Proposal for church plant in Seattle, Washington
Over the course of several years God has given me a burden for lost people in the Northwest and a passion to reach them with the message of Jesus Christ. Though the blessings of growing up in the Christian “sub-culture” of the Bible-belt have been plenty, God has called me to leave the comfort of home and go to the city of Seattle to plant a church. My goal is to contribute towards the evangelical objective of changing the spiritual landscape of Seattle from one that worships and idolizes nature, leisure and individualism to a community of fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ that worship the one true God. Church planting is the single most effective form of evangelism and the best method for achieving the common objective. New churches grow faster than established churches because new churches are formed around evangelism and reaching the unchurched versus an emphasis of taking care of existing members in established churches. People are also more open to change in new churches and thus excited about trying new and innovative ideas which, in turn, attracts other people. New churches also encourage the raising up of new leaders that may otherwise not readily get or seek leadership opportunities in existing churches. This is an important consideration given that a church’s ability to identify and equip leaders largely determines the level of its success. Ministry Focus Group The people of Washington State and particularly those in the Greater Seattle Area are unique. They are economic and social trendsetters heavily influenced by the New Age movement and other cults. Washington currently holds the dubious honor of being the most unchurched state in the nation as well as having one of the highest suicide rates. Surveys indicate that 97% of the population (2,234,707)1 of the Greater Seattle Area is unchurched by any evangelical denomination. In the area encompassed by the Puget Sound Baptist Association there are nearly 4 million people and only 110 Southern Baptist Churches and missions resulting in one SBC church for every 36,000 people. They see no need for God because of their rugged individualism and independent thinking. Our church will be targeting white-collar professionals primarily between the ages of 2540. Both my ministry experience and the five years I spent working as a CPA and controller in the marketplace make this target group the best fit for our ministry. A large majority of these people will be employees of The Boeing Company as well as Microsoft Corp. These are highly educated people with an average household income of $80,000 and an average house value of $210,000. On the outside these people seem to lack very little, but the universal needs of marital satisfaction, parenting skills, meaningful relationships, and coping with a highly stressful and demanding work environment will give us an attentive audience to offer relevant ministry. We will be planting the church in the rapidly growing suburb of South Hill that is 35 miles south of downtown Seattle. In April, 1999, this suburb was identified as the number one church planting priority for the Puget Sound Baptist Association. This suburb is presently experiencing a tremendous amount of residential development. There are over 7,000 homes (single family and multi-family dwellings) presently being constructed there with an estimated 8,000 homes expected by 2005 just minutes away in Orting Valley. Style of Church Vision Statement (i.e., our picture of the future) - To build a church that will be actively involved in leading the lost people of South Hill and beyond, into a life changing relationship with Jesus Christ and becoming part of a growing community of Christians corporately and
Source 1996 U.S. Census
individually worshipping God. We will authentically express our love for God through obedience to His Word and for others through serving one another and be committed to applying the Bible in every area of our lives in order to impact a dark place with the light of God’s truth and love. Mission Statement (i.e., how we’ll get there)- To lead the people of South Hill and beyond, to Jesus Christ and equip them to Gather, Grow, Give, Go and Glorify God. Our church will adapt Rick Warren’s (pastor of Saddleback Community Church) purpose-driven church strategy of balancing the five purposes of the church: worship, community, service, discipleship and evangelism resulting in a healthy, growing church. We will place the highest priority on reaching lost people with the message of Jesus Christ through a highly relational ministry. We will be seeker-sensitive and incorporate contemporary worship, life application preaching/teaching and a strong small group ministry. We will be defined by the following core values: Involvement - We value using the uniqueness of each Christian to meet the needs of others. Worship - We value expressing our love and gratitude to God and celebrating His presence through contemporary expression. Community - We value building authentic relationships and experiencing love and acceptance in a caring community. Spiritual Maturity - We value pursuing personal growth in knowing God and keeping His commandments. Evangelism - We value intentionally communicating God’s message of truth and love in every possible way. Excellence - We value doing ministry with excellence or not doing it all. Truth - We value the Bible and applying it to every area of our lives. Strategy The strategy for realizing our vision is depicted below in our ministry model (adapted by permission from Saddleback Community Church) in which we will move pre-Christians “around the bases” in pursuit of becoming fully devoted followers of Christ.
