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.