Small Church, Big Impact

Small Church, Big Impact

Thinking about COVID-19 Poncho Lowder of Dreamer’s Church

Kirk Hadden | April 15, 2020 | Church Branding Church Marketing Church Plant Creativity Wayfinding

Dreamers Church is a new congregation in Austin, Texas. They’re youthful, worshipful, and passionate about reaching their city for Jesus. At just a year and a half old, they see between one hundred fifty and two hundred people on a typical weekend. 

And they’re moving forward with purpose. Known for excellent music, their band released two songs in the past year: “Miracles Happen” and “Yes Amen,” both available to stream on all platforms now.

Their lead pastor, Poncho Lowder, started the congregation after more than ten years at Mannahouse in Portland, which is pastored by Mark Estes. Poncho still looks to Estes as his pastor.

We had the opportunity to work with Dreamers Church on their branding. We found Poncho to be innovative, a pastor with an entrepreneurial spirit and a true Kingdom perspective.

They’re doing great things right now. We wanted to celebrate with Poncho, but we also wanted to learn from how they’re adjusting to the new reality. 

Check out Jason’s conversation with Poncho in the video above or read the key takeaways here. 

Making New Plans

As a staff, Dreamers Church likes to plan. And they had big plans for Easter this year, working to put together the city’s largest-ever egg drop. They had partnered with a local elementary school and even booked a helicopter.

But as the Church at large suddenly shifted online, Dreamers Church had to figure out how to adjust. They watched live streams from larger churches and were impressed, but realized they’d have to think differently to make the same impact.

Poncho prayed for guidance, then asked his staff one question that changed everything for them. He wanted to know:

  1. What can we do right now...
  2. That we couldn’t do two weeks ago...
  3. That we might not be able to do eight weeks from now?

They found two answers. 

Two Opportunities for Every Church Right Now

1. Meet the Neighbors

Poncho said, “We preach ‘love your neighbor.’ What church doesn’t? But when I pole the people in my church and ask, ‘What are the names of your neighbors,’ nobody knows.”

But Poncho found, at this moment, people are willing to reach out. Dreamer’s Church gave them a tool to do it.

Through their website, Dreamer’s created a campaign called “KNOW YOUR 4.” It’s a card anyone can print and give to their neighbors. It says:

Hi!

My name is ________________.

I live in your neighborhood. We’re in a challenging season as a community and I want to do my best to stay connected. If you need anything—prayer, grocery delivery, food, etc.—we’d love to help in any way we can. My church has resources to help as well.

Please feel free to call or text me at (   ) - .

  1. Get Ready to Go Deep

Second, Poncho said, “Community and ‘going deep’ is not necessarily valued in the way most pastors would want. Relationships happen in passing and are mostly surface level.”

But Dreamers asked if this is the moment to change that. Though they had tried Zoom-based community and prayer groups before, they saw limited success. 

But Poncho and his team were ready to try again. Now, twelve groups meet every week for a deep dive into the Word and prayer—and they’re always filled!

Though Poncho can’t wait for the church to get back together, he never wants to go back to “business as usual.” He hopes the congregation can hold onto these two significant gains going forward.

What’s Now vs. What’s Next

Poncho doesn’t think the most useful question is, “What are you doing right now?” Instead, he says, “My hope is that I slow down enough right now so I can hear from the Lord what he wants to do in the next season.”

He encourages leaders everywhere to pray about what happens after quarantine, seeking revelation rather than merely good ideas. 

Here are two things Poncho sees on the horizon.

First, he believes there will be a fundamental change in the way people connect.

Though he can’t wait to gather again, he believes video chat and social media will remain valuable ways to connect as a congregation. 

Second, he believes there will be a shift in people’s understanding of the word “legacy.” 

Poncho says that legacy to this point meant, “How big do I build my tower to validate my existence here on earth?” Though that has never been the message of the Kingdom, it’s the world’s message. He’s seen it creep into the Church.

Poncho said, “But in the Kingdom, the question is, ‘How many people can I impact before my days of impact are over? I think people are going to ask the right legacy question, and I want to be able to shape their thinking.”

To learn more about Poncho Lowder and Dreamer’s Church—and to listen to their new music—check out their website.

How are you thinking about life after COVID?

We’d love to learn what God’s doing in your church, life, and community right now.

And we’d love to help! If you want to talk about next steps and strategy, hit us up. Use the contact form at the bottom of this page, and we’ll get in touch.

We also have a valuable tool that helps organizations of any kind discover how to connect with the people they want to reach. It’s our Branding Questionnaire, and you can download it right here.