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Archive for the ‘Church Planting’ Category

Coaching and Accountability

Thu ,24/01/2008

This weekend I spent two days with 13 other ministers for a doctoral course called mid-career assessment. The purpose of this course was to assess our career and spend time dealing with different issues in each of our ministries. We were blessed to have a pastor who had served in a variety of ministry positions for over 55 years as one of our professors. His experience, encouragement and knowledge was  invaluable to all of us. We also spent time sharing with each other the different burdens that we were dealing with in the context of ministry and family. I left this time feeling refreshed and not alone.

 To put the icing on the cake, today I spent the entire day fasting and praying with different pastors from around the area. There were small churches, big churches, new churches, old churches, white churches, and African-american churches. It was a great time of praying and encouragement. We truly need more times like these. I think of the great councils of Nicea and others where all the bishops would come together and hammer out doctrine and determine what was true and what is not. The church, and the local churches, valued theological development and made it a priority to deal with truth. What if we could do that today? What if we could take time to do that? Imagine the unity and possibilities.

Finally, I meet with different church planters, and specifically one good friend and planter, several times throughout the course of the month. These times are spent in accountability, advice and encouragement.

 I write all this to say that these times are invaluable to anyone, but specifically in the context of church planting they can determine if the church is successful or not. Anyone who sets out to plant a church needs coaching, and all of us need accountability. Make it a point to find both – not just in planting a church, but in life as well.

Right Reasons

Tue ,15/01/2008

Church planting in many respects has become somewhat of a fad. Many people have jumped ship in the more established churches to become the next Andy Stanley or Rick Warren. Dreams of grandeur and packed auditoriums filled with the aroma of coffee dance in the minds of many seminary graduates and others called into ministry.

 I’ll never forget the first time the notion of planting a church came to me and my wife – we laughed. There as no way in the world we were going to start a church. Then God began to work in our lives and through a very strenuous and time consuming process – we felt as if God was calling us to start a church. I feel like we had “right reasons” for doing this.

Ashamedly I have dreamed of huge auditoriums, packed small groups and coffee house like worship centers – but the reality of the church being God’s church haunts me at times. Peter was told “upon this rock I will build my church” – meaning upon his confession of Christ the church would be built. The commonality of those old, tradtional, non-relevant churches with the new church must be nourished, respected and honored – because it is Christ who brings it all about any way.

 I say all this to make this one point: Don’t plant a church unless you know for certain that God is leading you. You will stretched, pulled, humbled, broke, defeated, and overwhelmed when planting a church. The journey of starting God’s church is a roller coaster of emotions from Sunday to Sunday – extreme highs one minute and desperate lows the next.

But for those who are called – you must be willing to fail. The only way we can be willing to fail while working so hard to succeed in starting a church is holding onto the perspective of Paul and so many others “Rejoice in the Lord.” Realize that success and value cannot be dictated by attendance, denominational accolades or how many people tell you how well you speak – but it must rest in Christ.

 I recommend Kent and Barbara Hughes book “Liberating Ministry From The Success Syndrome.” A must read for all of us struggle for relevance.