Home > Blog > Mobilizing From the Sidelines to the Game - The NewThing Network

October 15, 2015

Mobilizing From the Sidelines to the Game - The NewThing Network

By Daniel Im

*Plus Members can watch this entire Behind-The-Scenes interview by logging in and clicking here.

As most of you know, football season is here. With football season comes Fantasy Football. I don’t play Fantasy Football, but I know quite a few people who do. Although I don’t play, I know enough about Fantasy Football to know that you want to pick players who actually play. Picking a player who sits on the sidelines doesn’t bode well for one’s Fantasy roster. Sure, you want them to play well—but if they don’t play there’s no chance you will be the one bragging Monday morning to your friends and co-workers.

In all honesty, the sideline issue is an area that every church and church planting network wrestles with.

If you are a church planter, you have left the sidelines for the game. That’s awesome! But, if you are a pastor, you’re probably constantly praying how you can equip members of your church to be fully devoted followers of Christ who do the work of the ministry. In other words, you’re constantly praying how you can mobilize people from the sidelines to the game. You also may be thinking about how you can lead your church to plant another one. And if you lead, or are a part of a church planting network, you are probably dreaming of how you can get other churches (pastors) to participate in multiplying churches.

The fact is, whether you are praying about church planting, or are a church planter, a pastor, or a church planting network or denominational leader, you are consumed with moving people from the inactive sidelines to the active game.

Patrick O’Connell’s story resonates with this whole idea of leaving the sidelines and getting into the game of church planting and multiplication. Since coming to Christ a little over twelve years ago, Patrick has helped plant a church, mentor church planters, and is now the Director of NewThing, a church planting network founded by Dave and Jon Ferguson.

In a recent conversation, I asked Patrick to expound on this whole idea of how Community Christian Church moves people from the sidelines into the game. What he said was simple, yet powerful, and I want to share it with you.

In order to move people from the sidelines to the game, churches (and church plants) need to create a culture of mobilization.

According to Patrick, Community Christian Church has created a culture of mobilization in, at least, the following three ways.

First, they publically commission church planting teams.

Being in a service where a church planting team is commissioned to go start a new work for the kingdom can be powerfully moving for individuals—certainly as it was for Patrick. A church that creates a culture of mobilization is a church that both proclaims the message and embodies the vision of mobilization. And a public commissioning service is a tangible way to do both.

Second, they challenge each person to develop as a missional disciple.

To do so, Community Christian has created a leadership community. This community meets once a month to develop leaders through vision, huddling, and developing skills. In addition to the leadership community, Community Christian also presses people to bless people, cultivate an awareness of an individual’s call, and provide opportunities for people to use and develop their talents and gifts. By developing missional disciples, Community Christian engrains into their people that they exist for others.

Third, they encourage every leader to have an apprentice.

By every leader taking on an apprentice, who then would take on an apprentice of his or her own, Community Christian creates a culture of reproduction. This in turn creates a micro model of reproduction and sending, that they then aim to replicate in a macro way through church planting and multiplication.

In doing these three things, Community Christian creates a culture of mobilization that makes it awkward for people to sit on the sidelines.

If you create a culture where it’s more awkward sitting on the sidelines than being involved in the game, then your church will have not only created a culture of mobilization, but will have also become part of the “Fantasy” team that God has always envisioned having—a people on mission.

Maybe you are on the sidelines and praying about planting, or a pastor of a church that is praying about how you can lead your church to plant, or a church looking for a church planting network; if so, I encourage you to check out The NewThing Network.

*There was a lot more Patrick said in that interview about church planting and multiplication, how NewThing is learning from the global church, and how they structure their church planting residency program. This video is a part of Plus Membership and you can view it here after you login. To get full access to this video and much more, I encourage you to become a Plus Member. Click here to see all the benefits of becoming a Plus Member.


Daniel Im

Daniel Im (@danielsangi) is the Senior Associate Pastor of Beulah Alliance Church, a multiplying multisite church focused on reaching 1% of Edmonton for Christ. His latest book is You Are What You Do: And Six Other Lies about Work, Life, and Love. He is also the author of No Silver Bullets and co-author of Planting Missional Churches. He co-hosts the New Churches Q&A Podcast, as well as 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. Because of their love for the local church, after pioneering and leading the church multiplication initiative for LifeWay, Daniel and his wife, Christina, moved back to Canada with their three children. For more information, visit danielim.com and follow him on social media @danielsangi.


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