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October 3, 2017

Becoming a Sending Church

By Daniel Im

Our Q&A Webinars are a monthly segment designed for Plus Members to hear from leading experts in church planting, multisite, leadership, and multiplication. For this month’s segment, Ed Stetzer and I talk with pastor and church planter, Vance Pitman.

Hope in times of heartache

This week our country experienced the aches of being on this side of Heaven. After the tragic and ferocious display of evil at the Las Vegas shooting, Americans are left asking, “Where is God in all of this?” pastor and church planter, Vance Pitman thoughtfully stated on Twitter in response to the attacks, “In moments like this the temptation is to run from God, but Scripture teaches it is times like these we are to run to God.” His church, Hope Church, located in Las Vegas, NV, graciously opened their doors to the public and invited people to find refuge in the Lord. Their weekend services will be dedicated to answering questions that many are wrestling with, as well as covering the city in prayer.

This loving and Christ-like response stems directly from their mission to connect people to live the life of a Jesus follower. With a Kingdom heart and vision, Vance lives out this mission every day and has raised leaders to do likewise. For Vance, being a sending church is not just about planting churches. It’s about going into the cities and nations, and making disciples—churches are born as a byproduct.

Proclaiming the good news to all cities and nations

Church planting was never on Vance’s radar. As a pastor’s son, he was expected to take over as senior pastor when his father retired from their church in Memphis, TN. But God had different plans. Inspired by Luke 4:43, God placed a desire in Vance’s heart to preach the Kingdom of God to other cities. In obedience, Vance and his wife knelt down in their living room and simply said, “yes” to the Lord. Two weeks later, Pastor Johnny Hunt from Woodstock, GA, reached out and asked Vance if he would be the pastor of a church they were going to plant in Las Vegas. Being so sure that God had spoken, Vance resigned from his position, sold their house, and began the process of planting Hope Church.

Becoming a sending church

From the very beginning his church had a passion to reproduce and multiply. They knew that one church could not reach the city by itself. They built their church with the intention to plant a church that plants churches. After a year and a half, they planted their first church. In just three years, they broke the 1,000 barrier.

Recognizing the momentum they had, they became very intentional about multiplying. With the city’s population growing rapidly, they strategized a vision that could effectively reach the city. With a deep desire to connect with the lost, they came up with a plan to plant five churches every five years that reproduced five churches every five years. With this framework, they are projected to plant 10,000 churches by 2035, reaching 2.5 million people with the gospel.

Vance strongly believes that church planters should begin with the intention to multiply. He compared church planting to having children. If you wait until it is convenient or you can afford it, you’ll never do it! When it comes to planting a church, you shouldn’t wait until it is convenient, but you should do it when you hear from the Lord. “I don’t think it’s about doing it too early or too late. I think it’s about hearing from the Lord and getting direction from the Holy Spirit in the planting process,” he said. Church planters have the opportunity to press into intimate fellowship with the Father, to hear from Him, and develop a deep sense of trusting His guidance.

To read the remainder of the article, and to watch the full video, click here.

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Tweetables:

  • “Planting a church is like having children. If you wait till it’s convenient or you can afford it, you’ll never do it.”-@vancepitman
  • “We have to have a relationship with the Father, with one another, and with the world.”-@vancepitman
  • “Being a Jesus follower is about abiding in Christ personally, connecting in community, and sharing in the mission locally and globally.”-@vancepitman
  • “I may wonder what kind of mission God has for me, when I should ask what kind of me God wants for His mission.”-Christopher Wright

Additional Resources:

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Daniel Im

Daniel Im (@danielsangi) is the Founder of NewChurches.com and the Director of Church Multiplication for LifeWay Christian Resources. He is a Teaching Pastor at The Fellowship, a multisite church in Nashville. He is the author of No Silver Bullets: Five Small Shifts that will Transform Your Ministry, and co-author of Planting Missional Churches: Your Guide to Starting Churches that Multiply (2nd ed) with Ed Stetzer. He also co-hosts the New Churches Q&A Podcast, the 5 Leadership Questions Podcast, and a brand new podcast with his wife on marriage and parenting called the IMbetween Podcast. He has an M.A. in Global Leadership and has served and pastored in church plants and multisite churches ranging from 100 people to 50,000 people in Vancouver, Ottawa, Montreal, Korea, Edmonton, and Nashville. Visit Danielim.com to learn more.

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