So Erin and I went to the Pastors and Wives Retreat last week at beautiful Harvest Bible Chapel Orlando.
Pastor James MacDonald said something that really resonated with me. So much so that I told our pre-service pray-ers Sunday. Then I told the whole congregation. And now I just have to put it on here.
He was talking about seasons of ministry and how we in church planting world start small and meet in schools and eventually grow and move in to our own buildings. In the midst of this, Pastor James lauded the caliber of the people who would commit to being part of a start-up church plant. Those who would “be a part of your thing before your thing was a thing.”
He’s right. I think back on all of those who quickly committed and bailed when work needed to be done. Those who were “all in”, and left when discovering “all in” was a huge responsibility. And those who made it one lap around the track but didn't have the heart to make another.
I am so thankful for those who have walked through this journey. Everyone who doesn’t care that we meet in a school and don’t have all the bells and whistles. Those who are just coming to worship and pray and encounter the loving God and aren’t afraid to give more of their time and money because we are so young. Those who are joyful and flexible and expecting God to show Himself mighty.
I guess I knew this, but James brought back to the forefront of my mind: it takes a very special type of person to be a part of a church plant. What kind of person?
It takes someone with faith.
Church planting isn’t for someone who likes to see the fruit of what has already happened. It is for those who have faith to see what the Lord is about to do. You just have to know you are being called to it.
It takes someone with vision.
It’s easier to plug into a church where everything is established. But to be a pioneer, to establish a culture, to spearhead a new mission, to seek God for how He is calling you to step up and pass a vision on to others and equip them and coach them and train them and be patient with them and grow and adapt and lose people and trust the funds to come in and not get discouraged and not let your people get discouraged and… Well, you got to have a vision and be committed to it.
It takes someone who won’t quit.
Someone who is not afraid of hard work, or recruiting, or going the extra mile. Leadership and church planting sound like a lot of fun, but many step up to the plate and discover that they aren’t ready to play ball. So they leave. It’s too hard, we’ve had a setback, my expectations aren’t being met. Quitting is the easy way out. And it is always painful for the people who were counting on them. I am so thankful for those who are truly committed - and it would take a wheelbarrow full of dynamite to blow them out of the church. Those are the people who are an encouragement to me when my spirits are down!
I could go on. But I won’t. I am so blessed to see the people the Lord has brought… and continues to bring. And I pray they experience the blessing for their radical faith.
Because anyone can do things the easy way.
p.s. - surrounded by bulldogs