On August 27 I announced my acceptance into the Houston Church Planting Network's Church Planting Residency. Many of you where very excited for Whitney and I, but also wanted to know "what exactly will you be doing?" I made several attempts to explain it to those of you who asked. Let me use the blog to give a more complete answer to that question.
What is the Houston Church Planting Network?
Someone has probably counted all of the various denominations, church networks, associations, and ministry groups in the city of Houston. But it's not me. My best guess is that there are a lot. The Houston Church Planting Network was started a few years ago with the intention of bringing those pastors and churches together. Their goal was to help and encourage those who are leading churches and starting new churches in the city of Houston. This is a big city with more people moving in every day. To reach them all, we have to come together and we have to start new churches.
What is a Church Planting Residency?
A seminary education gives you the "what" of ministry. Experience gives you the "how". Many churches are starting what have been called "residencies". They are more than internships, but not quite full-fledged pastoral positions. They are meant to turn knowledge (the "what" of ministry) into skill (the "how").
A church planting residency is meant to bridge that same gap between education and experience for this very specific type of ministry. Over these next twelve months my knowledge will be sharpened and refined into skill.
What is the Houston Church Planting Network's Church Planting Residency?
In order to achieve their goal of supporting and multiplying church planting efforts in the city of Houston, the Houston Church Planting Network recruited a number of churches throughout the city to help fund and lead their new church planting residency. Myself, along with six other men, will spend the next twelve months being discipled and lead by influential pastors in the city of Houston. They will help us create a vision, develop a planting team, establish a location, grow as preachers and pastors, raise financial support, and successfully reach our neighborhoods with the gospel.
Why am I so excited about it?
I have three reasons:
1. Time with key leaders and pastors.
Few men have the privilege to be discipled by an influential pastor. The seven of us will be mentored by nearly a dozen influential leaders in the city of Houston. They will pour their collective wisdom into each of us for the next twelve months.
2. We're fully funded.
If it wasn't enough to be mentored by these men, this residency is also fully funded for a full year. That means I can give all of my time and attention to preparing for church planting. No second and third jobs. No midnight shifts.
3. Soul care.
The third reason I am so excited about this next year is that they have made soul care a key component of our time together. Pastoral ministry can be lonely work, especially when you're starting a new church. We all want to be emotionally healthy pastors. That requires dealing with our past baggage before starting this new work. They're giving us the time and people to help untangle the emotional and spiritual mess that often comes with life and ministry.
If you would like to keep up with us through our residency and into church planting sign up for our email newsletter. You'll get updates on what I've been learning, sermons I preach, and specific prayer requests.