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Not long ago at a conference I was asked why I thought that Independent Christian Churches were doing so well across the country. Certainly, there isn’t one answer, nor is there any particular formula that someone could point to. My quick response is that because there isn’t any “hierarchy,” the entrepreneurs get to be entrepreneurs.  In other words, each local church and their leaders get to decide what works best, innovate and create to reach the people in their communities.

Entrepreneur:  one who organizes, manages, and assumes the risks of a business or enterprise.  Merriam Webster

Jesus said, “I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.”  That statement is full of things to consider: 1. It’s Jesus’ not mine.  2. When He spoke those words, it hadn’t happened yet. 3. It would grow (build) 4. It would prevail.

The church is God’s enterprise in the world.  We have a responsibility to take the gospel that never changes to a world that will never be the same.  Jesus doesn’t change, the message of hope and grace through Christ remains the same, but how that message gets delivered, how it reaches people, how the church gathers and scatters is constantly changing. This is why Spire is so needed by today’s church leader entrepreneur.

We are in an interesting time of challenge in the church world.  In the US, in every way that we measure big “C” church attendance – it’s declining.  The average person in the local church is attending less and often attends several places.  The bulk of church growth today is often swapping sheep or re-arranging brand.  Add to that how challenging ministry is to the health and effectiveness of leaders and it comes as no surprise that leaders everywhere are looking for what to do to meet these challenges. It will require the best of our thinking, innovation, spiritual initiative and risk taking.

What I love about our movement is that it has always been a risk-taking movement. To see people unite around Christian Unity, Biblical Authority and the Great Commission is a dangerous challenge to the gates of hell.  Innovation and change has always been at the forefront of seeing the local church grow.  That has happened in large churches, mega churches and smaller churches. It is Christ’s vision in action. Church size, location or even resources don’t limit innovation and initiative, but it is limited when we are isolated or insulated. It accelerates when we are connected, unified and moving as Christ intended.

One of the hopes of Spire is to provide a broad platform for our churches and leaders to connect, to share ideas and resources – to learn from each other, encourage each other, attract others who share our values and strengthen what God is already doing among our tribe and beyond.

The disruptive business of today is happening through platforms—(think Uber, Airbnb). Platforms do two key things:

1  They allow something to happen that already wants to happen, they help whatever that is to accelerate.

2  Platforms turn consumers into contributors. Who knew 200,000 people wanted to turn their cars into part-time taxis? These seem like simple visions now, but they would never have existed to radically change our world if someone hadn’t taken a risk.

Over this next year as the Spire Platform develops we want to provide a place to accelerate the good things God is doing through the church, through you – its leaders – and to allow a place for the best practices, ideas and innovation to be shared. So, in this first blog installment, I want to ask you – are you leading like that? Are you ready to connect, share, collaborate, innovate and risk? What risks have you taken that the Kingdom might expand? How will you accelerate the movement of Christ’s Church in the year to come?

About the writer

Rick Rusaw serves as the Lead Pastor for LifeBridge Christian Church, a position he has held for the past twenty-seven years. Rick is also a member of the Spire Leadership Team. You may contact Rick directly through the LifeBridge website by clicking on his picture.

  1. Casey Scott
    Casey Scott on

    Great stuff, Rick, thanks! Here’s an idea that hopefully Spire can use: We have access to DECADES of recorded sermons from some of the best preachers in the history of the modern church (can you tell I’m biased?) from the NACC. Would there be a way for the Spire network to post one of those each week? Obviously, this would work great as a “Throwback Thursday” kind of thing. Just a thought. FWIW, I’m really looking forward to what Spire will do for the Church!

  2. Brian Jennings
    Brian Jennings on

    Thanks for the good words, Rick. The toughest thing on my agenda this week (tougher than a funeral, a sermon, and leading meetings) is going to be confronting someone I work with about gossip. I hate confrontations, but I know it’s right – for all of us and for the church. I have to remind myself that the little things matter. I’d rather dream, strategize, or study, but this one thing matters to the health of our team and church. Lots of times, the rightest thing is what also feels the most uncomfortable. I want to be faithful in the risky/uncomfortable matters of church leadership.

  3. Brian Mavis
    Brian Mavis on

    Hey Rick! =]
    This reminds me of a quote from Chesteron:
    “And the more I considered Christianity, the more I found that while it had established a rule and order, the chief aim of that order was to give room for good things to run wild.”

  4. Michael Nieves
    Michael Nieves on

    I’m a church planter and this is exactly how I unknowingly approached church planting. Now, I see the need to expand, develop and share a platform for the expanded influence of the Kingdom. Looking forward to growing deeper roots along with this movement.

  5. David Coons
    David Coons on

    I think that a big challenge for this type of leadership is being honest with ourselves and others. I love the idea of building a network where Pastors can be “real” with each other and seek to address the real challenges that our churches are facing. Society tells us that we’re weak if we don’t have it all together and seek help from others. I actually think it’s a sign of strength, maturity and discernment to admit that we don’t have all the answers and we need support, whether tangible or intangible, from our fellow laborers in the Gospel. Our team is looking forward to watching this network as it enters this next chapter.

  6. Cash Hunter
    Cash Hunter on

    I think your last paragraph is why Spire is so important. Growing up in the 90s and heading to one of our Christian Colleges in the early 2000s I saw the idea of independent to mean all on your own (I’m sure there’s a fancy word, but I can’t think of it). I would meet a Minister at a local church and learn he hadn’t collobarted, broke bread with, or even picked up the phone and speak to the Minister 10 miles down the road. We need to do better to partner, share, and unite as ministers and churches. Thank you Rick and others for leading out on this.

  7. Gary Cox
    Gary Cox on

    Thanks Rick, I think of the statement, “a rising tide raises all boats” when I think of Spire. Each of us intentionally working will help everyone else. So many people have great ideas I would never have but can benefit from. I am really looking forward to this platform. Anything we can do to help–let us know.

  8. Aaron McClary
    Aaron McClary on

    Q: “Are you ready to connect, share, collaborate, innovate and risk?”


    Q: “What risks have you taken that the Kingdom might expand?”

    2.5 years ago I moved my family away from a church/community that I loved in order to follow God’s leading to a new church/community. It was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever made but it was the right one.

    Q: “How will you accelerate the movement of Christ’s Church in the year to come?”

    As I now have the privilege to lead a 140 year-old church, I have felt compelled (along with those on the leadership team currently assembled here) to seek outside guidance as we craft our strategic ministry plan for moving forward. This fall we will be bringing in Intentional Churches to walk alongside us for a period of 12 months. I’m convinced that their expertise combined with our passion will result in the development of an effective model for the accelerated movement of our church (and this corner of the Kingdom) for years to come.

  9. Team Spire

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