Once I got to the who question, the process began to become clear. This is still in the early stages of development, but it's a proven process adapted to our context. As you read this ask: Am I the leader? Will I be a part of this in some other leadership capacity? Let me know if you see yourself in this. I'm also looking for ideas on improving the process.
Stage One: Leader
Through prayer, observation and lots of conversations, we call a leader out. This leader, once identified, will need to be assessed and there are some great tools out there for this. The Free Church has an excellent one. If this person is the kind of leader that is a spiritual entrepreneur, we will begin to explore with him what the target area will be (the "where" question). Once the target is chosen, the leader will begin to seek out and call out others to join him in the process by starting a turbo small group. A turbo group is a group filled with folks that understand that after a given time they will multiply out and start their own group.
Stage Two: Group
This stage starts when the first turbo small group is formed. The small group starts meeting and begins to investigate local P.E.A.C.E. Dana can help with this community assessment process.
Stage Three: Groups
In this stage the turbo group begins to multiply and the pre-launch team grows. P.E.A.C.E. intitiatives in the target community continue and pick up momentum.
Stage Four: Gathering
After three groups have been formed, the groups begin to meet together weekly in addition to their small group meetings. At this point the Gathering replaces worship at an existing campus for most folks in the groups. The group can watch a video of the message together and do some singing in worship, but most of the time is spent on teaching and planning and praying about the next stage. P.E.A.C.E. projects continue in the target community. At this stage the launch team is assembled and volunteer roles begin to be filled with folks that will join the launch team once it launches. Financial infusion of some kind from Five Oaks begins at this point as well, but the launch team's giving will likely carry the day-to-day and staffing needs while Five Oaks may supply the equipment and advertising for the launch. (This is still in the idea stage and would need Board approval.)
Stage Five: Campus
The new campus launches when the team is set (especially key leaders, staff, and volunteers), and it launches as large as possible.
In actuality, we can expect a lot of variation in actual practice. But having a clear process helps us see what needs shoring up when things move fast, possibly skipping stages or when things develop differently. Variation should be expected as God moves in different ways through different leaders.
So, what do you think?