What a Church Plant Could Learn From The Cincinnati Bengals...
disclaimer: I know nothing about football, so don't bother emailing me with my analogous innacuracies. I am too old to take a sudden interest in football and learn the rules, particularly in our city.
LESSON NUMBER ONE: A great facility will not solve your problems.
If your team can't deliver where you are, they won't deliver when you move to the church plant site of your dreams. It seems like every other planter I meet is waiting to move to the perfect Junior High down the street before they really unplug their best...only it never quite happens. Give God (and your people) your best if you're still meeting in your basement, and keep it up 'till you're in an adequate facility. Don't use the oldest excuse in church planting - churches are planting in rougher conditions than yours all over the world.
LESSON NUMBER TWO: Two words: One Quarterback.
I followed the Bengals well enough last year to know they tried the plug-n-play method of quarterbacking...plugging different guys in, allowing them to prove their disorientation, and pulling them back out to replace them with someone else. For all the warm fuzzies of team leadership, someone's got to lead, and it's got to be the same guy week after week. He doesn't necessarily have to teach every week, but he's got to be man enough to make the calls and take the heat.
LESSON NUMBER THREE: All money comes with strings attached.
The Bengals signed this little contract when they entered their new facility that stated that their part of the bargan was to
A) Pay the subsidized lease, and
B) Field a competetive professional football team.
No one with both oars in the water would have described last seasons' team as competitive, and at one point the county considered suing them for breach of contract. The county had an arguable point. They didn't want to subsidize a losing team and were forcing their point by hitting the Bengals in the pocketbook. Church Planters, if you're getting a sizable portion of your funding from one source...it's worth the price of a cup of coffee (or more) to find out exactly what perspective the benefactor has. Once you take the cash, it's hard to go a different direction without their wink and nod.
Perhaps another time - Lessons from Nascar...or better yet, Burning Man.