Another question many people have is, "Are you going up to Calgary to work for a church that already exists?" And the answer is, No. We will begin a church from scratch. We call that 'planting' a church.
Invariably, the next question we get is, "How in the world do you do that?! "
In church planting, you can either have what is called a "hot start" (which is where there are already people who want to begin a church and ask you to come be their pastor) or you can have a "cold start" (where there are no people asking you to come start a church - you have to find folks who might be interested.) And yes, I have about a dozen jokes in my head about Calgary and a "cold start!"
Ours will be a cold start, and that can be a blessing in disguise. When we move to Calgary in August 2015, our number one priority is meeting people: neighbors, the guy next to us in line at Tim Hortons, folks at the dog park, etc. We will be constantly looking to make friends and build relationships. We believe that during this process, God will bring us into the path of some folks who are either unengaged Christians, or non-Christians who are seeking God. Some of those people will be interested in becoming the "launch team" of a new church.
This will be slow work, but we are genuinely looking forward to it. (We like people!)
After we begin to identify folks who might be interested in beginning a church, we will begin to hold home Bible studies. Eventually, we hope to have multiple Bible studies going on, and at least 30-40 people in regular attendance. Once Bible studies are established, we will begin to prepare for preview services. These are full blown worship services that happen once a month for about three months. They introduce your community to your church, and provide a "soft opening" before your official launch. (It's kind of like the "friends & family" night a restaurant does the week it opens to the general public.) And, following 2-3 successful preview services, we hope to launch regular, weekly Sunday worship services.
That's a rough sketch of how you plant a church. Is it set in stone? Nope! Will we change some of the details? Most probably!
HERE IS A VERY GENERAL TIMELINE WITH TARGET COMPLETION DATES:
(*Note* Our church planting prospectus includes a much more detailed timeline and strategy. If you are interested, it is posted here on our Facebook page.)
August 2015, Move to Calgary
Spring 2016, Locate launch team, home Bible studies
Spring-Summer 2016, Hold preview services, host 3-4 short term mission teams
Late Summer 2016, Launch regular public worship services
And don't forget, we will need prayer, financial and ministry partners to accomplish these goals. Please consider partnering with us to make a difference in the city of Calgary! Visit www.FollowUsNorth.com for more details.