When we started our church 6 1/2 years ago, there was nothing like NNCC or ChurchPlanters.com for church planters (or at least if there was, I didn’t know about it). This led me to plant CF without having a clue as to what I was doing or having any guidance as to a strategy about launching a church. I had never read a book on church planting because I was told that all this stuff was carnal and all that I needed was the Bible and the Holy Spirit. I know that sounds really spiritual, but that’s like a couple saying that all they need is love. How can you argue with that? The truth is, God’s Spirit works in a variety ways: through strategic means as well as through the spontaneous.
It wasn’t until about year or two into our church plant that I started reading books that were really helpful in so many ways. I look at the guys going out to plant churches now and I’m so thankful that there are groups that are working really hard to help church planters to be as prepared as possible to plant churches.
I planted at the tail end of an era that wanted things to be hard for church planters. The mentality was: it as hard for me, so it should be for you as well.
Now the thinking has changed to: let me tell you every mistake I made so you don’t have to repeat it.
I’m thankful that there’s a new generation of church planters starting churches that are way more equipped than I was. It makes for healthier churches from the start.
So here’s what I’m saying:
Church Planters – learn all you can. Get wisdom. Talk to people. Read books. Listen to mp3’s. Go to conferences. If someone tells you that all that stuff isn’t Spiritual because it’s planned, you have my permission to smack them 😉 By the way, don’t be cocky! There’s nothing that make me want to give the right fist of fellowship to a person than a church planter who hasn’t had a service yet, but thinks he knows it all. Be humble. God opposes proud people. There’s a generation who did it with much less than you have. Show some respect. You’ll be surprised how much you can learn if you’ll stop talking about how great your vision is and listen to the wisdom that older church planters have learned over the years.
Church leaders – help these guys out! Remember wishing someone was there to help you? Now is your opportunity to break the cycle. Give these guys the assistance that you never got. Get over the mentality that says, “I didn’t have any help and I did OK, so let them learn the way I did.” That’s not kingdom thinking. That’s selfish and bitter talk. It’s like the guy who walks away from his family and says, “I didn’t have a dad and I turned out OK.” No you didn’t. You have issues that you don’t even know about. Why make things for that church planter more difficult than it needs to be? Ministry is hard enough without church leaders making it more difficult. Be part of the blessing in helping a new ministry get started. I have found that this is true joy.
These are great times we’re living in…