Foundational Families

Notes from Scott Sistrunk, career church planter

I have observed that the key to a new church plant making it can be boiled down to this ….3 Foundational Families…..

By foundational families I mean, families that are absolutely apostolic and are at least as deeply, if not more, committed to the church as the pastor…in addition, they have invested in the church heavily of time, emotional energy, spiritual energy, and finances.

A ‘foundational family” is a family that if you choose to leave will remain and take the responsibility of paying bills, visiting the sick….whatever….

….If you rob a bank or commit adultery….they will weep and cry and be disappointed, but they will show up for church next Sunday, and if necessary, call the District Sup. and report you so that they can get on with having church.

How many of these types of families have you established from “the ground up?”

How many of these families have you inherited?

Of the foundational families that exist in your church today, how many of them did you personally establish from the ground up?

How many of these families have you “put the finishing touches” on?

Stages a family may progress through before becoming a foundational family.(all these occur after the new birth experience, stages they go through before the new birth occurs is a whole new list).

1. Pastor Love. You must wisely and carefully exploit this stage to THEIR benefit, while moving them away from this “puppy love.” If you are insecure, you will allow them to stay here until they are damaged. You cannot live up to these expectation…start moving them away from idolizing you as quickly as you can.

looks like….
-you use your influence and their desire to please you to cause them to sit down and study the Word and come to church and experience the 5-fold ministry.

2. Church Love. You must exploit this stage to get them to invest in the church. A strange thing begins to happen when a family puts their treasure (time and money) in the church, their heart begins to cleave to the church.

looks like…..
-give them a job to do that fits with the skill sets they already posses…something they can succeed at. Never place them in areas that can be controversial or where they will get frustrated or feel unsuccessful.

3. Childish Possessiveness. You must walk through this adolescent phase with them. Use this time to pull them close and impart your vision and a love for people. Teach them that giving makes life worth living. Let them see your selfless life up close.

looks like…..
-that job you gave them…..they can’t get anybody to help them, and nobody appreciates what they are doing. They come to you with that frustrated look on their face. Have lunch, cast vision, tell them about Calvary, this time with a little different emphasis.

4. The lonely stage. … you must let them get hurt…you must let them feel the rejection you have faced…you must let them identify with Christ’s suffering. You must remove yourself temporarily, their love for Jesus cannot be tainted by their relationship with you…God is a Jealous God. Keep preaching, teaching, praying and above all…encouraging.

Looks like…..
You see the blow coming, you know what is about to happen…you must let your understudy fall and scrape their knees. The Holy Spirit will gently put His hand on your shoulder and whisper, “it’s okay, I love them to, release them to me and trust…”

5. Adulthood. Just as a father never relinquishes that position in a child’s life, you will always be the spiritual father. But you must allow the relationship to transition to a more equitable relationship.

Looks like….
You begin to seek their input on decisions. You begin to leave the entire decision making process in their hands and let them figure it out and then trust their decisions. As many of their decisions become the basis for the direction of a department or the future of the church….the investment becomes total.

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