God the great and powerful (and warm and wonderful)
Thu Dec 05, 2013
by Marsha Michaelis
The top 5 posts of November
Wed Dec 04, 2013
5 reasons to open your blinds
Tue Dec 03, 2013
by Andrew Lisi
6 simple ways to write better blog posts
Mon Dec 02, 2013
by Mark Driscoll
Joy in service
Sat Nov 30, 2013
by Andrew Weiseth
10 Things to Know about Planting a Church in the Urban Context
Here’s a few things I’ve learned in my church planting journey:
1. You’re a Limited Leader. (Exodus 18:18)
People will want you to be the omni-gifted leader, and you’ll be tempted to believe it. It’s important to know who you are and who you are not.
The only thing worse than the people wanting their pastor to be omni-gifted is the pastor who believes he is.
This will quickly drain you of the joy of shepherding people. Embrace your limits and work your strengths.
2. Process Your Hurt. (1 Peter 5:7)
Pastors aren’t exempt from hurt and many have “daddy issues” that haven’t been addressed, and oftentimes the pulpit is the “See, I made it!” platform to address the hurt caused by an absentee father or an overly aggressive mother.
Whatever the case, it’s vital that you realize that you need God’s grace and much counsel. Get help and embrace your frailty and dependence upon the King. If you don’t, you will look for the church to heal these wounds, only to find out that the help is not there and these wounds will only be highlighted in your church plant. Seeking counsel isn’t a sign of weakness, but in fact, is a display of humble strength.
3. You Are Not Planting the Church—Your Family Is Planting the Church. (Ephesians 6)
It’s vital that you don’t make the plant your baby. Your plant could fail, and God may very well use that to bring you closer to him.
I’m sure you believe you’re the exception and that’s fine, I want your church plant to thrive, but the reality is that’s not always the case. Church planting is ugly, brutal and tiring, but it has the greatest rewards. If the church is everything, you’ll neglect your family, and they don’t deserve that. Plan for your family before planning everything for the church. Don’t fail your family and involve your wife in crucial decisions throughout the growth and pains of your plant. Your family is planting with you.
4. You’ll Experience Internal and External Prejudice. (Galatians 2:11–21)
Many people of your own race won’t understand the theological stances, and those outside your race will assume you’re rare because of the lack of exposure to gospel-centered, biblically orthodox African-American pastors, in my case. It comes with the territory, so stay faithful to the word and don’t build identity around this—if you do, you’ll see yourself as a savior to the context as opposed to be called to the context.
5. Go After Men. (1 Timothy 6:11–16)
Men are an apologetic within themselves in the context because this is literally the most fatherless generation ever. It is vital that you speak to men, encourage men, and give men a platform to use their gifts for the King. Nurture the men of your circle and train them to go after other men. Men will bring families to your church, and I love my sisters, but it’s vital that we don’t exploit women by having them do everything at the ministry. Get men—and get as many as you can.
6. Get a Spiritual Father. (1 Timothy 1:2, Philippians 2:22)
Some see this as charismatic, but the bottom line is it’s biblical. Get strong men who can speak into your life, men you would follow and submit to, and give them access to the person only your wife and children know. Let these men speak into your life about your family, finances, church, sex life, and hurt. This will pay huge dividends in your life and the life of your church.
7. Date Your Wife. (Ephesians 5)
It’s easy to replace your wife with the church. Allow her to be honest with you about how she’s feeling and be intentional about dating her, loving her, listening to her, and romancing her.
Don’t take her for granted—she’s worth more than that and deserves your best. Don’t give the church your all and give her your leftovers. As you’re casting vision for your plant, be sure to cast vision for how you will continue to intentionally show and tell your wife how much you love her.
8. Establish Unity with Your Core Team. (Philippians 1:27–28)
Have a clear sense of your philosophy of ministry and communicate it well with your core team. You want to be unified on three major fronts: theologically, relationally, and philosophically. Define your theological open- and closed-handed issues, examine how you relate with the leaders on your team, and ask explicitly if they embrace your philosophy of ministry. This will ensure unity and a healthy board and longevity for your plant.
9. People Will Leave. (John 6:58–66)
In John 6 many walked away from Jesus after hearing hard truth. Many will leave you, too.
Don’t trip, but listen to what those who are leaving are saying, and don’t dismiss them all because you’re hurt that they are leaving. Some of them will have vital points and people leaving is a necessary thorn in the flesh (2 Corinthians 12:7–10) of a church planter to keep you on your knees.
When people leave, it will hurt and that’s OK. Don’t pretend that you’re not hurt, but don’t let those who leave define you either. Some will talk to you on their way out, many will just shoot an email, or others just leave and you find out on Facebook that they’re at a new church.
Although you may not want to confront them, you should have streams for growth and exits. Conduct exit interviews for people on their way out: you may find some holes in your leadership team that need to be addressed. Lastly, it’s rare that people are honest with you about why they leave, but allow this to keep you reminded that Christ will build his church.
10. Fundraise for Longevity. (Philippians 4:15–20)
Secure your salary and healthcare and another guy to be on staff on the front-end. If you plan on being bivocational for the life of your plant, then you can have some leeway with this, but you want secure as much money as possible prior to launching because this is a burden that you don’t need on top of everything else needed for your plant.
In all of this, love Jesus and his gospel. Your identity isn’t in the success or failure of your plant; it’s in him, and as simple as it may sound, you’ll be prone to forget that.
Remember this, too: you weren’t chosen because you’re special, but you’re special because he chose you (John 15:16).
The truth is, you don’t have what it takes for what you’re about to embark on and if your joy is in the plant and not Christ, this will become evident quickly and you’ll burnout and quit or abuse your people and make the plant about you.
Christ loves you and you’re his son. He didn’t die for you to be a great church planter; he died for you to be his son, and that’s more than enough. I’m praying for you and wish you much godly success.