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You often talk about a ‘pioneering bridgehead’ in church planting. What do you mean by this?
- Sometimes you need somewhere to land as a pioneer when you are moving from place to place.
- When Colin first came to Manchester, there were a couple who were already praying for a church to be planted there, but needed someone who could lead it. Their house was a bridgehead into the city.
Can we do this intentionally, or are we just looking for people who are already there?
- In the Bible, Paul deliberately asked Priscilla and Aquila to go to Ephesus and to get established as a bridgehead there.
- Some people will go to a city or a village but they won’t be the right people to lead something (and they will acknowledge this themselves).
- They can open their home, gather a few people and give you a room to go to when you are ready to start some meetings.
What are some of the key gifts and qualities that you are looking for in a bridgehead?
- A good relationship with those who will be coming in after.
- People who are not trying to grasp things, and who are not phased when another leader comes in.
- Good Christians!
How do we make the transition from the bridgehead leaders to other leaders as smooth as possible?
- Sometimes it can be tricky.
- If there is a grace on it, then it might be that the person who was seen as a bridgehead actually gathers people and can lead it after all.
- Those coming in afterwards could actually wreck something if God has his hand on it as it is.
This model of church planting could leave things quite ill-defined. How do you help people to live with this?
- Don’t scatter too broad.
- Don’t over-promise.
- When Jesus sent out the 72, they were bridgeheads going ahead of him.
What tips do you have for church leaders who are looking to establish bridgeheads around them?
- You need to start by getting a new mindset.
- Many church leaders think mainly about their own church, but you need to take a step back and think in terms of a region.
- In order to reach 5, 10 or 20 towns/villages in a region, then the life of the leader will need to change.
- If you don’t have this mindset shift, you will end up with some very frustrated pioneers.
- Paul seemed to think in terms of regions (e.g. ‘Asia’)
When you have identified potential bridgehead pioneers, what are your first couple of moves to help them get established?
- Keep in mind the goal of getting a congregation and some kingdom activity going in that place.
- Look at what gifts those people have and see what you can do with those gifts.
What encouragements do you have for people who are currently pioneering?
- Well done!
- Get networked with others in similar situation (e.g. through Broadcast coaching masterclasses).