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I recently spoke with a church leader out in Macon, GA.  His name is Paul Harlan, and he is a ministry leader for a campus of a church called VC2.

The reason we spoke was because we are both doing a form of ministry which is both innovative, and is uncharted territory in terms of established church styles.

We’re doing church in our homes.

Maybe you don’t necessarily agree with the concept of house churches (though there are pretty good biblical arguments for it), but that’s not really the point of this article.

The point is that we ought to speak with other leaders (especially when we’re innovating) for 4 main reasons:

1. Talking with Other Ministry Leaders Brings Encouragement

ministry church planter snow trekAlright, it should be no surprise that as I take this venture into uncharted territory that I’m going to experience failure.  I don’t have everything figured out yet.

But as I spoke with Paul, and listened to his struggles, we were able to tell each other to keep persevering.  We spoke of our experiences and explained why problem x is going to turn out just fine.

We told each other how good it is to do the work we’re doing, and that it is worth the struggle.  If we overcame, then the city would be better off having this option for church which includes closer authentic community, more opportunities for leadership development, neighborhood outreaches, and more.

I won’t lie.  It felt good.  The Holy Spirit used the conversation to renew me through the encouragement.

2. Talking with Other Ministry Leaders Brings Companionship

ministry church planter talking hikingInnovating can be so lonely.

You feel like if you develop your idea and build it to become successful that it truly will help the community.

The problem is that the people around you don’t see the value in it.  They don’t see your heart and soul poured out into the idea.  They don’t see why you’re risking your reputation to do something so crazy.  They don’t see how much their discouraging words and insensitive body language hurts.

And you end up feeling alone.

But when you talk with ministry leaders who are going through the same thing, you find a sense of brotherhood that you didn’t even realize you needed.

You say to yourself, “We’re going through this together, even if we’re on opposite sides of the country.”

And that’s what I found in my conversation with Paul.

#Innovating can be so lonely. Click To Tweet

3. Talking with Other Ministry Leaders Brings New Ideas

Paul and I were able to discuss the specifics of our ministries.

We were able to ask each other all kinds of questions about what works and what doesn’t work.  We gave each other advice about discussion topics, techniques for giving/donation, and baptism.

When you put your heads together, you can add to each others’ ministry.

Build a model for #church which impacts the city in a new way for the gospel. Click To Tweet

4. Talking with Other Ministry Leaders Helps You Figure It Out

ministry church planter working on computersWhat do I mean by “figure it out”?

Well, when you’re pioneering something, you’ve got your co-workers and a handful of early adopters.  People who are able to catch the vision and see that the climate around you is already changing in this direction.

But since it’s uncharted territory, like a pioneer moving out west to face danger and adventure, it seems like all you can do is put one foot in front of the other.  There is no planning because you don’t even know what you’re going to face.

Is there strategy? Yes, definitely.  But planning?  Hardly.

As Paul and I talked, it reminded me of the CityChurch National Network that I participate in.  Approximately 10 churches from around the U.S. meet.  We’re all doing the house church thing, from LA to Kansas City to Chicago to Boston.

We meet to discuss issues of paradigm.  As the dialogue goes on, and as I talk with people like Paul who is not in this specific network, we put our heads together and work out our ideology and practical application.

What role do elders have?  And how do we train them?  What does it mean to shepherd people in this new model?  What role do women play?  Have we given real weight to their giftings while not ignoring Scriptural instructions?

Questions like this plague an innovator.  With other brothers and sisters around us, we can work together to “figure it out”.  And as we do so, we create and build a model for church which impacts the city in a new way for the gospel.


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