Epic,

Keith Carpenter

Lead Pastor Epic Life Church

Launch

It’s the end of July already and Kristine and I are on the last days of our two week vacation to Minnesota that has been all but a vacation. We have enjoyed being here with family and friends; it has been a huge blessing and wonderful catching up with everyone, but we are going need a few days off to catch up on sleep when we get home.

It hasn’t been a vacation. I have put on over 2,000 miles on Joyce Jarvinen’s Honda Pilot and every night has been very late and most mornings very early, along with speaking at five Sunday services.  God has opened doors to five new churches that are becoming partners in one way or the other too. Please pray with us that they would catch the vision and partner with us in one or more of the following ways.

  1. Prayer – Which is powerful and effective.
  2. Financially helping us reach our goals laid out below.
  3. Traveling and working along side us with teams from their home church/city.
  4. Advocacy – Telling others the Epic Life story and helping us expand our network.
  5. Relocating- People who would love to be living on the Edge and move to Seattle to help the Church planting process.

On October 4th we are planning on publicly launching Epic Life Church. This will be big stuff and is setting up a couple of very busy months. I have put together a list of things we will need to make this work.

Sound system and Lighting  –  $8,000
Children’s ministry – $4,000
(2) Video projectors  – $4,000
Covering rent for a year  –  $12,000
(2) new computers – $4,000
Marketing/Advertising/Branding – $10,000
Signage and printed materials – $2,000
Food and Coffee – $1,000
A Saturday Carnival – $8,000
A website – $1000
Windows in the acquired building – (6) at $1200 each
Prayer as we personally touch thousands of homes and 40,000 people in some way throughout the month of September with many community focused events, advertising, gifts and blessings.

I believe that we are the road to seeing hundreds of people show up on the 4th of October. I feel like the area of Seattle in which we are ministering has an incredible void of Christian influence, so much so that when we “open” Epic Life publicly it will be like a vacuum. I am believing God for very big things.  Will you pray with us as we increase our faith together?

Thank you.

Well it actually is called “Boot Camp,” but to me that holds a negative war connotation so I would rather call it training, intense training.

Kristine and Brandon and I were in Seattle for a church planting training week. Ten hours a day, four days. It was very long but extremely awesome! We covered everything from Vision to strategy to finances to taxes. My brain runneth over.

Cool things – God has given us the ideas, visions and directions that put us ahead in many of the areas. We found out that we had a lot done, but more was added to the list, a lot more. We did discover the freedom of “Mileposts.” They taught us to plan things within milepost not according to timeline. So now we have five million Post-It notes that represent mileposts of which we will continually take down as we accomplish them.

The week was also extremely beneficial as we met many other church planters, husbands, wives and teams. Great networks! This will be so important when we get there; the greater collective wisdom the better. They will be awesome friends and cohorts.

Towards the end we got to look into a couple of homes for sale and get a Realtor on our case. Her name is Susan and she is great! Pray for her. Pray also for God’s house to be placed in front of us and for us to have the sight to see it and the faith to move ahead with it even though we will not have an income. People have asked, “So…you’re purchasing a house even though you won’t have an income?” The answer is a resounding, “Yep.” Remember this whole church plant idea is God’s, so that makes him in charge. Our part is trusting him.

We once again visited All Saints Church in Queen Anne, which was wonderful. Pastor Bill and others there are very excited that we are planting and have committed to helping in any way that they can.

So we move forward with confidence.

When we first started thinking about raising money to cover a three year budget, I thought,  “No big deal.”  Then I found out how much it will cost to do ministry in Seattle, Wa.  A place where a modest three bedroom house costs a mere $650,000. Yeah that’s right. Pretty crazy.  Then stack the slight burden I am starting to feel about bringing ten other ministers with us into that atmosphere. Whoa. And then start thinking about ministry costs. Whoa.

Some have asked, “Why would you go somewhere that costs so much to live?” “Why not use all that money to help people in Africa?” “Why go to a city that is wealthy looking.” Valid questions, I guess, but when thought through they should answer themselves. We are going because God called us.  It doesn’t matter if the cost of living is a dollar a day or 1,000 big ones a day, the fact is the people in Seattle need a transforming relationship with Jesus, period, and since my God is a big God the money issue will be a non-issue when we need it.  If a place like Seattle is transformed it could change our entire nation. We are being called into something that’s big, and if we follow close to the one who called us we will be successful. And “Successful” can only be understood from His perspective. 

The finances that it will take to start a church? Well, I am back to “No big deal.” It all belongs to him anyway, what’s a couple hundred thousand to Him? Anyway, we haven’t even started asking people to commit to helping with the funding, but they have started asking us how they can give and they have started giving above, no, way above the amount that we are planning on asking people to give. That’s my God! The God of abundance. The God of big. The God of, “just test me and see if I will throw open the flood gates of heaven…” 

Whoa!

The Vision Trip

Posted: November 5, 2007 in Seattle Church Plant
Tags: , , ,

Brandon and I left Winona, MN Sunday night for a quick slip into Seattle and back out before our families could miss us. The four days would pass quickly, so we knew that we would need to be extremely efficient and get right to work when we got there, no playing around, no golf, no joy rides up into the mountains, no sailboats on the Sound, just work. The work started before we left. Before we grabbed a couch and cot at Mark Paulson’s house in Minneapolis we had to type and send the text for the Seattle Church Plant Brochure that Shelli Daniels needed to finish by noon of the next day. By 2 am we got the info shot off to her, and we crash, only to crack the lids open at 5:30 am. The plane was leaving at 7:20 am.

Three and a half hours of uneventful air travel brought us over the Cascade mountains. With just a quick glympse of Mount Rainier we dove into the fog covering the city of Seattle Fog over Seattleand touched down at Sea-Tac, me with an aching neck from wobbling back and forth as I went in and out of consciousness. After renting a car, a lame Dodge Charger, we headed off towards the city center to walk and pray. We wanted to have some time to feel the city, to smell it, to taste it. We wanted to get some understanding of the people of Seattle, maybe just watch them, maybe chat with them. I have been to Seattle before but just as a tourist. This was so much different; we were there to find an environment in which to be the hands and feet of Christ. We were there to discover.

And Discover did we ever…