Just Follow – The Direction for 217church

I am SO PUMPED about the next season at 217church! Starting Easter Sunday we enter into a brand new series called “Live Differently.”  This series will address the heart transformations that happen when we follow Jesus, particularly in the area of spiritual, financial, physical and family health.  Our #1 energy going forward will be to architect a church where discipleship and multiplication flow at the speed of the Holy Spirit.  I believe a church plant happens in three Phases:  As a matter of fact I think every church needs to cycle through these phases every so often recognizing that churches have seasons.

#1 Establish – Getting everything up and running, getting all of our vision, systems, values cemented so we can have a strong future.  We have had an INCREDIBLE Launching pad for this church.  WE ARE ESTABLISHED.

#2 Empower – People flourishing and 217groups owning the responsibility to make the vision of the church happen through serving, learning, inviting, caring (praying) and eating together.  Every group cell has the power and the DNA of the church built in.  Experience a 217group and you have experienced the potency of 217church!  Every group has the relationship base to become a disciple making group.  I believe we are in the dog days of the Empowerment stage. I believe we will make a major transition from Easter 2012 to the Fall into the following stage:

#3 Extend – Multiplying Disciples, which multiply groups in different neighborhoods and then eventually send missionaries abroad. We will launch various discipling models for people in different circumstances but they will have one marked uniqueness.  They will be 1-1 transformational relationships.


Here is what this means for us:

A Philosophy I hold close is I believe discipleship best happens 1-1, life on life.  I am amazed at these two simple words of Jesus… “Follow Me” (Mark 1:13) I have had a 1-1 coaching/discipling relationship ongoing for almost 10 years now.

The vision statement for 217church is to “Create Environments where people can meet and FOLLOW Jesus.”  Meeting someone is one thing, following someone is a totally different thing. Following Jesus is hard work and I need help.  If we pattern our lives after Jesus eventually we will have to battle the heart issues of pride, possessions and purity. Paul encourages in 2 Timothy 1:13, “Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.” 

Our guiding word will be COACHING…why coaching?  I believe it best describes what a disciple maker does! Coaching is a discipline within disciple making that we will focus on.


Here are our guiding principles:

#1 We will coach in order to learn to coach –  The second part of Mark 1:13 is often forgotten when talking about disciple making environments… “and I will make you become fishers of men.”  You are discipled in order to disciple. What God entrusts to you through relationships, he EXPECTS you to impart to othersJesus fully expected the disciples to do something with their experiences with Jesus.  They were transformed by Jesus and were responsible to lead and disciple others.

#2 We will leverage 217groups to do life on life coaching – By the fall every leadership team member and every small group leader will have a coach.  This is someone who will disciple them.  This represents about 15% of our congregation.

#3 We will Develop a coaching culture that will trump everything else – This is how we will measure growth in our church.  Everything in our church will point to coaching relationships.  This multiplication will lead us into the Extend phase:  2 Timothy 2:2 says and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”   That’s FOUR GENERATIONS of discipleship in 1 VERSE! Did you see that?

#4 We will use various tools/methods – There is no one size fits all, but we have our hands on some great proven tools and some we developed on our own that speak to the culture of Central New Jersey and our church.

This will not be easy.  This will be messy. This will be hard work.  This will be Holy Spirit driven.  This will be a movement. We will get attacked.  We will persevere.  We will be transformed. This will be very expensive…

“Salvation is free but discipleship will cost you everything.”  Your leaders are preparing…Who is in?



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8 thoughts on “Just Follow – The Direction for 217church

  1. WOW! I’M IN! I want to be part of this movement of God. I am so excited just reading this. Where, when and how can I start? I want to won this vision!

  2. In.. ready for the mess, will work hard subject to Holy Spirit will run, will fight back, will persevere in the hope for a transformation…sure will end up richer.

  3. Love having you a part of the team! Thanks for your friendship and passion for expanding the Gospel in Central Jersey Karthik! You are the man!

  4. Dave! Thanks so much for your support and passion for the church. Love your enthusiasm and heart for people. Small groups and 1-1 is where its at! Looking forward to Easter series Live Differently and all that will happen because of it! Josh

  5. Dear Josh, I really liked your sermon last week. I am especially excited about your plan for adoption. We just adopted a 12 years old girl from China. We met a pastor from NC who adopted a toddler. Here is a link on his talk on adoption: http://www.crbcnow.com/
    God bless, Hong & Jayson

  6. This movment has touched my husbands heart, I have never seen such a passion for giving in him before. Thanks Pastor Josh and 217!