Obviously, here at the V3 Movement we love to work with missionally minded planters and church leaders. One of our greatest joys as a missional church organization is seeing how God allows our ministry to bless those who allow us to partner with them. For us, talking about church planting happens naturally (hence the blog), but we also love to talk about church planters, without whom church planting wouldn’t even be a thing.
So we’ve asked a few V3 Cohort members to share a little about their experiences being in these intimate leadership communities. Shaun and Amanda Wissmann, Josh Oxendine, and Josh Cogan have kindly allowed us to share with you some of their responses. As we prepare to launch the next round of V3 Learning Cohorts, we thought it would be a good idea to let church leaders and planters know a little about what they can expect as told by some veteran cohort members.
By way of brief introduction, Shaun and Amanda recently responded to God’s call and moved to San Bernardino, California, to live missionally among the community there; Josh Oxendine and his wife Brooke are planting/pastoring The Grove Church in Fayetteville, North Carolina; and Josh and Gina Cogan belong to The Awakening Church in Dallas, Texas, a plant where Josh is a pastor and leader.
Not only are these leaders’ V3 Learning Cohorts informing their leadership and missiology within the context of a loving, leadership community, but the Wissmanns, Oxendines, and Cogans are also contributing to the church planting experience of others throughout our organization by sharing their experiences as they live them out in authentic community. This mutualism makes the planting experience richer for everyone involved and is an important factor that shapes and informs V3 as a broad, culturally adept missional organization. So on behalf of the V3 Movement we thank our participants!
Why did you choose to participate in a V3 Cohort?
Shaun and Amanda: We looked at several different organizations before finally landing with V3. In the end, we ultimately chose a V3 Cohort because it felt like God chose it for us. Knowing that we would be planting in a nontraditional way, we needed experienced practitioners to walk alongside of us as we took this journey. We needed people who are movement minded but focused on their immediate neighborhoods. We found that in V3 and knew that there wasn’t a better place for us to be and for us to learn.
Josh Oxendine: I originally found the V3 movement while searching for funding for church planting. After much research I realized that the V3 Movement had much more to give than funding. I also realized that much of my “DNA” was similar to V3’s.
In what way has your cohort affected your ministry?
Josh Cogan: The cohort has given me a deeper understanding of what true discipleship and true incarnational living look like. In a lot of ways V3 has completely taken my “church box” and lit it on fire in an amazing way that has forced me to focus more on Jesus and the leadership of the Holy Spirit rather than my own preconceived notions on what church planting should look like in my context.
Shaun and Amanda: The most profound way my ministry has been impacted is through peace—peace that this is God’s work and that we can join in it; peace in fruitfulness or in pruning; peace in understanding or in mystery; peace in slow growth or rapid development. Peace, peace, peace. Every week at the end of our cohort calls I have an abounding sense of being exactly where we need to be but looking forward to the places He is taking us.
In what way has your cohort experience affected you as a spouse, friend, parent or neighbor?
Josh Oxendine: It has affected my spouse and I the most. We initially started the group together. This seemed to get slightly chaotic because nobody was around to watch the kids for our weekly call. Nonetheless, we both grew together as a couple, but more so as leaders in our church. Brooke was also able to learn and grow in her missional theology.
Josh Cogan: I feel as if it has challenged me to listen better. This is a great tool to work on no matter the relationship, be it with a spouse, a friend, a neighbor, pastor, etc.
Shaun and Amanda: As a bi-vocational planter, I have seen the cohort affect my job. It has given me a boldness to share my life, as is, in all its messiness. It has also reminded me to be present with the people God has placed around me, because they have messy lives too. This willingness to be myself and to be available has created direct discipleship relationships. It has also challenged our leadership team to be intentional in all the spaces God has placed us in.
What is one essential lesson you’ve learned from this opportunity?
Josh Oxendine: That God hasn’t called me to build a church; God has called me to make disciples. If I concentrate on making disciples, He will build the church. So, the biggest lesson was refocusing on disciple-making.
Josh Cogan: Incarnational living means joining in the organic rhythms of the neighborhood, not doing something just because you and/or your team think it’s “cool.”
Given that we’re about to launch the next iteration of V3 cohorts, what would you say to someone who is considering joining?
Shaun and Amanda Wissmann: V3 is pioneering church planting in a way few have attempted before. So, pray about it. Then do it!
Josh Oxendine: Growing leaders grow leaders. The V3 cohort is a great way to do just that. The cohort becomes a family of Jesus lovers who grow together by learning from each other. I don’t know anybody who wouldn’t want that.
Josh Cogan: It will rock your world in the best possible ways. V3 has been an appropriate challenge for me both in my personal faith and as a leader. V3 has also provided a network of brothers and sisters who are in the same “trenches” as me, reminding me that we are not alone in this journey.
We again want to thank these awesome church planters and missional leaders. Please pray for them and support their ministries!
“I want to be a part of the next V3 Learning Cohort!”