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A First-Time Church Planter Not Going It Alone

One of the main ways we are building a movement here at V3 is through our learning cohorts. Because we are a communal movement, we’re glad to bring you more personal interviews with other church planters who love what is happening in the church today, are engaging it in a fruitful manner, and are utilizing V3 Learning Cohorts to ground their leadership and missiology in community.
Since we’re currently enrolling participants in the next Cohort, we asked first-time church planter Jeff Elzinga of Cross Streets Church in the Pico-Union District of Los Angeles if he would share a little about his experience in his V3 Cohort. Jeff was kind enough to oblige us.

Why did you choose to participate in a V3 Cohort?

I participated in a V3 Cohort because I knew as a first-time church planter I needed some help. Other networks didn’t have much to help train or coach me. Many were overly hung up on “big launch” style planting, which would have a negative effect on my urban-poor context, and they were looking primarily for impressive teaching ability and stage presence—again, something that isn’t of much use in an area like mine.
I love V3’s commitment to help plant missional and incarnational churches with a desire to multiply.

In what way has being in a V3 Cohort affected your ministry?

I feel like the V3 Cohort helped provide a framework for church planting which I could contextualize and use in my neighborhood. In some areas the Cohort affirmed the direction we were going. In others it challenged some of the directions we headed. And at some points it brought up questions I didn’t know enough to ask. I feel like the largest ways my V3 Cohort will effect our ministry are yet to come.

In what way has your Cohort experience affected you as a spouse, friend, parent or neighbor?

The V3 Cohort has helped me to calm down and be ok with starting slow. This has enhanced my ability to go at the pace of my wife and kids, which has helped our relationships. As a friend and neighbor, this slower pace means being able to linger with people and not feel rushed to turn them into tithing members or treat them as projects.
Our culture likes things to be instant, and, unfortunately, I see the same thing in many church plants. Everyone is in a rush to achieve a success based on the number of people attending and the amount of dollars given. There’s so much pressure in the church planting world to grow fast and be self-sufficient. Planting a church in one of the poorest neighborhoods in one of the largest cities in the U.S. just doesn’t work like that, and I’m thankful for a network and Cohort that helped me relax and reevaluate success based on quality, faithfulness, longevity and movement over impressive stats and financial independence.

What is one essential lesson you’ve learned from this opportunity?

Stay faithful; don’t try to take shortcuts to achieve what others see as success.
[Tweet “Stay faithful. Don’t try to take shortcuts to achieve what others see as success. @jeffelzinga”]

Given that we’re about to launch the next iteration of V3 Cohorts, what would you say to a first-time church planter who is considering joining?

I would recommend doing a V3 Cohort to any church planter—to some because it will be like coming home to a family who understands your perspective for church planting, and to others because it will challenge the status quo you may have fallen into unknowingly.
We want to thank Jeff for being willing to share and for modeling the kind of relationship we love to build here at V3. Please take some time to learn more about Cross Streets and support Jeff’s family and ministry.
You can follow Jeff on Twitter @jeffelzinga and Facebook.
Learn about Learning Cohorts
[Tweet “Be a shepherded shepherd. http://thev3movement.org/learning-cohorts/”]

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