Ready to Jump

Jan 7, 2019

For my 50th birthday, my wife gave me a certificate good for one parachute jump.  (Yes, she is more than amazing!) Obviously, there is any number of risks which is why first-time jumps are tandem. Instead of putting on a parachute, I basically put on an instructor. Feeling very much like a puppet we awkwardly climbed into the plane together, climbed out on the step together, jumped together and landed (safely) together.  My instructor gave me the opportunity to experience a high-risk activity safely.  Residency gives future church planters the same opportunity.

Starting a new church is a high-risk activity.  While Stadia is honored to have an exceptionally high 90% success rate, we are still well aware of the potential risks church planters face – financially, personally, relationally, even spiritually. Residency in a healthy church, with an experienced coach provides a relatively safe place to practice before “jumping” on your own.

Practice is the essential ingredient of residency. We live in a day when all of the world’s information is just a few clicks away. If you’re reading this, you have access to everything that has ever been written or recorded about church planting. While reading and watching it will make you more informed, it doesn’t mean you will become the kind of person who is able to effectively start, lead and multiply a new church.  You need practice – making disciples, developing leaders, starting ministries, raising money and more.

You’ve likely been told “practice makes perfect” by a parent who wanted you to master multiplication tables or a coach who wanted you to get a play right. Unfortunately, It’s more familiar than true. It doesn’t quite roll off your tongue in the same way, but it would be more helpful to say, “practicing the right things, in the right way, with the right help will make you better.”  That’s why we’ve designed Stadia residency to include a plan and a coach.  The plan brings focus to what you will get better at and how. The coach guides you along the way, celebrates your success, inspires you to keep going when you fail and occasionally reminds you, you’re not yet as good as you think you are.

I’ve watched hundreds of leaders jump into church planting. I pray every day that more would. I’ve also watched too many of them get tangled in their chute and only realize as the ground was rapidly approaching how much they needed a safe place to practice. If you find yourself on the ground dreaming of jumping, in the place, or even on the step – and realizing this church planting thing looks a lot scarier the closer you get – there is a better option. Residency will give you the experience you need to plant a thriving church, with a lot less risk.

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Craig is a strategist, teacher, leader and coach. Having started a church himself, he is passionate about developing the next generation of leaders who will start, grow and multiply even more effective churches.  He lives in Sacramento, California with the cutest girl in his 4th Grade Sunday School class who he has now been married to for over 30 years. When he is not reading, writing or talking about ideas for developing leaders, he likes to spend time roasting and drinking coffee, cycling in the Sierra Foothills and cheering on his favorite Formula 1 driver.

Craig Whitney

Sr. Director of Planter Development

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