So I have officially jumped from the “frying pan into the fire!”
God sure has a funny way of doing things. After serving in full-time ministry for 18 years at the church that my dad founded I have felt God lead me to starting a new church. Although this has been something that has been in the back of my mind for about a decade I never really thought it would happen.
If I am honest, I enjoyed dreaming about it but didn’t really want it to happen. Not because I don’t love God or people, but because I know what is involved. I grew up behind the scenes of church-life and I have seen how hard it can be at times. It is hard giving your life to serve people only to have those people turn their back on you, question your motives and criticize your ministry.
So I kept looking for excuses of why NOT to start a church. I guess I was just being a coward.
After wrestling with God for several months I have finally decided that I will be starting a church in Connecticut (Thomaston to be exact) called Thrive Church.
Why do we Need a New Church?
When you think about CT and faith what do you picture? Well, if you are like more people you picture a spiritually dead state…and you wouldn’t be wrong. Gallup studies the spirituality of the 50 states each year and all of the New England states are in the bottom 10. Connecticut is #8 on that list with only 32% of people claiming to be active in their faith.
I want to change that number.
You may have heard the story about the shoe salesman that went to an island to sell shoes. After 6 months he came back dejected having not sold any shoes. When asked why he was unable to sell shoes he gave the response “The people there don’t wear shoes!”
A short time later another salesman went to the island and after only a couple weeks called the shoe company and told them to send as many shoes as possible, because he had sold everything he had. When asked why they were selling so well he simply said “The people there don’t wear shoes!”
Many people look and laugh at the thought of starting a large, thriving church in Connecticut. Their excuse? “The people there don’t know God!” Well, I look at it and I see that as an opportunity! Jesus himself said, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.”
I believe that the harvest in CT is ripe! I want to play a part in bringing in that harvest.
In order to get CT to the spiritual level of say Pennsylvania or Florida we would need to go from 32% actively involved in their faith to 42% (this basically puts us in the middle of the pack). I did some basic math and I realized that since CT has a population of around 3 million people that would require around 300,000 people giving their life to Christ.
That is 1,000 churches of 300 or 150 churches of 2,000. Currently there are only a few churches even close to 2,000 in CT.
That means there could be 150 churches of 2,000 people each in Connecticut and not touch one single person who is actively going to church. So why are so many churches still trying to reach churched people?
I have studied church growth for years and I am a firm believer in the concept of multiplication. Many churches in the US have launched multiple campuses and have been able to experience rapid growth. The one thing that I noticed is that their growth is often still by addition and not by multiplication.
My goal is to start a multi-site church similar in concept, but with one strategic difference. I want to build our DNA around each campus launching another campus within two years (sooner if feasible).
In a laboratory, the model would look like this.
Years 1-2 would have one location. Year 3-4 would have two locations. Year 5-6 would have 4 locations. On and on until years 21-22 would have 1024.
If each of these locations reaches 300 people then we will be reaching 300,000 people! Granted this is in a perfect world, but I believe it is possible. I want to see these campuses not just in CT, but all of New England and eventually everywhere!
Before you write me off as crazy and insane. Let me just say this…I don’t believe that my vision is bigger than God’s. I also don’t think that I want people to come to Him more than He does.
One of my favorite miracles from the Bible is the wedding where Jesus turned the water into wine. The servants brought jars of water and Jesus turned them to wine. My trick question is…
How much wine did Jesus make?
He made the same amount as jars of water that were brought to Him!
If the servants brought 10 jars then Jesus would have made 10 jars of wine. If they brought 20, He would have made 20! In other words, the more jars they brought the more wine He would have made. I believe that is the same when it comes to vision and reaching the lost. If we bring a big vision to God then He will fill it.
Here is where you come in. This is a vision that is far bigger than me. There is no way that I would be able to accomplish it on my own. So here are three different ways that you can get involved:
Prayer changes things. Would you commit to pray for me, the Launch Team, and Litchfield County? Here are some specific things to pray for:
- The Leadership and Launch Team
- Financial provision
- That we find the perfect location
- That many will come to know Christ
We need to raise $100,000 for the launch budget. Please pray and ask God if He would have you financially contribute to help launch and support this church. All contributions can be sent by mail or securely online at: thrivechurch.co
We are looking for at least 50 people to help make this vision a reality. We believe that God wants to do something incredible in the lives of the people in Litchfield County and we need people that are committed to serving and attending. We need you!