Dreaming of Big Wins (with Chris Taylor)

Chris Taylor is a church planter from Botswana. A few years ago he was on the staff of Jubilee Church in Cape Town, South Africa, dreaming of a church plant in the Netherlands. In 2011, after a short stop-off in London, Chris saw that dream become a reality as he planted Redeemer Church in the Hague, which has since grown to around 300 people and is part of the New Ground family of churches in Newfrontiers. In this hangout, Chris talks to us about the importance of dreaming of big wins in our church planting.

Note - This is the second hangout of a two-part series. The other hangout is:


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Read the Notes

Defining Big Wins

  • There is only one true big win - being obedient to God and faithful to what he has called us to.
  • If we were to define a big win as anything else, then we have lost the heart of what God is calling us to do.
  • If we are thinking of big 'successes', this can give us a skewed perspective. God does different things through different people (for example, some people pray at a distance, others see fruit on the ground, but the victory belongs to both).
  • Fruitfulness belongs to God. Obedience belongs to us.

Your Measure of Faith

  • The context that you are in is very important.
  • What measure of faith has God given to you? For some it is to plant a church in a rural village - it may be very impactful but will probably be a small number of people. Others have faith for a big city, for a neighbourhood or for a people group.
  • We can sometimes default to defining the big win as the impactful city centre church, but we must ask whether this is the measure of faith that God has given us. 
  • We should always dream of more than we are capable of doing, but dream withing our measure of faith.
  • We should have an idea of what kind of church God has put on our heart. 

Dreaming Big

  • For Redeemer, the dream was having a city-wide impact and gathering diverse people groups. 
  • They made a point of speaking and praying into these things. Initially they met in people's homes, but they didn't allow it to become inwardly focussed.
  • Praying prophetic words back to God is an important part of it. 
  • As church planters, we are to lift people's vision from what is now to what could be in the future. 
  • For Redeemer, an important part of this was getting a city-centre location. They made a list of the things that they needed in the building and prayed for it - central, visible, accessible, knowable, with parking, space for kids work and room for growth.
  • After two years, God opened up the best possible location in the city for them. 
  • A lot of Chris Taylor's initial leadership was to do with dreaming. At times, he would stop prayer meetings and ask people to dream for stuff and then pray into those things. 
  • It is important to dream and to pray for things that we can't see now. 
  • A key step is celebrating the little wins on the way to the bigger wins. God loves to bless gratefulness.
  • Are you being faithful with the small wins that you have?

Big Wins Happen as the Team Works Well

  • It shouldn't be about individual superstars.
  • You can celebrate the wins together.
  • You can dream much bigger together than any of you can alone. 
  • In the early stages of a church plant, one of your big prayers should be for a great team
  • Build team into your culture by doing things together.

Finance

  • Dreaming big isn't primarily financial, but for a lot of big dreams, finances are required.
  • Many Western Europeans can make finances a limiting factor in dreaming big.
  • It is God who provides for us, not people. 
  • If we get into a pattern of thinking that we provide for ourselves (or that people provide for us) then we will end up focussed on how much people will give and will end up praying for wealthy people to join the church and driving our people hard to give.
  • God will provide - and he can do so in many ways. His resources are limitless.
  • Telling stories can help in this regard.
  • You need to help people to realise that their giving does enable big wins. 
  • Chris Taylor was recently challenged that in not wanting to make people feel forced to give and wanting to avoid the prosperity gospel, he was not actually being faithful in encouraging giving. 
  • It is important to faithfully lead people in giving. It is important to keep people with you in the vision that you have. If you're not talking about the link between giving and the big wins, then people won't get it.

Q&A

1. How much is the team leader moving ahead of the team in dreaming big dreams, and how do you keep the team up to pace?
  • It depends on your gift as the team leader. 
  • Many church planters are thinking far ahead and living in the future moment. This is good, but it doesn't mean that everybody gets it straight away. 
  • You can live in the dream, but when you don't help people to come with you then you might end up getting frustrated at their 'lack of faith'.
  • Chris Taylor had some people take him aside and say to him, "I think this is of God, but you need to take us with you."
  • You should be the one who is out in the front dreaming.
2. Are there times when it is counter-productive to share big dreams? What would those situations be in our day?
  • Different people process things in different ways. External processors want to say everything the occurs to them out loud, but this isn't always helpful.
  • It is good to share a dream when it gets other people excited, but it is not good if here is no plan behind it and the dream is for you to treasure in your heart (at least for now).
  • 90% of the time it is good to share, but 10% of the time it can be unhelpful. It can confuse people and set too many things spinning in motion at once.
3. How important is the prophetic in dreaming of big wins?
  • It's very important.
  • There needs to be an interlinking between what God has said/is saying, what we are saying and what we are doing.
  • Write down the key words that you are given (both externally and internally).
4. How much were the big wins about people coming to faith?
  • We should celebrate people getting saved and healed and lives being changed. 
  • Often it is things that matter less that we end up celebrating more.
  • We need to be provoked to make our biggest wins about people. 
5. How do we reach people who have very little dreams for their own lives?
  • This is often the case in poorer cultures. 
  • It is important that you contextualise how you do things to where you are.
  • The gospel is always the key thing that will change people's hearts.
  • The idea of 'believe in Jesus and go to heaven' can be readily received in these contexts, but sanctification may be much more challenging.
6. How do you live in the now and not yet of the fulfilment of big prophetic dreams for the church?
  • We always want things to move quicker than they seem to.
  • It is through faith and patience that we inherit the promises.
  • Patience is very important.

Recommended Resources

To go deeper into this topic, we recommend the following book:

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