I occasionally have the opportunity to meet with people who are just starting out on their church planting journey. It is always exciting to see them take this step of faith. The potential for lives to be changed and a community transformed is amazing! Having started a church, I’ve had the privilege to see the good, bad, and ugly of it all. I wouldn’t trade it for anything!
The number one question I’m asked is “what would you tell a young church planter who is just starting out?” Here are three things I would tell every young church planter:
1. Enjoy the journey.
The destination is a mirage. Learn to enjoy the journey. No matter where you are in the process fully embrace it. The church planting journey should be enjoyed, not endured. Keep a gratitude journal and regularly write down the praises and where God has been faithful. You will need it for the rough days and it keeps your heart open to what God is doing in every season.
Proverbs 17:22 says,
A happy heart is good medicine and a cheerful mind works healing, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.
Don’t take yourself too seriously. When is the last time you had a really good laugh? There were seasons we didn’t laugh enough. Stop being so serious and learn to laugh again.
2. Expect the impossible.
William Carey said, “Expect great things from God. Attempt great things for God.” Expectation is the breeding ground for miracles! Live with the mentality that anything can happen and it probably will. Cling to Ephesians 3:20:
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.
It’s His power you need and it’s His power at work within you. Dream big. Start small. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Take the small steps but keep declaring the big dream.
3. Embrace the mess.
Every ministry plan you have looks great until people get involved. People are messy. Proverbs 14:4 says,
Without oxen a stable stays clean, but you need a strong ox for a large harvest.
Never forget people are the ministry! It’s not about your vision, your plans, and your core values. It’s ultimately not about you and your church. It’s all about people and lifting up the name of Jesus in everything you do. Jesus said his mission was to seek and save those who are lost (Luke 19:10). His mission is our mission and it will be messy. The goal isn’t a perfect church. It’s imperfect people worshiping the perfect Savior.