Almost daily, I’m fielding questions from friends, acquaintances, and even family about what it means to “plant a church.” The most common questions I get are:
- Is someone giving you a building?
- Are you taking over a church?
- Is your denomination supporting you?
- Is this a satellite of Celebration Church?
- Will you be an ARC church?
The answer to all five questions is, “No!” We are literally starting Lift Church on our own. We have been trained by the Association of Related Churches (ARC) but currently, they are not planting churches internationally. We love the ARC model, however, and will be using it to start our church. So although we are not officially an ARC plant, we consider ourselves ARC both relationally and in DNA.
Our pastors, Joe and Lori Champion, at Celebration Church will continue to be our pastors and will provide some financial support to help us get started. Pastor Joe explained it best when he used the analogy of a son leaving home to get married and start his own family. We will always be a son and daughter of our home church, Celebration, but we will have our own now in Newcastle, NSW.
This blog is not long enough to explain every aspect of what goes into planting a church from scratch. However, I can give you some of the basic timeline (all of which is subject to change):
- We have prayed and are 100% sure this is what God is calling us to do. This is most important because without Him, our works are in vain. With Him, we know all things are possible!
- We are in the process of fundraising right now. You can visit our LIFT CHURCH website to hear more about our vision and our initial monetary goals. Establishing our oversight and accountability lays the foundation we need on paper to become a church.
- Once we move to Australia, we will meet in our home regularly with anyone who wants to be a part of Lift Church. While serving the community, our focus will be on building relationships. Once we have grown a team to approximately 30 adults over the first year (hopefully sooner), we will set a “launch date” for the actual church.
- This initial team becomes the launch team and will be committed to serving wherever needed as we go all out in our community to spread the word of our launch. All of our equipment will be purchased and we will have leased our facility by this time. Our marketing strategy is yet to be determined but could include radio ads, television ads, mass mailers, or any number of things to get the word out about our launch.
- Our goal is to launch with a group of people who come back the following Sunday! If we rally about 100 people around the vision of Lift Church right from the start, we will be able to sustain ourselves financially and have enough people to host a quality, spirit-filled service every week as we grow.
We are so excited about this journey and although we know it will take hundreds of people standing beside us both financially and prayerfully, we have God on our side so it is going to work. There are thousands of people waiting to hear the message of the gospel in Newcastle, NSW, Australia.
As we await the sale of our house and the approval of my visa here, we are savoring every moment of the “calm before the storm.” Once we get there, we will be working harder than we ever have before to fulfill our calling and to bring the Good News of Jesus to Newcastle!