If you follow the Orange Leaders’ accounts on social media, you may notice a familiar voice posting and spreading Orange information today. That’s because we’ve been taken over by Geoff Surratt on Facebook and Twitter!
Who is Geoff Surratt?
Geoff lives in Denver, Colorado, with his wife Sherry who is the CEO of MOPS International. Geoff has served on staff at Seacoast Church and Saddleback Church. He now serves as pastor of church planting at Southeast Christian Church in Parker, Colorado, as well as coaching churches and leaders around the country. Geoff and Sherry have two awesome kids, a wonderful daughter-in-law, and the most beautiful granddaughters on earth.
As an introduction to Geoff’s wisdom, following are his 10 Ingredients for a Successful Start-Up Church:
by Geoff Surratt
What does it take to start a successful church (a church that leads many people back to God)? Seventy years ago when my grandfather loaded his family in their old Ford pickup and headed to Oklahoma to start a church, all he needed was a Bible and a vision. Is that still the formula for success? Maybe this video has the right idea:
It’s probably not about hairstyle or blue jeans, but there actually is a recipe for success when it come to starting a new church. If they have all 10 of these ingredients I guarantee a new church will be successful. (Please read all 10 before calling me a heretic.)
- Gifted leader
The right leader is a key ingredient in a successful start-up church, the wrong leader will sink the project. There are several traits successful church planters have in common, but there are two that stand out. First, a start-up church leader has to be able to inspire others to follow. (“A leader without followers is just out taking a walk.”) Second, a church planter must be incredibly resilient. He gets knocked down every day and every day he has to get back up.
- Supportive family
Starting a new church impacts a family like nothing else. They face financial pressure, relational challenges and spiritual attack on a grand scale. It is essential that the whole family has a clear understanding of what’s ahead and a strong agreement with the decision to start a church.
- Clear call
The leader of a start-up church must feel a very clear call from God. If he can see himself doing anything else over the next five years, he should go do that, only a clear call will get him through the challenges ahead.
- Real need
Is there a need for a new church like the one you want to plant in the community where you are going? While every neighborhood has people far from God, many communities already have great churches. A successful start-up church will go where there is a real need for a new church.
- Strong affinity
Do you have an affinity with the community where you are starting a church? A cross-cultural missionary must learn the language and culture before he can share the gospel, the same is true with start-up churches. The wider the gap, the longer it takes to experience affinity. Many start-up churches struggle because the gap is too wide or the timeline too short.
- Effective strategy
A successful start-up church has an effective, flexible strategy. Handing out sandwiches to homeless people is not a strategy. Sending out flyers inviting people to hear your awesome band is not a strategy. Donating backpacks to the elementary school is not a strategy. These are good activities, but what is the strategy to share the gospel with people far from God? Paul had a very clear strategy when he started churches; he taught in the synagogue, he formed relationships in the community, and he shared his faith in the marketplace. He used this strategy again and again to start churches across his world.
- Strong team
The story of moving to a town with nothing more than furniture, family and a burning desire to tell people about Jesus is romantic, but seldom successful. Prevailing churches are started by teams. The first task of a church planter is to recruit a robust team of strong leaders. Need, affinity, and strategy are only effective in the context of team.
- Adequate resources
Starting a new church takes longer, costs more and is harder than most leaders imagine when they begin. Many new churches fail because of inadequate resources while successful start-up churches have a steady supply of prayer, money and expertise.
- Engaged network
Paul, the most effective church planter the world has ever known, wrote often of his support network. He regularly leaned into Timothy, Titus, Silas, Barnabas, Apollos, Priscilla, Aquila, and the other apostles as well as a host of other leaders in churches across Asia. An engaged network of relationships and accountability is essential for successful start-up churches.
- Divine providence
The blessing of God is the essential ingredient of a successful start-up church. Sometimes God blesses a new church in spite of the leader, the strategy and the team, and sometimes a start-up church that seems to have all the ingredients doesn’t make it. There is no substitute for the blessing of God.
Like any good recipe, every ingredient listed above is essential to a successful start-up church (a church that leads many people back to God). I am excited to partner with Orange to help start-up church leaders and teams discover how they can leverage these ingredients to impact families far from God. Join us at Orange Conference 2014 as we continue the conversation.