I remember the first time I heard of Aspen Group when a connection reached out to me and let me know they were growing and searching for their first HR Director. When I asked a few questions about the company, he was quick to share how great working at Aspen was—with an unwavering focus on the mission of creating space for ministry impact, living out the company’s values, and a family-friendly, collaborative environment. I was excited to apply and was honored to join the team in August 2017. When I came onboard, I saw that everything I had been told about the organization and how it treats its employees is true! Aspen’s leadership truly believes that having engaged and fulfilled staff is the most critical company health indicator and allows us to best serve our client churches.
I can’t stress enough how important it is to set expectations for leaders. Say I’m a small group leader, and I'm hearing over and over that I need to have an apprentice who I’m investing in. The expectation is that I need to reproduce my group. Say I identified Tony as my apprentice because he’s demonstrated the three characteristics I’m looking for—teachability, spiritual velocity, relational intelligence.
Discover the impact Millennials' values, allegiances, and assumptions will have on your church.
Strong leadership in your church is desirable. You want leaders. But how do you actually empower these leaders at your church? Whether you are grooming new leaders or looking to vitalize current ones, here is a simple tool that looks at how to empower the leaders in your church or at your sites to actually go out and do the things you’re looking for them to do.
I was present at the beginning of this era of multisite ministry. It was an accident; I was just fortunate enough to work at Leadership Network at a time when we were making a list of and tracking the early practitioners of multisite. After a meeting with a church in 1997 that had already gone multisite, my team and I looked at each other and said, “ This is going to be big.” We then saw a cadre of churches doing similar things across various geographic areas and denominational backgrounds. What began as a list of 78 in the ‘90s has grown to more than 8,000, according to a Duke University survey. I believe we are still in the early chapters of this story. There has been a rapid replication of sites and systems to fit the current context, but we are a long way from seeing the totality of this movement. Drawing from the research within this report and my experience, here are some trends I have observed during the rise of expansion strategies, as well as a few shifts I think we have yet to see unfold:
If you are a pastor or church leader, you will inevitably encounter challenges in your ministry. It's tempting to think that it's our circumstances that create our greatest challenges. According to Pastor Mark Jobe, however, this is a myth: “If you are a leader in any capacity, in your church, in a ministry, your greatest challenge is not a lack of resources. If you grow enough, you’ll learn how to raise those resources. Your greatest challenge is not leaders, because if you grow enough, you’ll learn how to attract leaders. Your greatest challenge is not immaturity, because if you grow enough, you’ll learn how to lead people to maturity. Your greatest challenge is not the neighborhood you’re in or the changing demographics, because if you grow enough, you’ll find solutions to reach those changing demographics. Your greatest challenge is you.”
For those of us living in the Southeast, the dire predictions of Hurricane Irma’s path up the coast this fall posed an ominous threat. Many of us, myself included, had barely recovered from last year’s hit by Hurricane Matthew. Nonetheless, we prepared for the worst and hoped for the best. Thankfully, we dodged a bullet with Irma. Houston, sadly, was not as fortunate with Hurricane Harvey. Ongoing efforts to clean up after the ravages of that massive storm continue. Watching these events unfold this hurricane season, I’ve wondered what the best counsel is for churches in the aftermath of a hurricane.
Whether you're considering the launch of your first multisite campus, thinking about planting your tenth church, or exploring the relocation of your existing church space, you must think strategically about that expansion process. The two guests on this fifth and final episode of the Alignment Conference Podcast know that reality all too well. For nearly three years, Bob Gray, project developer at Aspen Group, and Graham Richards, senior pastor at Thrive Christian Church, worked alongside each other exploring new growth opportunities within the church. And this past summer, all that work came to fruition with the opening of Thrive's new site in Westfield, Indiana. In this episode, Bob and Graham reflect back on that process, discussing the questions they worked through, including: How do you know when it’s time to make a change, and, what kind of change should be made? On October 17, Thrive Christian Church will host the 2017 Alignment Conference, giving church leaders a chance to see firsthand the impact that a new, strategically-designed space can have for a church. Listen to this podcast, and you'll be well prepared for this year's event.
How can your church—especially if you have multiple locations or plants—grow and develop in the critical ministry area of communications? How can you reach multiple generations of people? How can you connect with new people? How can you help people take next steps to learn more about your church, get involved, and grow in their faith? It takes a dedicated communications leader and a team (of staff and/or volunteers and other support) to intentionally and strategically organize the various communications messages that your church has to share with your congregation and community.
The tug. The calling. The spiritual tap on the shoulder. However you describe it, you're certain that God has laid it on your heart to plant a church. But you're less certain on what to do next. Where would you plant it? How do you gather a team? Do you have staff ready to launch these new churches? And if so, how will they actually do it? Who's going to pay for it? What kind of budget is even needed? Or maybe you're on the other end of the spectrum. Maybe you're an experienced church planter who now leads multiple campuses. How do you not only hold it all together but also maintain energy as you try to keep your organization moving forward? In episode 4 of the Alignment Conference podcast, Patrick O'Connell, director of NewThing Network, answers several key questions about church planting and expansion strategies. Whether you're brand new to church planting or a seasoned veteran, Patrick shares a wealth of information for church planters and leaders who are eager to answer God's call to plant a church.
Mark Jobe is the lead and founding pastor of New Life Community Church in Chicago. He and his wife Dee have seen New Life grow from a handful of people to several thousand meeting at more than 20 locations with over 40 worship services each weekend. Mark is also the founder of New Life Centers, an organization focused on helping youth in underserved areas of Chicago. On Tuesday, October 17, 2017, Mark will share his church's journey with "Restarts," New Life's method of merging with historic urban churches in order to preserve and restore faith communities. Don't miss your chance to hear his inspiring vision for redeeming sacred space!