Saturating our cities with missionary leaders who saturate their cities with the gospel!
Heading into 2016, our eighth year of doing The Cypress Project, over 180 church planters or pastors and their teams having participated in a Cypress coaching center across the Carolinas. Another 200 planters or pastors have engaged Cypress in other states and globally.
Why do we need investors? Why do we have local churches partner to fund Cypress? Why don’t we shift to a ‘for profit’ coaching center model? Why not give Cypress to one particular denomination and work a ‘normal job’?
The short answer is that our mission isn’t a normal one:
Local Church Driven. City Focused. Grass Roots. Accessible. Low Cost. Collaborative.
Behind the Curtain . . .
1. CALLING. We are called to build up the Church of the Carolinas, not one specific local expression. We are the missionary extension of many churches that partner to establish locally driven, city focused coaching groups that multiply missionary leaders.
2. LOCAL CHURCH. The local church must lead the movement to impact lostness. Networks, denominations, and para-church organizations have a vital, helping role, but the local church must lead. Ours is an ‘apostolic’ role helping equip the local church to lead the movement in their cities. In the end, the goal is to hand off coaching centers in each city to the local church and work ourselves out of a job.
3. APPROACH. We could work a ‘normal job’ for a particular network or denomination, but that could shift our PRIORITY from city focused, local church driven coaching groups to more brand focused, institutionally driven coaching groups (and rightfully so). It could restrict WHO we work with. We want the ‘city’ to bring leaders from ALL GROUPS to the table, so they will go after their CITY TOGETHER. Each Cypress group has been made up of MANY different affiliations.
4. GROWTH. We had FAR more participants and groups in 2015 than ever and have requests to start coaching groups in NEW CITIES in 2016. We have NEW RESOURCES in the works that will help leaders multiply missionary DNA in their churches better and faster. We need to build NEW TEAMS to start handing off coaching centers to the local Church in each city. All of this requires resources.
5. ACCESSIBLE. Even though we have more coaching groups in more cities, we never charge much more than cost for participants – because our goal is to train AS MANY MISSIONARY LEADERS AS POSSIBLE, not just the planters and pastors ‘who can afford it’ or are ‘most likely to succeed’. We want to saturate our cities with missionary leaders!
6. COLLABORATION. About one third of my support and Cypress expenses come from my home base church and ‘contract coaching’ that I do each year outside the Carolinas (which I limit in order to focus on the Carolinas). Two thirds of the Cypress budget is from partner churches and individual donors across the Carolinas. Cypress DOES NOT HAPPEN without a number of local churches collaborating to make it happen!
7. GLOBAL. Our calling is to the Carolinas but every year there is another global ministry opportunity for Cypress, and personal support allows me to spend a portion of my time helping take Cypress missionary principles and practices to places like Africa, Central America, South Asia.