For the past eighteen months, the elders of Sound City have been in conversations with the leadership of Sojourn Network, a church-planting network based out of Louisville, KY. After many months of prayer, discussion, and meetings with Sojourn leaders, we are very excited to announce that we are pursuing adoption in this network. Even though we feel confident that this is the direction that God is leading us, this process is not finalized or set in stone. Because we value a well-informed and bought-in membership, we wanted to put this information out so that you—the Covenant Members and attenders of Sound City—can have time to pray about it, get to know the network, and (as always) ask questions or clarifications from the elder team.
In this three-part series, I'm working to answer three major questions:
- Why should we join a network in the first place?
- Why should we join Sojourn Network specifically?
- What does joining Sojourn Network mean for us practically?
Today, we turn our attention to the third and final question:
What does joining Sojourn Network mean for us practically?
1. Financial Contribution
The first practical thing this means for us as a church is that we will contribute 5% of our annual budget to Sojourn. A few things can be said about this. First, of the money that Sojourn receives, 60% of it goes directly to support new church plants. The other 40% goes into the network to pay for staff, infrastructure, coaching, conferences (which are free for member churches), and to fly ministry experts to other churches to help them. These ministry experts can assess church health, or they can provide on-site coaching for ministry leadership, or they can even cover the pulpit on occasion if needed.
Second, while this 5% is certainly a significant financial commitment for us as a church, it is a commitment that we are able to make. Like we shared in this summer’s financial report, we have earmarked 10% as a church to be given away to other church plants and ministries. Even though we have set aside that full 10% in the budget, we have not made regular commitments for all of those funds, and we should be able to allocate those resources to Sojourn without much hassle.
This financial contribution is a missional contribution as well, because 60% of our contribution to the network will be going to support like-minded church plants in the U.S. and beyond. We are excited to already be able to help in this way!
2. Participation in Conferences, Cohorts, and Other Conversations
As a church, we will begin to participate in various events that the network provides. Currently, I (Aaron) am already participating in a coaching cohort with other current and potential Sojourn Network pastors on the West Coast. At the end of October, most of our elders and staff will be flying to Louisville for the annual Sojourn Leadership Summit (Note: travel expenses for the Summit will come from funds budgeted for the Annual Elder Retreat.) This will give our leadership team an amazing opportunity to get to know the network, to develop relationships, and to be able to come back to our church with a fuller picture of what it means to join this network. As time goes on, most of our staff and elders (paid and unpaid) will have relationships with Sojourn that will provide relevant support and coaching through cohorts, conferences, and relationships where they can get on the phone and call other members of the network to connect, pray, and learn from each other.
3. Non-Financial Support of Church Plants
Again, God has been gracious to us as a church. Even though there are still many areas where we still need lots of help as a church, there are some areas where we believe that we can help other churches. For example, I happen to think that our children’s ministry is amazing! However, there are some new churches who are just getting started out that might need some help in that area. This is just an example, but maybe in the future we send a member or two of our kids’ ministry leadership team to another network church to help them identify ways to grow and improve. Side note: there is a Sojourn Network church in Hawaii. I’m really hoping that they need somebody to come preach for them sometime :-)
This process is not finalized or set in stone, but your elders do feel confident that we have done our homework, that we have been patient through this process, and that God is leading us toward joining Sojourn Network. Again, we are always interested in hearing feedback from our Covenant Members (and others) regarding this process. We will take time at the Family Gathering on October 2 to talk more about this process, and to take questions from those in attendance. In the meantime, please pray for our church, for Sojourn Network, and for Jesus to do amazing work in the north Puget Sound area.