When we arrive in late June we will initially begin gathering a core group of believers and new Christians that we lead to Jesus Christ. The gathering of the core group will be the result of our personal visitation, active participation in the community, hosting felt needs seminars (e.g., marriage enrichment, parenting classes), outreach events and the use of the local media. Specifically, our church will be promoted on broadcast television via the weeklytelevised worship service of Riverside Baptist Church of Denver, Colorado. This program will air on the PAC’s cable network in Seattle beginning in June 1999. The broadcast will be seekersensitive with relevant sermon topics attractive to the lost such as creation vs. evolution. Hope For Today, the multimedia ministry of Riverside Baptist Church, has graciously offered to contribute the media airtime as well as maintain a database developed from feedback from the broadcast in the target area for potential core group members. Such information, coupled with our own personal surveying of the community, will be valuable in defining the needs of our Ministry Focus Group and in the formation of the core group. Once formed we will continue to receive media airtime support and eventually televise our own worship services. In July we will spend a great deal of time learning about the culture and carefully exegeting the community. This will be done through community surveys, studying detailed demographic studies and getting involved in the community at various levels. We will also spend time finding and developing the church planting team (i.e., church staff) along with continuing to recruit financial partners along with securing a meeting place (e.g., school, theater, community center) for our public launch. The core group will begin meeting weekly in August for worship, prayer, Bible teaching, vision casting and equipping. We will also begin some Outreach events in order to get our name out and quickly expose our church to the community. As a critical mass emerges from the development of the core group, we will prepare to launch publicly by planning promotion and establishing the different ministries we can offer. We will plan two or three preview services (October-December 1999) in which we will hold full length worship services designed to work out any “bugs” prior to going public. There will be some advertising for each preview service and follow-up of those who attend in order to get them involved in the core group. Following the last preview service a large promotion and advertising campaign will ensue in preparation for our public launch in January 2000. We will then begin meeting weekly and implementing the five purposes as God provides the right people and resources. We will get the new Christians involved in small groups and disciple them in order to equip them and send them out to lead their friends and associates to Christ. We will maintain a high level of excellence in what we do and not attempt to try to do everything all at once. This will prevent us from attempting too much resulting in mediocrity, which would significantly hinder our ministry. Cost of the Church Plant There are several considerations in “counting the cost” of planting a church, particularly in the Northwest where so many people are skeptical of church. We have made four crucial assumptions necessary to reach our Ministry Focus Group in coming up with a start-up budget. 1. Team approach - As part of our planning for success we recognize the importance of using a ministry team to plant a church. Jesus never sent His disciples out alone but to work in teams. The team will consist of a worship leader and education minister to accompany the senior pastor. The team concept, while more expensive, will enable us to reach more people and allow us to have a greater impact in a shorter period of time. This will be crucial to the short window of opportunity we will have with many of the skeptical seekers. It will also provide accountability, encouragement, friendship, and support, which will prove invaluable to a successful ministry.
