From the Front Lines (May 2018)
May 17 2018

From the Front Lines (May 2018)

The following is an interview with Rob Bailey (far left of photo), StartNew Incubator team leader. Rob, as a new pastor, leads his team from Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Houston, Texas, to plant a new church in nearby League City, Texas.

Rob, briefly describe your StartNew ministry.

Our team is developing a ministry, in the Clear Lake area of Texas. We desire to come alongside others, to know and experience the love of God; to encourage and support them, so that they can be sent to invite others into that same relationship with God.

How did you get plugged into FiveTwo’s StartNew Incubator?

Gloria Dei Lutheran Church brought me in to start a new ministry in League City, Texas. As a new Pastor, I was excited at the opportunity FiveTwo’s StartNew Incubator could provide our team, as we seek to make this God-sized vision a reality.

How are you learning about the problems facing your community?

Being new to the area and community, I have spent a great deal of time getting acclimated into the city. From networking with city officials and local leaders/influencers, to visiting with residents and local pastors, I have been able to build important relationships and start identifying ways our ministry can serve the community. I recently completed a 12-week course (offered by the city) to learn more about how League City functions. I am currently finishing up a 15-week "Citizens Police Academy" with the League City Police Department. Through both of these courses, I am learning more about the demographics and culture in and around League City, while getting to know the leaders and first responders who are serving and protecting us. I am looking forward to more opportunities to serve our Police Department.
Read More By Craig Mattes
Get Your Engines Ready! (Part 3 of 10)
May 11 2018

Get Your Engines Ready! (Part 3 of 10)

Part 3 of 10 in Get Your Engines Ready! Knowing You’re Ready To Launch Your New Start:  Get Jesus’ Perspective:

“Everywhere is walking distance, if you have the time.” ― Comedian Steven Wright

It is all about perspective.

Launching something new to reach new people for Jesus usually leads to feelings of anxiety.  Will the funding come through?  Do we have the right people in place to launch?  Are we truly meeting a need in our community?

In Matthew 6:25-26 (ESV), Jesus shares His perspective on feelings of anxiety with His disciples.

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?”

Then later in verse 33, Jesus gave His best instruction when faced with anxiety…“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” When we seek the kingdom of God first, when we fix our eyes upon Jesus, His blessings will be added to us. And even in our weakest moments, His grace will be sufficient and carry us through (1 Corinthians 12:9).

Read More By Craig Mattes
Get Your Engines Ready! (Part 2 of 10)
Apr 5 2018

Get Your Engines Ready! (Part 2 of 10)

Part 2 of 10 in Getting Your Engines Ready! Knowing You’re Ready To Launch Your New Start:  LAUNCHING A NEW MINISTRY IS A TEAM EFFORT. 

Launching a new ministry is not a lone ranger endeavor. It is one in which utilizes the full gifts found in the body of Christ.

Sometimes it seems easier just to do things on our own, right? Going at a new ministry alone can be a lot less messy than when you involve others. Involving others may contribute to a slower start. A team requires a lot of patience. Yet…starting a new ministry alone is also a whole lot more work. A lot more unnecessary work. And is contrary to the way God has equipped us as the body of Christ.

Read More By Craig Mattes
From the Front Lines (April 2018)
Mar 30 2018

From the Front Lines (April 2018)

The following is an interview with Matt Schuler, StartNew Incubator team leader alumni. Matt leads Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Oxford, Michigan, as the Senior Pastor.

Matt, briefly describe the ministry you started/are starting through StartNew.

We restarted an older church. We took an older, existing church and are working to bring new life into the congregation and community. We wanted to move from “doing” church to “being” the church.

How did you get plugged into the StartNew Incubator?

Bill Woolsey, Executive Director of FiveTwo, invited me to participate a couple of months after I began as pastor at Holy Cross. In 2015, the culture in our congregation was the #1 thing that needed work. We had a “country club” church posture. Anyone could join us…as long as they looked and acted like us.

At the time, we averaged 60 people in worship each week. The average age of our regular attenders came to 70.

So, as we started our re-start efforts and sought growth, we saw the opportunity to launch a 2nd worship service and hire additional staff — the right mix of staff. A ministry coordinator who would serve as a worship leader and the go-to person for some activities in the church. And a communications person who would be responsible for digital, print, and social media. We filled each of those roles in under a year.

