I’m following the blogs of a few guys who are getting ready to plant churches or have started in the last few months. So I hope what I’m sharing is somewhat helpful. Let me tell you how year 2 was for me in the church planting adventure. If year 2 of Calvary Fellowship was a TV show, it would be "Alias". Why you ask? Because there’s a few things we could learn from Sydney Bristow:
#1 – You’re one person playing several roles – I remember answering the phone one day and someone asked for me. So I said, "I think he’s in. Please hold." Then I answered the phone in a deeper voice so our church "seemed" like a bigger deal than it was. What an idiot! But you are going to have to be several different people in the first couple of years. You’re going to be the set-up coordinator, graphics person, bulletin producer, worship leader (in my case), and a bunch of other things.
#2 – You’re not really sure who you can trust – You’re still getting to know people. The church is starting to take off and everyone has a great idea. This is a difficult time because as the church is gaining momentum you want to add some of the things that people have been asking for (Youth, men’s and women’s ministries, a building). Be careful. Adding too much too soon will turn you into something else (Which I will discuss in year 3 – tomorrow). Go slow. Time is your friend. Will people leave because you don’t have certain ministry environments? Yes. But they will also leave if you do those ministries poorly. But even if you do it poorly, pulling the plug is not an easy thing to do (And it kills momentum, even to those that weren’t involved). So don’t start something until you feel you can do it well.
#3 – You’re not sure everyone has the same goal – Trust me, they don’t. The person who has talked to 10 people about ________ and they all agree. Trust me, they talked to 1 person 10 times. In fact, now I just ask people that question. "Did you talk to 10 people or did you have the same conversation with 1 person ten times?" If they say, "No, it’s really 10 people." Then I ask for names and I say, "Let’s get them together right now." Amazingly, a cell phone usually rings or an alien abduction takes place that demands their immediate attention and they can’t talk now.
#4 – Those that are close to you get assassinated (Verbally, not literally) – I think the toughest part of ministry isn’t the long hours or the difficulty of the task. I think the hardest part of the beating that your family and friends take for standing by you. I remember someone coming into my office and speaking negatively about my wife to me (By the way, that’s a really bad decision). I came unglued! That’s one place you don’t go with me. But it’s hard on those close to you also, because people are going to say things to them about you that they would never say to you man to man. They’re hoping that by telling someone close to you that it will trickle back to you. I’ve told my family and my friends this: If someone says something to you about me that I should or shouldn’t do, bring them to me. Say, "You know, Bob would love to hear that. Let’s go talk to him together." Let’s just say I haven’t had very many conversations like that.
#5 – There’s a deeper agenda with some people that you only find out later – If you’re just starting, you may not believe me and I don’t want to make you suspect of every person you meet. All I ask, if that you be discerning. Why does this person "need" this type of ministry? Is it because they just want to want to lead and don’t really want to serve? Is it because there’s a serious issue happening in their life? If it is, then they need us to discern that and have us or another leader minister to them one on one.
Most people in your church will be there because they are seeking God and want to take the next steps in their journey. A few are disgruntled and see a new, thriving church as a place to get lead because they’ve "Been around the block before". This is who to be careful for. But enjoy the ride, because what you’re doing is in the action/ adventure genre!