Monday night I was asked a really good question – a question that I’ve only been asked a handful of times. I’ve said a hundred times quoting another pastor, “Knoxville doesn’t need another church, it needs different kinds of churches.” The implication being that we want Discovery Church to be a movement of God that is sold out to reach people others are not. So the question was asked:
What will make Discovery different than X, Y, and Z churches?
That is such a great question. It is one I can only partly answer now because while the vision and mission of Discovery Church have been clearly defined – the expression of how it will be carried out is still being shaped. Truth is, it will always be in the ‘shaping’ process. So here are some statements and ideas that can create a portrait of what will be different about Discovery Church. (note: we will certainly not be the only church doing these things, but as a general rule here are some distinctives)
We will never gather as a congregation to discuss, argue about and vote on carpet for our facility. We will gather as a congregation to install carpet in a single mother’s home.
We will not let a donor base determine the direction and programming of our church. We surrender the direction of our church to the leading of the Holy Spirit. Our mission of helping people discover life in Jesus Christ, and God’s vision for Discovery to reach people no one else is reaching will determine our path.
Community in Small Groups will be the heartbeat of Discovery Church, not just something we offer.
We will be passionately devoted to being attractional (creating ministry environments that are culturally relevant and irresistible) and missional (believing compassion is more than emotion – we will walk across the street to serve and minister in our community. We will love people because Jesus does. We want to live among people in such a way that our lives create positive influence and pathways for the Gospel to penetrate our city.) By being both, we mean 50/50, not 90/10 or 10/90.
We will be a church that plants other churches. Lots of other churches.
We will evaluate constantly whether we are funding and operating a ministry because we are emotionally attached to it, or because it is helping transform the lives of people. When a ministry program we are doing becomes ineffective in helping us fulfill the mission of the church – we will cease to use that ministry program.
Leadership and responsibility will be distributed, not hoarded.
We will not staff with pastors what volunteers can do. We believe the role of pastors given by God is to be the ones who equip people to do the work of the ministry, not be professional ‘ministers’.
I want us to be known for how much we give away, not how much we take in.
How we go about accomplishing our mission will evolve. Till then…