So many of you have asked me about increasing the chances of getting a Credo House in your city or town. Let me give you some ways you can help your chances.
Getting a Credo House in your area will take some leg work and networking. The main thing we need, obviously, is support. This can and should come by way of two avenues: 1) local church support and 2) building a local constituency.
1) Local church support: Churches need to be sold on and excited about what a Credo House can bring to their community. They need to first realize that we are not there to compete with them in any way, but only to serve. First and foremost, having a Credo House creates and facilitates an atmosphere of taking truth seriously. Far from looking over the shoulder of the local churches, the Credo House comes along side churches to help theologically establish, develop, maintenance, and/or, repair when in need.
a. For those churches whose leadership lacks theological education, we provide solid Evangelical theological training. We are not a seminary, but we do serve as a representative of seminary-type training. Our hope is that pastors and church leaders see the need to get formal theological training that seminaries provide. But we understand that not only is it difficult and expensive to get the degrees needed, but it is even harder to keep up with the latest developments in theology. That is why the Credo House “Fellow” serves as a local professor/pastor of theology, not only facilitating ongoing and affordable theological training themselves, but also introducing them to scholars from all over the world through special events and seminars.
b. As well, Credo Houses serve as a place that pastors can send their people to when there are issues of theology and apologetics that they don’t feel qualified to answer. Pastors can set up a time with the Credo House fellow where those who have the question can come sip on a latte and discuss difficult issues in an irenic way.
c. Finally, Credo Houses present a “neutral” and fun environment for networking meetings with other church leaders, coffee with a member of the congregation, or evangelistic opportunities with members of the community.
2) Building a local constituency: Credo Houses will need local support to exist. Having a Credo House in your city will bring a sense of dignity to your city. Its presence communicates that the historic truths of the Christian faith are taken seriously as God has called on us to love him with all our hearts, souls, and minds. Local people and Christian business owners need to be sold on the unique vision of the Credo House. This insures that much of the networking infrastructure that the future Credo House Fellow will be responsible for will be already established by the time a Credo House is planted.
Of course, the more these two elements are present the more a particular city will be considered for a Credo House plant. Since these are not “franchises”, everything will be under the umbrella of Credo House Ministries. But it cannot function without a large constituency of churches and people take ownership in the concept. As a general rule, each Credo House will have to be fully supported by the local city in which it resides.
Here are some good ways to get started:
-Go to your pastor and let him know about Credo House Ministries and the Credo House Coffee concept.
-Begin using some of the theological training material produced by Credo House Ministries such as The Theology Program, The Discipleship Program, or a Boot Camp.
-Get a planning committee together to start holding regular meetings. Look for possible locations.
-Get a group of interested kingdom investors to either come visit the Credo House here in Edmond or have Tim Kimberley or Michael Patton come there and speak about the Credo House vision.
-Buy 10,000 t-shirts that say this: “If You Build it, They Will Come: Credo House, (insert the name of your city or town)”. Then hand them out on street corners.
In an increasingly skeptical and church shy culture, a Credo House presents unique avenues of evangelism and discipleship that our day is yearning for. By this time next year, we plan on having our plans for the next Credo House (probably in a college town) ready to go. But our board has wisely said that we need to have the Credo House in Edmond, OK fully functional and financially stable. The more financially stable we can become here through donor “buy in”, the more we will be confident moving forward with future Credo Houses. Please be in prayer for us. As Dr. Luke would say, “this is no small adventure that we are on”.