When we open and read our Bibles we tend to highlight the miracles but conveniently ignore the references to timing and the waiting that usually preceded the miracle. This mindset pours into our thinking that anything we do for God if we do it out of faith will explode and be overflowing with blessings. We go to conferences and hear from church planters who started churches with hundreds of people. Who needed a larger building and more services after the first month, and we think that’s going to be us. So we move forward in a cavalier way to be the next successful church plant, ignoring the reality that most of these stories of immediate growth have background stories that aren’t normal. Or they probably were closer to a church split than a church plant.
When I was talking to people about planting a church, over and over again I’d hear the phrase, “wait” or be “patient.” These were words that I chose to ignore due to the fact that my church plant would be “different.” I thought we’d just plant this church and people would start coming, serving, and giving. Afterall I’m a gifted dude! But then “week two” happened. After officially launching Sunday services, week two is when reality hits you as a church planter. The people that were there to support you for the grand opening are gone. Family members who came to support you are gone. And the rest of the people who were there are just busy week two. As a church planter it’s extremely difficult to deal with.
Once Sunday services launch you become a slave to pulling off the same experience every week. As the weeks went by I was reminded of how inadequate our leaders were and how unprepared we actually were to grow people beyond Sunday. As the weeks piled up I was also quickly hit with the reality that we had chosen the wrong location. I had fallen in love with a beautiful new building but ignored the reality that the location and neighborhood didn’t fit who we were as a church. It also seated 450 people, we didn’t have enough people to make that feel rightJ
Having recently come to the conclusion that I’m exhausted, I look back and see that a major mistake I made was not being patient with the process. I wish I could go back and train and develop leaders to be ready. I wish I could go back and pray over locations and really wait on God to make the right location clear for our church. I wish I could go back and recruit more people who were already Jesus followers that passionately wanted to pour into others. But most importantly I wish I could go back and get myself spiritually healthy before undertaking the most difficult task I’ve ever attempted in ministry.
If you’re reading this and your getting ready to plant a church, please be patient and take time to get yourself spiritually healthy. You’re going to need God more than ever! If you and He are broken, the church will be broken. If you and He are broken your marriage and family wont survive your church plant. But lastly if you and He aren’t healthy you wont make it. He’s the only One who can get you through those weeks that will cause you to doubt everything. He’s the only one that you are going to stand before at the end of time, and He’s the only one you are called to follow. Don’t run from patience, pursue patience! Don’t try to outrun God, allow Him to be your pace setter and run with Him. He wants your church plant to succeed more than you do!
By: Stephen Goble – Pastor of Limitless Church