Two years and one week ago, Catalyst Baptist Church opened its doors to the public for the first time. This was a great thing and a great day. The level of excitement this brought to a handful of people is really memorable. It was the beginning of the Red Carpet Approach to church planting.
We rented a store front building. We had about thirty chairs from another church, a pew and supplies from our friends at Tecumseh Missionary Baptist Church, and lots of excitement and joy. Under the Red Carpet model, we planted a flag like an established church, opened the door, and said, “Hello, come in, we are glad you are hear, and excited to serve you and the community.”
If everything went according to plan, through direct evangelism, bible-based sermons, and energy, we were going to pack the building, change lives forever, and be on our way to hundreds of members in no short order. Only it did not work out like this.
The language of atonement fell of deaf ears because it is a foreign concept in these parts. I brought a Southeastern (North Carolina/Virginia) church planting concept to the upper of the upper Midwest and it did not work. We thought we knew where we were coming. We thought we knew the landscape and when we took the fight to the enemy the victory would be ours because we were new, fresh, and committed to having ours and other lives changed through the power of God.
What happened was the exact opposite. We were running between 16-20 consistently for a number of months and then we moved locations. Lets just call it what it is. We started taking effective fire. Like an infantryman we have spent the last two years thinking we were offering something new, if not something better, and what we were really offering was the same old thing with less money and fewer people to execute.
It went about as well as one could expect when charging the enemy directly. We took casualties. We replicated a model of church in an area unfamiliar with our language and our behavior and figured people would just come running.
Planting a conventional church in a town desperate for the Gospel and filled with ineffective conventional churches already is not going to be effective. I began realizing we needed to lose the conventional mindset and go guerrilla. Fighting like a guerrilla army when outnumbered, out-resourced, and out established was our only chance. We brought an army to the fight, but we let the enemy choose the ground and the time and we took a drubbing.
Two years and one week is long enough. It is time we transform ourselves, so we can transform those in the community hungry for Jesus. We are not going to reach everyone, but for those that are looking and have not been reached, we are going to give them an avenue to God.