4RC Transition FAQ
Obviously there are lots of questions surrounding 4RC’s ongoing transition to the LifeChurch network. So with some help from the Nav Team and Brad, I’ve compiled this FAQ to help answer some of these questions. If it generates even more questions, that’s OK. We’ll do our best with those too. Here’s the FAQ…..
Why is Four Rivers pursuing an opportunity to be in the LifeChurch network?
Four Rivers Church has always been a church on the cutting edge. When it began, few churches in Western KY had contemporary worship—now it is commonplace. Few churches were very casual—now it is a new norm. Few churches were missional—now more churches understand the need to actively engage the community. The edge is in our DNA. It’s who we are. We’ve always been a church focused on reaching the 80% who do not attend church anywhere instead of recruiting from the traditional church-going (and often church-hopping) 20%. Throughout our church’s life our methods have always seemed strange, doomed-to-fail, and even irreverent to the 20%. And that’s OK—they are not our target group. Just as Jesus told the religious folks of his day, our passion is to bring the doctor to the sick, not the healthy. We want to reach those who do not go to church. That’s why combining a regular message from Craig Groeschel, one of the most fruitful and gifted speakers in the world, with the resources from a Mission-minded network like LifeChurch, and the Missional DNA of Four Rivers makes perfect sense. Expect this recipe of talent and potential to produce a powder keg of IMPACT!
Is the LifeChurch arrangement permanent?
While God does not change, he most certainly moves. And in order to move with him it’s difficult to say anything related to how we do church is permanent. For the reasons given above, the leadership of 4RC believes the LifeChurch network IS the direction God is leading our church. We are wholly committed to making it work. With that said, everything we do is subject to review and after an appropriate amount of time, this arrangement like all other aspects of Four Rivers, will be evaluated for its impact and effect. We will ask ourselves “Is this church model helping us fulfill our mission?” If not, then whatever changes are necessary will be made prayerfully and appropriately.
Why is this affiliation with LifeChurch not being voted upon by the congregation at-large?
4RC is seeking a senior leader and the church will be asked to endorse that appointment with a vote at the appropriate time. More on that below. But in order to better answer this question, we need to examine two subject areas: 1) what is NOT changing, and 2) what IS changing.
First—what is not changing. 4RC is maintaining its independence as a separate entity. LifeChurch is not taking over 4RC and 4RC is free to leave the network at any time. 4RC will pay nothing to join this network and at no time will we be losing our identity. The name, logo, staff (with the exception of Brad of course), and governance of 4RC will all remain the same. LifeChurch is not forcing anything upon us or taking anything from us. We still are who we are. Most importantly, the mission of 4RC will remain as it has always been—to reach the 80%.
Second—what is changing. We are voluntarily joining forces with a well-connected and well-financed network of churches. This presents us with the opportunity to use their strengths and resources to maximize 4RC’s effort in reaching the unchurched in our community. The most notable change (at least for the Paducah campus) will be in the style of service in that messages will originate from an off-site location. It has always been the practice of 4RC for the church leaders to decide what is taught at 4RC. Pastor Brad lovingly submitted each of his teachings to a team of leaders prior to their delivery. The same is true with Pastors Stoney and Caleb. This is an act of trust and mutual submission. And it is very biblical. Even though the style of teaching changes from time to time, the leaders of 4RC still find themselves responsible and accountable for the Bible being taught in a very fruitful way at 4RC—just as it has always been. This is God’s plan as directed by Christ to the church leaders and has never been, either by biblical precedent or church governance, subject to consensus. The leadership of 4RC is very comfortable with the teachings of LifeChurch in general and Craig Groeschel in particular.
Be encouraged—fulfilling the same mission we’ve always had but in a style that looks different from tradition is not something to fear. To the contrary, it’s always been what we’ve done best!
How will this new model help Four Rivers reach the unchurched?
LifeChurch is an organization that knows how to reach the 80%. They have a proven track record everywhere they go. Take the opportunities LifeChurch offers us (leadership development, missional training, teaching content, small group material, promotional assistance, pastoral/worship leader networks, etc). Now throw in THE absolute best motivational speaker of our time whose gifted messages have proven to be incredibly fruitful and transformative. Then add icing by plowing the extra time and energy (as much as 50%) from our pastors’ weekly message prep into personal and relational ministry in our congregation and community. The result is a powerful combination having the potential to transform 4RC into something every church in our area would love to become but struggles to achieve—a real connection to a God who wants to turn lives around. The truth is the traditional church model has probably reached 99% of all the people it is going to reach. And that is only around 20% of the population. If our mission truly is to reach the other 80% then it is also our duty to transform ourselves into the most effective instrument possible to achieve this mission, which includes revising a church model whose reach has been maxed out for quite some time.
Are we going to hire a central leader?
YES. The Nav Team has begun making strides in this direction and is trying to figure out what this position will look like within the LifeChurch network. The ECC and LifeChurch have already been instrumental in helping us begin this process and will be with us every step of the way. External candidates as well as anyone internal to 4RC who may be interested will be considered in filling this position. We anticipate this individual to unite our campuses and be the central leader in all spiritual, administrative, visional, and missional aspects of 4RC. This is a process that by design requires patience from all of us—this is one decision we do not want to get wrong! Per the provisions of our Constitution/By-Laws, once a suitable candidate has been identified the congregation will have the opportunity to evaluate and vote upon the individual in an up or down fashion.
What can I do to help?
First and foremost you can live up to your membership expectations. That means:
- Be in prayer for the church, the leaders, and the congregation
- If you tithe, please continue.
- If you don’t, please start. We need your financial commitment more than ever right now.
- If you see a hole in the church, step up and fill it.
- Be patient and be positive. Don’t let rumors, innuendo, or negative talk fill your ears or your mouth.
- Don’t let fear of the unknown rob you of an incredible opportunity with LifeChurch
- And last but not least—LIVE THE MISSION!