Catalyst Communities | Tom McGehee

  /  Carla Vaca.

Collaboration is a concept, a network is a structure, and a movement is result.

Many pastors today are talking about movements, and many churches and ministries today are participating in, or trying to operate through networks. However, success will only be achieved if they understand and fully embrace real collaboration. Collaboration is not connection, nor is it coordination, nor even cooperation. Each of those concepts focus on the addition of elements, where real collaboration results in multiplication. Simply put, collaboration is the ability of multiple entities to do more together than any one of them could achieve by themselves.

Networks are a structure that enables collaboration for two main reasons:

First, a network’s strength is in the sum of its parts, not any individual part. Success is shared by all and conversely If any part of a network suffers the entire network's ability is downgraded.
Second, networks are poly-centric and based upon “centered set” thinking rather than “bounded set” thinking. Centered set thinking establishes a core set of values, principles or agreements, and allows a multitude of expressions as long as they align with the core thinking. Bounded sets create specific limits that define operational and organizational models, and even culture. Bounded sets grow by replication within a standard pattern (consider a fast food franchise), whereas centered sets grow through innovation in a similar direction. 

If you desire real collaboration and greater impact through network participation, there are several questions you should consider:

How well do you collaborate internally? If your church operates in silos, or only though programs, then trying to operate differently with another church or organization outside your church will never really fit. It will always have to be treated differently, be seen as additional effort, and take additional time to manage. Churches, like any organization, each have their own culture. I’m not talking about theology or denomination, but rather the way things get done. Working with other organizations (like members of a network) may seem like a good strategy, but if it doesn’t fit with the operating culture of your church it won’t work. Remember the old saying “culture eats strategy for lunch”?

How do you measure success? Collaboration is about the multiplied power of the whole, not just the increase of each of its parts. Many today talk of “Kingdom impact”. But, do the metrics you use measure impact of the whole, or mostly of yourself? Metrics are the most powerful behavior lever. ‘You get what you measure” as the saying goes.
How do you define risk? If collaboration multiplies impact, then it also has an associated collective risk.

What is the view of time? There is an African saying “if you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go with others.”

How you answer these questions may help you understand how well your church is positioned for collaboration. This can be difficult for many churches due to their current operating model or culture. For example, the traditional US mega-church is the antithesis of collaboration. It is focused on its own impact through its own growth, and in its own way. It is a “one stop shop”
for all things pertaining to evangelism and Christian growth.

By definition a movement incorporates both the concept of collaboration and a network structure. Movements multiply impact and develop in a non-centralized way. So, if you want to see movement, you need to be comfortable in operating within a network structure, and that requires that you both understand and embrace true collaboration.

NewThing is a great example of a centered set network with a truly global vision. As such they are very well positioned to help create church planting movements. For over two decades I have worked with organizations to provide a process of collaboration to help them achieve greater results. Through partnership with NewThing, we have created “Catalyst Communities”, a scalable collaborative approach to help launch networks that lead to movements.

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NewThing Partnering with Compassion

  /  Carla Vaca.

Compassion plants new churches across the globe by partnering with U.S. church planting networks and denominations and with indigenous networks abroad.

We work directly with an established local church partner that is implementing Compassion’s program. When the church has the vision and capacity to plant a daughter church, it will serve as a mentor and guide for the new church staff.

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The Unseen Power of Relationships | Dave Ferguson

  /  Carla Vaca.

I loved coaching my boy’s baseball teams. One of my favorite seasons was when I was the assistant coach to my friend Red. He loved coaching baseball, and he did a great job. Red had been doing it for over twenty years. But Red had another love in addition to baseball. Birds. Oftentimes he would stop a practice and say, “Hey, boys, do you see that bird over there? It’s a common grackle.” Or he would point out a flock of Canada geese, make us all listen to them, and then tell us some interesting fact. I learned a lot about baseball, birds and relationships from my Coach Red.

One interesting fact I learned from Coach Red was why geese fly in a V-formation. Have you ever noticed that V? God had a good reason for including that as part of their instinctual behavior. As each bird flaps its wings, it creates uplift for the other birds behind them. Scientists tell us that by flying in a V-formation, the whole flock is able to fly much farther than they could on their own, at least 71 percent more compared to a single bird. By moving together they created an unseen power.

What Coach Red was describing was the unseen power of relationships. Just like geese, when leaders come together and move in a common direction, there is an unseen power at work that allows them to get more done with less work than if they’d tried going it alone.

