Category Archives: Missio Dei

Lessons from Church Planting

Now that I am here in Lincoln Square laboring to see a family of disciples live out the gospel here and praying that church into existence, here are some lessons I’ve learned the few months I’ve been here.

1. Freedom is found in experiencing failure.

…Failure is inevitable. Accept it. Learn from it. And know there are worse things that can happen. Take a long-term view of planting. Set your pace to plant churches for 50 years, not 50 days.

2. Church planting is much like the old verbage, “Put up your sails and let the Holy Spirit blow them.” 
… Reflect on the sovereignty of God. We cannot make the wind blow. We simply get to follow where it takes us. It is our job to be faithful until the wind blows (and while the wind blows) rather than forcing God’s Spirit to move. I spent years reading about church planting (I know, years…weird right?) Relying on academic models isn’t the plan in the New Testament. All the authors you  have read never planted a church in your neighborhood with your giftings. Rather than plowing hard to the ground or pulling methods from books, push hard into hearing the voice of God and ask the Spirit, “What’s next?”

3. Church planting is never worth planting a dysfunctional family.

If not careful and guarded, the church will become your mistress. One, the church is Jesus’ bride, not ours. Two, our bride doesn’t want (nor can handle) hearing every detail about church planting. Do whatever you can to leave your thoughts at the door from the day so you can be fully present with your wife and kids. Also, church planter…remember you get to go and meet with several people a day and have meaningful, purposeful adult conversation. Carve out time for your wife to have the same quality time with others.

4. Know your personality and your model.
… There are so many different ways of planting and everyone’s way is of course right. So know your context, know yourself, and know the Scriptures. Be clear on what kind of church you will plant. Whatever trajectory you set in the first year as a church planter is the trajectory with which you will live by forever.

5. You need a team.
… For support, for diversity of gifts, for accountability, for encouragement and for stopping you from doing stupid things.

6. Ideals need to become flesh.
…Some people never move from planting a church in their heads to planting the gospel in their context. We must live out in everyday life.

7. Jesus is your Savior, not your ministry.
… and remind yourself in the hard times.

8. Locals are better than me.
… The men and women who have lived in your neighborhood for a significant amount of time will always be better at disciple-making, introducing others to community, and spreading and showing the gospel. Spend more time equipping them than being the thread to everyone.

9. Read the Parable of the soils
… No matter how dark of a place you live, no matter how broken, no matter how anti-belief, be clear about your conviction that the Word of God, though small, is powerful and will bring life.

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Missio Dei Chicago: July Prayer Update

Missio Dei Prayer Update

 

We are moving our family to chicago

After years of prayer, a year of dialogue with church planters in Chicago, & three trips to Chicago (the first a vacation), Ashley and I have chosen to move our family to Chicago to begin the daunting yet exciting task of planting a church. Although we’ve been a part of a church plant  (The Church at Shelby Crossings) as a college & small groups pastor, this will be our first experience as planter/pastor of a church .

GOD had been preparing this moment for a long time. Below is a brief outline of how God has been working towards this end:

2008-2009 – I began to feel called to church planting, and we explored moving to England to plant with a group of Christians already gathering and in need of a pastor, but we backed out due to doctrinal issues.

2010 – We seriously prayed about serving as a support role of a new church in Memphis. Through this process, I realized I was high on gifting of pioneering and entrepreneur but low on parachuting into a place with no concrete plans. We didn’t sense the Holy Spirit confirming this move.

2011 – We vacationed to Chicago to see our friends there (the Coopers, the Hedges, & the Nalls). At the time, we gave our church planting dreams a break. It was a pure vacation, but God kept bringing up spiritual conversations with many strangers. I was able to have a Christ-exalting dialogue with a guy a part of the LGBT community whose boyfriend was from Alabama. The next day I was able to minister to a man on a train who recently got a divorce. All Ashley and I could talk about was how much we loved the city and how we could see raising our family there. We came home praying and sensing GOD birthing something in us. I came back up to Chicago and met with several church planters. The resounding message was, “WE NEED MORE GOSPEL-CENTERED CHURCHES. PLEASE COME.” After much dialogue, our hearts resonated with Missio Dei. In May, we went to a four day intensive church planting assessment with the General Baptist Conference in which they gave us a full recommendation to plant and that we were ready to do so. God has also given Missio Dei a vision to plant ten churches in ten years. They want us to plant with them and we in turn want to join GOD where he is at work and work with Missio Dei to make disciples of JESUS. We’ll be one of their first plants as we have developed a partnership together. They will help us get settled and stable and even send us some resources and people, but we need individuals and our churches here in the Southeast to send us, pray fervently, and financially support us. Nothing is too big for our God and we would love for you to join us in our mission: making disciples of JESUS neighborhood by neighborhood. You can check out the menu tabs above to hear more about the particulars of the church plant.

This is where we are going, but we need your help. Please consider how GOD may be inviting you to support us – whether through prayer, giving, or moving with us as we follow Jesus in planting a new Gospel work on the north side of Chicago.

Pray

Without prayer, there is no move of God. We need many people to pray for the birth of Missio Dei. We’ve already seen spiritual warfare come in several ways. The role of prayer is essential. Pray for our family, Chicagoans, and that the right relationships will be made to open up doors for the gospel to take root. Pray God will provide renters for our house and that our financial needs will be provided.

Give to God’s Mission

We are asking for potential partners either to commit to an ongoing partnership for 1, 2, or 3 years or to give a one-time gift to help offset some of our start up costs. In the life of a young, urban, missional church, every dollar makes an eternal difference.

Come & Join Us

Maybe you should consider moving to Chicago. Pray about getting a job, starting your own business, or raising support as a missionary to be a part of this new work. Church planting is not a one man show. I’ll be a servant working alongside a plurality of servant leaders who will always be family as we learn together.

Advocate

You can partner with us by being a voice for us and championing the mission of making disciples of JESUS in Chicago. Tell others about our church plant, get the word out via social media, and let others know how they too can be involved. Plan and host a vision night for us to gather friends for dinner and conversation about what God is doing. Feel free to share my contact info with others.

If you feel led by the Spirit to follow up with us about any of these needs, it would be humbly received. Email me @ bfulton82@gmail.com.

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