Listening to the Story: The Experience of Two Church Planters

Church planting doesn’t happen according to some idealistic model.

In every environment, church means something unique, which can mean unique challenges and unique opportunities. Here’s what that meant for two planters, one in Colorado and one in Twin Cities. Meet Scott Olson and Matt Anderson, who were part of our community of church planters, the Learning Cohort.

Matt, tell us a little about yourself, your hobbies and your calling to plant a church.

I am a Minnesotan, born and raised. I adore the seasons and enjoy finding ways to experience the richness that each season has to offer. From a ministry perspective, I am a pastor’s kid, so a passion for the church and ministry is in my veins. I worked for a decade at a multi-site mega church in the Twin Cities before leaving to plant a church.

I always thought people who plant churches were crazy (I still do!), but God began stirring in me a heart to see a church that more faithfully embodied the missional and incarnational heart of our missional, incarnational God. I didn’t see a church living into that identity in our community. After a season of frustration, I sensed God inviting me to join him in his work in our community by planting a church built on those impulses. So here we are.

2. Where are you planting your church, and why did you decide to plant there?

We planted our church in the Powderhorn neighborhood of south Minneapolis, where my wife and I moved with our three kids back in 2013. We fell in love with the community as we got to know it through my brother (who lives in Powderhorn) and a non-profit ministry that he started in the community. Powderhorn is a beautiful, eclectic neighborhood, with a strong Portlandia vibe.

Upon moving into the community, we knew that living missionally and incarnationally invites us to be very present to our neighborhood. So it only made sense that when God stirred a vision in me for a church plant that it would have to be in our community.

3. What is the missional strategy of your church plant?

Our greatest emphasis is to encourage our Story folks to be present to the people God puts in their path on a regular basis–their neighbors. To that end, our primary environment is what we call a Neighborhood Collective. Our neighborhood collectives meet in homes, share a meal, have intentionally spiritual conversations about living into the way of Jesus, and prayerfully discern how God is inviting them to love and serve their neighbor(hood) in intentional, tangible ways.

The engine that really makes it all hum are our discipleship groups that meet bi-weekly to equip our folks to not only live more authentically into the way of Jesus, but also prepare them to help others do the same.

4. What is the name, website and some unique aspects of the church you are planting?

Our name is The Story.

Our neighborhood collective is a fairly unique aspect of our church. It really is the backbone of who we are. In our initial season, we called them “house churches,” as I wanted to see that environment as the more faithful environment for living into our identity as “church,” as opposed to our worship gatherings that happen twice a month.

We also have a lot of kids in our church community, so it has been a fun and challenging journey to ask how we can best disciple our kids in a more relational context of church. It’s been fun to see our kids engaging in missional activities.

5. In regard to the five-fold typololgy (Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor, Teacher), how has God wired you for ministry, and how are you helping the congregation you serve live into their five-fold?

I am a Prophet-Pastor, which is an interesting mix as a church planter. I love to engage people at a very relational level, but also have a passion to stretch the church to more faithfully live into its calling and identity.

The five-fold typology is relatively new to me, so we are still on the early end of discovering our giftings and how to best lean into and leverage them as a church.

6. What has been the most significant piece of learning in your time with the V3 Learning Cohort?

The most significant thing has not been one particular learning but rather the encouragement that comes from being connected to a tribe that has a similar heartbeat. When I first embarked on the church planting journey (prior to connecting to V3), it was a very lonely road for me.

I had few peers in my denomination or Twin Cities region to connect with around missional church planting. Having weekly coaching and conversations with others who are trying to do the same thing in their contexts has been invaluable for me, and has undoubtedly sustained me through the challenging work of church planting.

And here’s Scott Olson

1. Tell us a little about yourself, your hobbies and your calling to plant a church.

I was called as an apostle/dream awakener shortly after becoming a Christ follower in 1992, however, at the time, I had no framework to understand how God had shaped and gifted me. Since then we’ve been a part of planting/replanting 5 churches with various teams in various cities in Texas, Oregon, and Colorado.

2. Where are you planting your church, and why did you decide to plant there?

We moved to Colorado Springs in 2013 for health reasons. In 2014, I came alongside a friend to re-launch a church plant that had fallen apart. However, ​in the midst of replanting, he went through some extremely challenging life circumstances and decided to step out of church planting. So, I became the lead planter and began immediately focusing on developing a polycentric leadership team and developing a missional, incarnational theological framework for our body to live into together.

3. What is the missional strategy of your church plant?

​It’s fairly simple, however countercultural in a transient, consumer culture: love our city, remain rooted in neighborhoods, love our neighbors, serve our city with our neighbors as an expression of the gospel, and multiply gospel-formed communities.

As God multiplies these communities, we’d take note of when we have enough in a particular geographic area to warrant its own ​corporate gathering of gospel-formed communities (whether they gather once per month, twice per month, weekly, etc.).

In this way, we desire to become a movement of missional, incarnational churches over the long-haul. In addition, we’d like to launch a missional, incarnational, theological training center for our city to equip the church for service.

4. What is the name, website and some unique aspects of the church you are planting?

Grassroots Church, we are living into a Trinitarian framework of grace gifts that restore the church to health, equip the church for ministry, and catalyze the church for mission.​

5. In regard to the five-fold typololgy (Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor, Teacher), how has God wired you for ministry, and how are you helping the congregation you serve live into their five-fold?

​I’m primarily Apostle and, therefore, have worn most of these hats at different times for various seasons. However, I have a strong pastoral bent as well. I’ve helped the church to understand and identify these various gifts within our body. Within our leadership team, the apostle, pastor, and teacher are represented. However, I am meeting with groups of each gift within our body specifically to talk through how they function and how they can help develop various environments within our body.​

6. What has been the most significant piece of learning in your time with the V3 Learning Cohort?

​​Fleshing out the implications of polycentric leadership that is modeled after the Trinity.

This exposes things within me (my own desire for status and recognition) and goes against the grain o​f the traditional model of church leadership in our city (and in the world). It also develops a culture that truly values each leaders’ gifting and frees them to be who they are to the body while not elevating any particular gift.

Because I’m an apostle with a fair amount of experience and training, I exert the influence of who I am while equally valuing the same in other men and women in our team who mutually submit to one another in humility, dive deep into loving one another, and seek to encourage and develop each other for the glory of God.

 

The Learning Cohort is available through V3—Find out more here.

V3 Movement

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