Now, if we were to ask one of these geese flying in a V-formation, “What is it that you are doing that has led you to fly so fast with such ease?” The goose might say, “I just flap my wings really hard.” And that would certainly be true. But what the goose might not be aware of is the invisible relational dynamic at work among the larger flock—the hidden power that allows him to fly farther as he travels with other geese in a unified formation.

Over the years I have seen this same kind of unseen power in the networks of NewThing. When leaders come together and move in the same direction the unseen power of God’s Spirit is at work. They are able to start more churches, raise more money, and attract higher caliber leaders than they ever could on their own. Like geese flying in a V-formation they are experiencing the added blessing of a larger movement of relationships. Being a part of a network within NewThing allows us to get where God is leading us more quickly and easily than we could on our own. Jesus explained it this way, “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them” (Matthew 18:20).  

That is the unseen power of relationships.

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New Church Plant | David Washington

  /  Carla Vaca.

On September 11, 2016 we officially launched our weekly worship services for Kingdom Covenant Church in Chicago. We launched from Curtis School of Excellence located in the Roseland Community on the far South Side of Chicago. It has been a two year process preparing to serve a very under resourced community. We chose to launch on September 11th because we believe our community is in a state of emergency. The message for the service came from Amos 9:11 (nine one one). Where God through the prophet Amos speaks about restoring His people so that they could possess Edom with its Gentiles (those who were outside of God's covenant people). We believe God is restoring the church to be missional and reach those who are far away. This is what our church is all about, allowing God to restore us and in turn use us to restore the world around us. Through the service, prayers,and support of many believers we launched with an attendance of 167 and saw four people come to the altar to give their lives to Jesus Christ. What an awesome start to the work God has called us to! 

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Global Residency Update - Cathleen Rotich

  /  Carla Vaca.

The dream is now reality…The NEW THING GLOBAL RESIDENCY

This dream begun as a conversation…what if we could train church planters…not just any church planter but those who could plant cross culturally…and not just that but that it be a cross cultural team training together and then planting together…and what if they could be trained in more than one church culture setting so that the training is not just theoretical but in-situ and practical in every sense of the word?

Well, what began as a ‘what if’ dream became reality this July as NewThing Global Residency-July cohort kicked off in Nairobi, Kenya. A group of three couples and a single guy responded to this call for gospel adventure and started the journey together. This group of men and women have left the familiar to step into new territory and are being prepared to plant a church in a global gateway city around the globe.

The NewThing Global Residency Program involves many church networks coming together to create an environment of cross cultural exchange and learning. These global networks host the Global Residents and expose them to church leadership in that cultural setting. The expected outcome is that the global resident will end with a broader world view of the global church. In this way, they are being prepared to plant a thriving church in a gateway city; a city that has multiple cultures within it, for example, New York, London, Dubai and Johannesburg. The highlights of the program are training in:

Cross-cultural immersion experience in more than ONE culture
Curriculum coursework to strengthen leadership & theological fundamentals
Coaching from experienced church planters
Serving in a multi- cultural team.

This pioneer group consists of Karan and Isha, an Indian family with two boys, who have been involved in setting up a transformational ministry in Chandigarh, North India in a predominantly Hindu nation. He has followed God’s call to the nations and taken this step to ‘leave it behind.’ Karan brings a fresh perspective and different cultural lenses to church planting. He has led a ministry that has planted multiple churches in North India under tough circumstances.

Charles and Chero, are a Kenyan couple who have served for the past five years as church planters in a coastal city in Kenya. They bring church planting experience to the team.

Travis and Jen, an American Couple, have traveled the farthest from Michigan, US to be part of the team. With them we get to enjoy the flavor of the North American church.

Lastly, Justin, is a Kenyan Church planter who moved to Johannesburg and served in the Anglican Church for about 5 years before returning to Kenya. Justin’s desire for global missions and planting is tangible and he brings youth and flexibility, as well as a lot of cross cultural experience. Together, they paint a beautiful picture of Christs’ church reaching the utmost parts of the world and the power of unity!

These amazing people and the multiple facets of cross cultural preparation for global church planting have been fascinating to watch; and that the Lord would have this team not only train together but dream to plant together is a beautiful picture of the much we accomplish. This is a picture of the possibilities for global church planting because together we are stronger and can reach further.

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Did you miss the BIG Announcement?

  /  Carla Vaca.

We had a great time at the Gathering last week! If you weren't there you missed the big announcement. Dave Dummitt has officially accepted the position of North American Regional Director! We are so excited to have Dave be a part of the NewThing team! His leadership and story are what NewThing is all about. Please join us as we welcome Dave to the team!

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