Ever felt like you just weren't sure where to go next? That's how Jamie Staples, Lead Pastor of Renew Church in Eau Claire, WI, felt one year ago. We love to share the stories of the churches we partner with, and Jamie has been an incredible example of a leader who implements what he learns. Here's our conversation:
As a leader, what would you say has been your biggest challenge?
Honestly, my biggest personal challenge in church planting is that there’s nothing to hide behind. When an insecurity arises or a struggle emerges, there isn’t a system or other staff to hide behind. You have to face whatever it is head-on and grow through it. Professionally, my biggest challenge is managing and leading people. I've had to work hard to find the right people and lead them in ways that lead to their success and transformation.
Renew Church is a recent church plant. How would you encourage pastors in a similar setting?
Church planting is one of the hardest things to take on. But, making disciples is at the heart of the gospel. As a church leader, I pursue this mission by creating a space for people to grow and gather in.
Planting churches is crucial to the mission of Jesus in many ways. Don’t give up; don’t lose heart. Remember that you have your job and Jesus has His (and His is bigger). Also, find a group of fellow church planters to journey with.
What prompted you to pursue an outside perspective? What challenges were you facing?
We had grown rapidly and I found myself in a place where I wasn’t sure what the next steps were. What do you do with all these people? What systems do we need to put in place to relieve the worry of people falling through the cracks?
I knew I needed some guidance and support on how to lead at the next level and I knew the church needed that from me. I reached out to fellow pastors that were leading large churches and they were always willing to help and answer questions, but I needed someone who was going to personally lead me through the next steps.
The role 95Network played in providing funds was everything for us. It was the difference between needing to pass on the coaching I needed and being able to move forward with it. Our church would be in a very different place today if I had not received those funds and coaching.
Where is Renew Church headed? What's shifted over this past year?
The biggest thing that has shifted is our ability to put systems in place so we can accommodate the growth that has been occurring. We've implemented new systems for discipleship, giving, leadership development, and community outreach.
I’ve grown as a leader, and when the leader grows, the church grows. We are planning to continue to grow this coming year and are praying to be in a place to plant another church in order to continue reaching new people that aren’t following Jesus.
Want to help a church like Renew Church? Our team has a big vision: to help 5,000 churches in 15 years. We want to equip small churches who recognize that things need to change and are hungry to have the greatest impact for Jesus they possibly can, but are limited by finances.
Would you consider partnering with us to support small churches across the country? The support of our donors allows us to give generously to churches who can’t afford the services they need, to host meaningful conferences across the country for pastors of small and mid-size churches, and to produce great content for the leaders in our network.
Austin is the Managing Director here at 95Network. From Normal, IL, Austin gets that ministry can sometimes feel anything but “normal.” He grew up leading in the small church his dad pastored, and has since served on the launch teams for two church plants. He holds a Communications degree from Moody Bible Institute and is passionate about seeing churches grow healthier and make a difference in their communities. Austin and his wife, Larisa, reside near Peoria, IL.