Start Something New in 2016 — What? and Who?3 min read

Two of the best times to start new ministries in US congregations are January and back-to-school (August/September). Last month I wrote about planning for that late summer launch, building the foundation on the “Why?”

“Why?” is the launching point because it speaks to heart and motive, which engages listeners—especially those sharing your “heart” and motives. When addressing “Why?” you also recruit others who share the same gifts and passions, building your team along the way. “Why?” done well speaks heart-to-heart and transcends generations and demographics because it connects Jesus’ heart for lost people with those lost people in our neighborhoods.

“Why?” is always first, always inspirational, always foundational. But “Why?” dies a quick death without the other two critical “W’s”: “What?” and “Who?”

While “Why?” might be compared to the foundation, the “What?” describes the actual building while the “Who?” is the builder.

 What will you do with your Why?

At our StartNew 3Day in early February (the next one launches in August – go here to sign up), passion leaked from the pores of every individual present. They oozed “Why.” The pain in their community had hooked them and dragged them out into the deep, compelling them to build a boat that would somehow, someway welcome those afloat from Jesus.

But what kind of boat? A small, nimble craft like Genesis—a ministry community of Shepherd of the Lakes, Brighton designed for those struggling with loneliness and significant life change? Or a cruise ship like Journey, a replant south of Grand Rapids, destined to dock on almost 50 acres of land in a growing community?

The answer to “What?” always begins with the lost in your community.

  • What are their pains?
  • Where are they seeking relief and help?
  • What do they long for?

At the core of whatever we build lies Jesus and His life-giving presence of grace and love. Your answer to “What?” adds flesh to His grace and love. It is the physical manifestation of Jesus’ never-ending love for all people.

While “What?” begins with the needs of the lost in your neighborhood, it also includes the resources Jesus has given you AND the resources He has placed in the community. Check the closets and checkbooks of your own ministry, yes! But always, always look outside yourself to see what Jesus is providing for your community, through your community. He is working way beyond your congregation or individual vision.

Who will build (or run) your What?

Just as important as your “What?” is identifying the individual who will lead, perhaps in the “building,” but especially in the launching of the startup. Find starters gifted to start. Don’t ask someone not wired to start, to start. That’s a recipe for failure.

Some people build then find the leader. Critical to this method is ensuring the individual shares the vision for what you built. More than likely, the plans will need to be modified if you do “What?” before “Who?”

The best method is to have the “Who?” on board in the very early stages of “What?” This allows the leader to have greater ownership and accountability in the overall success of the launch. It also ensures that the “Why?” is mutually shared rather than imposed by one upon the other.

StartNew – August

We could talk all day about these two topics. If you are considering a startup to reach the lost in your community, join us for prolonged conversations and learning at the next StartNew in August. Looking to launch sooner and missed the February event? Consider coming to Texas in April for a StartNew – Texas. Same material but everyone wears boots and a hat. :>)

The Michigan District will host the webinar Key Steps in Starting a New Ministry on March 31 at 2 p.m. To register, click here.

Photo (c) Mike_Kiev/iStock

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About the Author

Rev. Bill R. Woolsey is the Executive Director of FiveTwo Network, a network that fuels sacramental entrepreneurs who start new ministries to reach new people.

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