Posts Tagged church launching

Hands in the Air

roller coasterOur first postcard inviting people to check out New Way Church is in people’s mailboxes now. The second one is going out in less than a week. We’re advertising on Facebook, and through Google, and we’re inviting everyone we know. Because on Sunday, February 27th, at 10:00 a.m., New Way Church is officially launching.

We’ve been meeting quietly for half a year, and now it’s time to switch from quiet to loud. And it’s weird. Why? Because we are heading into unexplored territory and have no idea what will happen next. Will we get so many people showing up that there isn’t parking and seating for everyone? Will we get no one? Will the people who come check us out find value in what we offer? Or will our non-traditional take on Christianity make us a target of hatred?

Or will the Lord bless us with exactly what we need to learn and grow?

Why do roller coaster riders throw their hands in the air?

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Major Objectives

This plan covers the first four years of the program. Years 1 through 3 cover the “infancy” phase of the congregation up to the end of outside financial support. The first year (“Year 0”), which is laid out in more detail and is broken into three phases (Prelaunch, Launch, and Postlaunch), centers on the activities during the “birth” phase necessary to ensure a healthy start to the congregation.?

Prelaunch > LAUNCH > Postlaunch > Year 1 > Year 2 > Year 3

[This is from the Launch Plan for New Way Church in Austin, TX. Yesterday: Launch Team / Core Group. Next time: the Calendar.]

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Marketing Philosophy

Tagline: “New Way Church: Welcome to Christianity 2.0”.

We cannot be the 1st mover in the “Christian church” category in Austin, obviously, so our goal is to create a new category: “Christianity 2.0”. We will sacrifice market leadership in whatever areas are necessary in order to focus on our unique values and offerings. We will focus on opposite characteristics and not on similarities with category leaders / first movers. The goal is to communicate our differences in a compassionate, non-argumentative way to those who are looking for something different.

Advertising will focus on the “New Way” brand, appealing to people who are spiritually minded but view traditional christianity as outdated and no-longer in synch with postmodern reality. E.g., “Imagine a New Way of seeing God”, “No satisfied Christians here”, etc. Affiliation with the “New Church” umbrella brand will be clear. “New Way” draws on early apostolic Christianity’s original name, “The Way”, while also subtly evoking a more eastern, wholistic approach to spirituality. By tagging the brand with “Christianity 2.0” we emphasize the “New” in “New Way” and “New Church” in a way that appeals to postmodern tech-savvy adults looking for something more than just another flavor of old-school organized religion.

[This is from the Launch Plan for New Way Church in Austin, TX. Yesterday we talked about the commitment to No Premature Real Estate. Tomorrow I’ll explain Service Evangelism.]

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No Premature Real Estate

Another new component of this church planting model is the avoidance of long-term commitments to real estate. New Way Church will be technically nomadic for the first many years of its existance. This not only reduces costs significantly, but it also helps in a number of other ways. There are a number of different ways of doing this. Primary venues (following recent studies of successful church plants) include movie theaters, school auditoriums, and other community centers. Currently we are looking at the Regal cinema at the Gateway Mall.

New churches often become hyperfocused early on on building programs. The good thing about a building program is that it gives the community a goal. But there are costs that come with this goal.

First, it is a self-serving goal and so tends to turn a community inward. Second, it locks the church in with regard to worship gathering size far too early. Third, it saps all the financial, emotional and physical energy of the congregation, preventing that energy from being used on more outward-facing programs. Fourth, it creates a long-term burden—in the form of maintenance and sometimes debt service—that not only draws money and energy away from outward-focused programs, but (when debt or additional grants are involved) it robs the congregation of an important sense of self-sufficency, making them into wards of the denomination. Finally, building programs encourage a “work hard today, so eventually everyone can stop working so hard altogether” mentality. The building of a building has no obvious followup goal to inspire and lead a community. Better long-term goals include things that will always need repeating—like sponsoring the planting of daughter churches. (See “Daughtering”, below.)

[This is from the Launch Plan for New Way Church in Austin, TX. Last week: Street to Kitchen. Tomorrow: Marketing Philosophy.]

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Street to Kitchen

Using an adaptation of the “Foyer to Kitchen” model of church program planning, no new program will be started that does not have a clear goal that assists in progressing participants a step closer to experiencing the Lord in His Second Coming. We call this “street to kitchen” because we feel that the church’s behavior in the public commons is as significant as its behavior with those who have entered its doors. So the metaphorical progression is Street -> Foyer -> Living Room -> Kitchen Table.

[This is from the Launch Plan for New Way Church in Austin, TX. This is after a long hiatus of posting. Last post was on the Crowd to Core model. Next week I will post a section titled No Premature Real Estate.]

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