The “Need” – Problem Statement
There are over 4.2 million people in the Tampa Bay area, representing seven (7) counties. There is an incredible spiritual opportunity right in front of us – Tampa Bay! We believe the Holy Spirit is stirring the hearts of ministry leaders to provide greater opportunity for God’s people to participate and effectively disciple those who trust Christ in these days. We believe people in Tampa have some knowledge and interest in God; yet, most are looking for hope and they are looking for meaningful relationships that can help them with life’s challenges which are increasingly becoming more difficult. Small to midsize churches represent 90% of churches in the United States. As times become more difficult in our country, we anticipate a climate where churches of this size will not be able to carry out their missions effectively on their own.
The Solution – A Movement with a Vision & Plan
T4C will create a movement of churches that 1) love God, 2) love others, and 3) make disciples who make disciples that reach everyone and every neighborhood in Tampa Bay.
Project Definition for the T4C Movement
Christ Community Church, Tampa and regional like-minded evangelical churches will “covenant” to come together to begin a new work – Tampa for Christ (“T4C”). Unified around a Biblical message and a Biblical model, T4C will provide “equipping, resources, and an emphasis to “organize” outreach in an effort to ignite a movement. The movement will emphasize the “Gospel” and “making disciples” in a post-modern , post-Christian context. Tampa for Christ will introduce a Biblical pattern of “outreach” that will transform and underpin missional priorities in local churches. “Tampa for Christ” (“T4C”) is the new “wineskin” that will transform individuals, families, neighborhoods, and counties in Tampa Bay.
At the core, T4C seeks to win the Tampa Bay area for Christ by 2025 through saturation evangelism and “house church” development in the metro-Tampa Bay area and surrounding counties: Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, and Manatee counties.
T4C seeks to develop a model that deemphasizes (not eliminates) a “traditional” approach to outreach and programming in the traditional church. In exchange for traditional programming, T4C provides high valued strategies and teachings methods that can develop small groups into churches outside of local church building walls.
Most traditional churches today have “groups” of some stripe or variety. Many churches encourage groups to meet at a central location – for example the main campus of their church. Many of these groups have programmed curriculum designed to foster knowledge-based growth.
T4C agrees that a “group” dynamic is necessary for spiritual growth. It also agrees that spiritual knowledge is necessary for any type of growth; however, T4C does not stop there. T4C encourages a maturation of decentralized “groups” that meet in the communities which represent their church congregations. T4C also is intentional on developing disciples so they can, in turn, make disciples.
Many “church” groups today are comfortable with the idea of meeting together for the purpose of knowledge-based spiritual growth. While this is important, T4C recognizes a unique need to be obedience-based too. Knowing the Bible is important. Obeying what it says – to the extent we understand it – is a key to helping the movement grow.
It is estimated that T4C will develop a strong base for multiplication within the first two years. During these two years, T4C staff will be identifying county, regional, and member church leadership. It will also identify churches who want to change their outreach models to be more effective in teaching their congregations to be more effective. This process will involve an initial 1 1/2 year training + coaching cycle. The goals, initially, will be to help churches understand that the dynamic they are attempting to create is an “extension” of the church outside of the building.
Initially T4C will encourage churches to accept the DNA for outreach. Part of this comes when a pastor or leader in a church evaluates his local outreach programming. It will also come after an evaluation of his church’s effectiveness in reaching their community around them. Many pastors and parachurch ministries should realize that the methods that require a “come and see” approach are ineffective to reaching the lost who do not want to be evangelized inside our traditional church buildings.