Gainesville FL Church Plant Update

January 24, 2014

New Life is a church planting church. That means we help start churches all around the US and the World. We are currently supporting a church in Gainesville, FL with project management services. When Brad, the church planter, was asked to write a blog for Exponential, another church planting initiative we help lead, he shared how he’s reached into his community to develop relationships with people. We thought what he had to share isn’t just good for other church planters, or even New Life as an organization, but a good challenge to us as individuals about how we can develop relationships with others and introduce them to Jesus.

by Brad Zachritz

When my wife Abby and I decided to plant Shift Church in Gainesville, Fla., we were totally stepping out in faith. We knew God called us, and knew He would provide other workers to help with the harvest. We made some strategic decisions to help raise awareness, inspire and motivate others to follow in their vision of reaching the neglected demographic of young families. Below are some of the ways we’ve managed to get the word out about Shift Church and develop a launch team. Shift Church will officially launch on Feb. 23.

MOPS Ministry Prior to holding a preview service or informational sessions, I chose to begin a MOPS (Moms of Preschoolers ) ministry. It made sense because Abby had been on a steering committee for MOPS, and I had seen their proven success. MOPS International’s mission statement reads: “to encourage, equip and develop every mother of preschoolers to realize her potential as a woman, mother and leader in the name of Jesus Christ.”

Obvious to the fact that Shift Church lacked a facility and adequate resources, Abby chose to forego traditional meetings in their first semester and instead scheduled top-notch play dates twice a month, as well as a monthly mom’s night out. They met at existing free and low-cost venues, such as parks, to minimize the financial burden, but also offered a takeaway item for the moms at each play date. Word of these high-caliber playdates spread, and soon women on the waiting lists to join other MOPS groups in Gainesville began to come to ours. At the first play date in September, four women came with their children. At the next one, seven women, and by the third, attendance had jumped to 22 moms–with each meeting showing substantial growth!

Community involvement We have been involved with the Gainesville community, specifically the Gainesville Chamber of Commerce, which has agreed to do a ribbon cutting ceremony at our Feb. 23 launch. Shift Church is now an active member of the Gainsville Chamber of Commerce, and I am personally looking forward to being part of this great community organization.

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