Read More By Craig Mattes
Get Your Engines Ready! (Part 1 of 10)
Mar 7 2018

Get Your Engines Ready! (Part 1 of 10)

When you take your car for an oil change, a good mechanic will also check your car’s battery, its tire treads, its fluid levels, etc. These are just some of the core elements your automobile needs to be working optimally. 

When you go to the doctor, he or she checks your vitals—your blood pressure, your breathing, your blood. Your vital signs tell a story of your overall health. 

Before launching a new start, there are vital signs to check so that your new ministry has the best opportunity for sustainable health and growth--leading towards new baptized followers of Jesus.

This is the first part of a 10-part series where we will help you know if you are ready to launch your new start.

Part 1 of 10 in Getting Your Engines Ready! Knowing You’re Ready To Launch Your New Start:  YOUR PASSIONS AND VALUES ARE CLEARLY DEFINED.

Read More By Craig Mattes
From the Front Lines (March 2018)
Mar 1 2018

From the Front Lines (March 2018)

Each month From The Front Lines will share stories of startups/new ministries launched in our communities that reach people for Jesus. The following is a recent interview we had with Greyson Grenz, pastor at Trinity Lutheran Church in Wyandotte, MI. Greyson is a graduate from our StartNew Incubator

Greyson, briefly describe your StartNew ministries. 

Bitty Ballin' basketball camp (pictured above) for first thru third graders and Raising Up Readers summer reading help for first thru fifth graders.

What problem in your community have these ministries addressed? 

Bitty Ballin' has helped address the need for physical activity for kids and sports development. And for the parents, it has provided something for their kids to do in the summer.  Raising Up Readers has become beneficial to our community schools who struggle with reading according to state tests and standards.

How do these ministries carry Jesus' presence into the community?

It is active engagement by our congregation members with members of the community, both kids and parents. These ministries have opened the door to build relationships that could lead to people coming into the church.

Read More By Craig Mattes
Incorporating Prayer Into Your Startup Efforts: Following Nehemiah's Example
Feb 22 2018

Incorporating Prayer Into Your Startup Efforts: Following Nehemiah's Example

Nehemiah was brokenhearted after hearing about the state of Jerusalem after years of Israel’s exile in Babylon.

“The remnant there in the province who had survived the exile is in great trouble and shame. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates are destroyed by fire.” (Nehemiah 1:3 ESV)

When a calling is placed on our hearts (like starting something new to reach new people for Jesus), our human reaction is to be quick to act, solve, and fix...on our own. But that was not Nehemiah’s first step. Burdened with the broken state of Jerusalem, Nehemiah first went to God in prayer. 

Nehemiah's reliance on God through prayer led to a successful rebuild. As he prayed in humility. As he prayed with great expectation. As he prayed to not go it alone. As he prayed against opposition.

There is no better way to start a new ministry for the growth of God’s kingdom than in prayer.

Read More By Craig Mattes
What is StartNew?
Jan 31 2018

What is StartNew?

Are you a pastor who is weary of leading a congregation of ministries which lead to no newly baptized followers of Jesus?

Do you have big dreams of bringing the presence of Jesus into your community in a way that actually listens to and meets the needs of the community?

Are you looking to start a new ministry which won't cave upon inception but will remain sustainable?

(Do the above questions reflect the heart of your pastor? If so, please pass on.)

In past blog posts, you've read StartNew stories on new ministries such as Charity Lutheran Church and Harbor Hope Coffee, but you may be still asking, WHAT IS STARTNEW? And WHAT DOES STARTNEW MEAN FOR THE MISSION OF MY CONGREGATION?

Read More By cmattes
In Between
Jan 4 2018

In Between

In between Christmas and Epiphany we reflect on what has been and contemplate what will be. Reminds me of the creation story…In the beginning…God! God created - making heaven and earth out of nothing.  

Nothing! There was only God and what would be. After God created, the earth was without form, but the Spirit of God kept moving.

For ten years, I have coached individuals and trained coaches. Watching the Spirit of God move within every individual I coach or train brings me great joy. It’s a gift to watch them discover God is calling them out of the void and into His marvelous light.  

Then God said, “Let there be light!” And there was light!   

We need light to see.  

We need a guide to walk alongside us until we more clearly see “what could be”.  

A coach acts as a guide. A coach celebrates the results of the Spirit’s movement, and the enlightenment God has shared in His Son. 

Read More By Vern Bok