2. Relevance - Critical to the success of reaching our Ministry Focus Group is a relevant ministry. Planting a church in the “backyard” of one of the most technologically advanced areas in the United States (Microsoft’s corporate office is just minutes East of Seattle) and consequently one of the most affluent, will require that we be technologically and socioeconomically relevant. The quality of our ministry must be characterized by excellence and be of value to the lost in order to compete with what they are already accustomed to and presently doing in place of church involvement. It is also important that our standard of living not be so different from our target group that we become unable to relate to them or vice-versa. It will be important to our relational effectiveness to live in the same community (not necessarily the same priced home) in order not to risk being thought of as an outsider or unable to relate to their financial issues. 3. Children - We recognize that no matter how positive an experience the parents will have their impressions (and subsequent return) will be determined by their children’s experience. We are committed to providing highly clean facilities and an engaging learning experience for the children as opposed to simply providing childcare. This will require that we “spare no expense” in creating and maintaining an excellent program for children. 4. Felt Needs - We understand that though our Ministry Focus Group is not sensitive to spiritual issues, they do have both real and felt needs common to all people. We are committed to bridging these needs with God’s love by offering different seminars and events (e.g., marriage enrichment, parenting classes) designed to meet their needs. If done effectively, we will have the immediate credibility important to our ultimately sharing God’s love with them. This will require our incurring out-of-pocket expenses that won’t be entirely recouped with user fees. The projected start-up costs and necessary ministry costs for the two years we believe will be needed to build a self-supporting church total $338,000. We plan to fund these costs through the combination of both national and associational support from the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) and the support of individual contributions (tax-deductible) from people/supporting churches/foundations we believe have a heart for church planting and reaching lost people. These donations will either be up-front, one-time gifts or 24 monthly (two years) installments. We presently have $178,000 pledged at the national and associational level of the SBC with $160,000 to be pledged by individuals and supporting churches/foundations through the following two-year contributions of support: 2-Year Total 1 @ $25,000/yr = $50,000 1 @ 10,000/yr = 20,000 2 @ 5,000/yr = 20,000 3 @ 2,500/yr = 15,000 10 @ 1,000/yr = 20,000 30 @ 500/yr = 30,000 __ @ ____ /yr = 5,000 $160,000 Commitments We need people to be involved in one or more of the following ways: Prayer Support - We need an intercessory team committed to praying everyday for our ministry and family. Our ministry and family will be under attack by the enemy who would rather see South Hill remain spiritually bankrupt and worshipping the gods of
this world. We will establish a prayer team link between our ministry and prayer team members through monthly email and a quarterly newsletter. Financial Support - We need the above support either as a one-time, up-front contribution or as 24 monthly contributions. All contributions will be tax-deductible and properly documented in accordance to IRS regulations. Money will not change the spiritual landscape of South Hill as that is solely up to hand of God. However the resources from the financial sacrifices of people who long to see lost people come to Jesus Christ coupled with God’s work through our commitment to serve the people of South Hill with relevant ministry will be a formidable force gaining new ground for God’s Kingdom. Potential Contacts - Raising support will be a continual process as the church emerges in South Hill and the support of new financial partners will be important. We need the help of those who know others committed to reaching lost people in contacting them to consider partnering with us.
Ministry Partners The following are projections for potential financial support by ministry sponsors. NAMB - $110,000 ($22,000 in June and 8,000/mnth for 11 months) NWBC 2,000/yr1; 1,400/yr2; 700/yr3 PSBA 150/mnth (not sure how long) Riverside Baptist Church - approx. $100,000 in media expenses for promotion FBC-Lakewood (Sponsoring Church) Unsure at this time. Their stewardship committee is evaluating their commitment at this time. Individual Contributors - attempting to raise approx. $165,000 Time Table June/July - Arrive, unpack and get family acclimated to new surroundings Begin getting involved in community activities, associations,... Conduct community survey Begin developing Core Group Nail down meeting place Aug - Core Group development Bible Studies begin for Core Group (vision casting, team building, relationally connecting) once/wee Outreach events Sep - Core Group development Outreach events Oct - Core Group development Outreach events Nov - Preview Service Core Group development Follow-up on preview service Dec - Preview Service Core Group Development Follow-up on preview service Jan 2000 - Public Launch Service
Multiplication Plans Our initial budget includes money for church planting that we will obviously set aside for the first couple of years (if that long) until we have the resources (people and money) to plant. The most obvious places to plant will be in Orting Valley, further south in the Graham area or other places as deemed appropriate. I would like to begin planting a church within the first two years (by 2002 in conjunction with Seattle being a strategic focus city) and continue thereafter. I plan to spend some time talking with both John Worcester (Saddleback) and Rick Ferguson (Riverside) in understanding their philosophy in planting churches. Staffing Plans My proposed budget calls for the following positions to be in place no later than September: Worship Leader - Presently working hard making contacts and talking to people about filling this position. Secretary - Will pursue as soon as I hit the field. Small Groups (Discipleship) - Possibly have someone coming with us to fill this position.