GCC White PapersBy GCC Staff
April 7, 2020
Recovering the Operating System for a Healthy Network
How do networks cultivate the kind of culture where they become homes to which leaders are drawn rather than a place from which leaders flee? What ethos needs to be built, or perhaps disassembled, for pioneering church planters and leaders to find community and camaraderie that lasts? How can a network become a family where leaders—like the New World settlers among the Native Americans—will sacrifice to stay?
The goal of this paper is to answer those questions; to clarify the kind of network culture within which leaders thrive. You might consider my previous paper, “What Networks Mean to Me,” to be the hardware for a discussion about networks. It frames out some common components of collectives based upon Scripture and history. If that paper forms the hardware for church planting networks, this one explores the software—the kind of operating system necessary for a network to run in a healthy way. To begin we will examine three common viruses which slow, and in some cases seize control of the software system. Then we will look at the anti-virus that must be run to protect the network system and strengthen its mission and longevity.
Is the GCC Right for You? A Guide for Planters or Churches Considering Partnership
Planting Churches. Strengthening Leaders. Those four words describe the life of a network pulsing with a gospel-loving heart to fulfill the Great Commission. We help churches plant churches while providing leadership, training, and care to strengthen the leaders of our churches. We believe God is glorified when healthy pastors and elders lead healthy churches to plant healthy churches together.
If you’re considering the Great Commission Collective (GCC), it’s important for you to know who we are and where we’re going. You’ll want to know our values, the attributes we desire to see in churches we plant, our shared beliefs, the commitments we make to our partner churches, and our expectations from those who affiliate with us. This paper seeks to answer each of these questions.
A Vision for Church Planting Networks
Abstraction is the enemy of application. It impresses momentarily, then withers under the call for concrete action. Tell a man to treasure his wife and he stares unblinkingly through vacant eyes. But tell him to date his wife and he’s found a trailhead to treasuring her. Abstraction evaporates under the clarifying light of application.
Most church planting networks want to be gospel-grounded, unified, diverse, and mature. If these aims remain bubble-wrapped in an uptown closet and never walk the concrete streets of our real lives, however, abstraction becomes ruination. The meaning of network will become the old-school inkblot test—flash the “network” inkblot and tune in for the innumerable interpretations.
Abstraction will win and the mission will be lost. Just as local churches thrive on clarity flowing from leadership to members, a church planting network needs clarity on what it is and how it works for prospective and current member churches.
The Partnership Plan
GCC works to accomplish successful partnerships through maintaining strong cultural values and
utilizing five core services leading to churches that exhibit the attributes of a GCC church. These five core services assist local churches with their discipleship pathway, leadership pipeline, and church planter preparation, leading to the planting of multiplying churches.