Open Church Launches with Free Resources

Kent Shaffer —  January 10, 2013

After laying groundwork for over 2 years, OpenChurch.com has now officially launched!

We’ve already added free training materials by Granger Community Church including a Communications Manual, Guest Services Manual, and a Performing Arts Volunteer Orientation Packet.

We’ll be adding free church graphics by an assortment of contributors in the weeks to come and hopefully more training materials, curriculum, and ebooks in the months to come.

Why did it take so long to launch?

Everything took much longer than expected, but God refined us in the process. We wanted to launch in 2011 but didn’t until 2013. These are the lessons learned.

  • We had terrific advisors and made the mistake of focusing on their advice more than God’s voice. There is certainly a time and place for man’s pragmatism and expertise, but without God and his timing, man’s strength is futile.
  • We planned to launch large and hit the ground running. To reference Proverbs 24:27, we built the barn before planting for the harvest. Part of this was a sense of noble urgency to resource the Kingdom. Part of it was overconfidence (I was unaware of this). Part of it was pride in wanting something that impressed man, won their approval, and made me look good (I was in denial of this).
  • We were overconfident about fundraising. We said, “Look at our rolodex! Look at our advisors!”, and then nothing happened. Instead we had to self-fund over 90% of the first 2 years with funds that God providentially provided. Three times God has rescued us and providentially met our needs.
  • We were overconfident about web development. We said, “We’ve built social networks! We’ve sold startups!”, but after 6 months of development, the original site was unusable for our needs. The day after our developer left, a new premium WordPress theme was released for $59 that pioneered new features that we could rework to meet our basic needs.
  • We were humbled.
  • We learned how to better hear God’s voice.
  • We learned to give God the credit for all things good.
  • We learned how to trust God and His sovereign providence.
  • We learned that obedience is more important than looking good.
  • We retooled our logistics to cut costs by 72% and streamline our process.
  • I simplified my family’s lifestyle in order to be more agile for the Kingdom.

Your support is still appreciated.

If God continues to bless it, the ad revenue from Church Relevance should be enough in 2013 to cover my living expenses so that I can focus full-time on Open Church. However, we still have hosting and operating expenses as well as long-term goals. This is made possible by generous donations from people like you.

Your donations help us provide more free resources. Click here to donate.

Moving forward.

We still plan to build out a large network of volunteers and follow our initial blueprint. With our new, leaner operating model, it will take much longer to develop these long-term goals. A larger operating budget definitely makes it easier to scale to these goals, but right now we are focusing are being obedient in the small things. Small but swift steps lead to momentum.

In these early stages, we’re going to prioritize downloadable resources over articles since free resources are more scarce than ideas in God’s Kingdom.

Prayers are appreciated.

 

Kent Shaffer

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I live in an RV with my wife and 2 kids and work with OpenChurch.com to help Christians collaborate and build a global Church library of free, open content.

2 responses to Open Church Launches with Free Resources

  1. Paul Clifford (@PaulAlanClif) January 10, 2013 at 1:55 pm

    Would you be interested in adding one of my books, maybe Podcasting Church (for Kindle, Nook, iBooks, & pdf)? Let me know and I can make it happen.

    Paul

  2. Great to hear of this launch and thanks for being open (as fitting for an openchurch.com) to share your lessons learned. Good to see things running leaner and more agile, I think that’s befitting of the times and of the real global world situation.