Church planting is very rewarding but certainly has its challenges. My wife and I have been on this journey several years and have definitely experienced our share of highs and lows. We are learning that where we focus really matters to sustain us through every season of church planting. No matter where you find yourself, here are six ways to keep your focus where it should be and keep building the church God has called you to build.
1. Focus on “get to” vs “have to.”
Start out every day with time to remember the blessings you have instead of what you don’t have. Count your blessings. Literally list them each day in a journal. Find simple ways to remember the privilege of what you get to do to help sustain you during difficult seasons. You get to prepare a message, build God’s church, love people, reach a community, make an eternal difference, etc. It is more than tasks to complete on a to-do list. You are advancing God’s kingdom on earth.
2. Focus on the opportunities in the challenges.
There are a lot of challenges in starting a church. It is easy to get focused on the challenges before you and miss the opportunities within them. Look for the opportunities in the obstacles. The world doesn’t need more problem finders. We need solution seekers. Surround yourself with people who are solution oriented and a “can do” spirit. Worship your way through the challenges and watch how God opens doors of opportunity.
3. Focus on those still with you and not those who left you.
It has been said that those who start with you often won’t finish with you. It’s easy to focus on those who have hurt you, betrayed you, or left you. Make a choice instead to rejoice over who is with you and love those right in front of you. You can’t build on what’s lost but you can continue to build on what’s left. Open your eyes and see the gifts and potential of those in front of you right now.
4. Focus on the ONE.
It is easy to start focusing on numbers and if you aren’t careful you can use people instead of loving people. Remember the shepherd who left the ninety-nine to find the one in Luke Chapter 15? No matter what growth barrier you are trying to break right now remember it’s not about a barrier. It’s about people. It’s about the one who is lost that needs to be found.
5. Focus on the journey not the destination.
It is easy to get focused on “when and then” thinking. When we get a building, reach X amount of people, add more staff, and more. We get so focused on “when and then” that we miss the here and now. We miss the gift of this moment and this season of ministry. Embrace it. Enjoy it. Stop and laugh. Celebrate wins. Don’t take your self too serious.
6. Focus on faith instead of fear.
When you feel fear, choose faith. Record God’s faithfulness in a journal. Review it when you need to be reminded how He came through in the past. Plant the church. Sow seed each day. Trust God with the harvest. Choose faith and keep moving forward.