Church planting was probably the hardest thing I ever did. Doing it as a nondenominational church plant was a million times more difficult. When you live in denominational country, you are on an island almost alone. Do I believe I did the right thing? Yes! Almost 20 months in, here are the lessons I learned:
- I needed people in place before I did it. I had this crazy faith that it would just come together. Please understand that I had a great core group, but I needed organization and people in key roles before we ever did anything. I had people from day one who set up and took down everything. I didn’t have support staff which would have been a huge asset, especially those whose strengths were my weaknesses.
- The people who were my biggest encouragers to plant never came. They told me years before that they would be there if I started. (I guess they were there in spirit lol.) I predicted that one though.
- Some people who came had good intentions, but it takes a high level of commitment to ride the waves of church planting. They can be pretty tumultuous while at other times they don’t move.
- There will be those who think they can do it better than you can (and they might be right). I was always hearing what I should do, didn’t do, etc. Everyone had their own formula that they thought I had to try in order to succeed. What works for one doesn’t always work for another. God was starting a unique thing, and He revealed to me that I was not the one to see it to fruition.
- It takes tons of time and energy, so you better make sure you have it. I had to admit I did not.
- It’s okay if you’re the one who only begins the foundation. I look forward to being an outsider who sees God His thing. Paul stated that he planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. I didn’t get to experience the increase or water what was sown, but I did get to see people come alive and long for a different kind of church – a church that more closely reflected the book of Acts.
Would I do it again? Absolutely! With churches closing left and right, there is a need for healthy new churches. Could another plant be in my future (with lessons learned and a clear call from God)? Maybe. I am at His disposal.
I want to close by giving a shout-out to my core group who stuck with me. They are awesome! I also want to say thank you to those who might be reading who have been involved in such an undertaking. Your labor in the Lord is not wasted. Eternity will reveal the fruit of your obedience. Stay the course! Only step away if you heard a clear word from the Lord.