Chip Wheeler.com
Enjoy The Journey

My Day At The Big House

Today I had the opportunity to spend some time with the church planting department at the North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. My old church planting seminary professor and friend Dr. David Meacham is the head this department and invited me to share a testimony with his team about church planting from a current church planter. I will be honest – I really enjoyed myself. So many times church planters can get bitter toward “those in charge” because the planter make lack resources, feel unsupported, or just want to be mad at someone and they are an easy target. I’ve been that guy – several times. Church planting is tough work – it is not for the faint of heart. With eternity on the line the church planter makes the “big ask” continually – and gets turned down all the time. There has to be vision and there must be an assurance of God’s calling.

To all my church planting brethren: You need to know that these guys are behind you. I was overwhelmed that they were not only asking my opinion but asking for ways that they could help. They even took notes. I know I’m pretty insignificant in the scheme of things – but I really sensed that these guys want to do all that they can┬áto resource us. It’s also important to know that they don’t hold the cash box either (you’ll know what I mean if you’re a planter).

They asked me a question that had already been rolling around in my brain, but mediated on during my commute back: What would be 2-3 things you would tell a planter just starting out. Here’s what I said (and if given the opportunity again – I would add one more):

1) Spend the money: you may not think that you’ll have enough money to make payroll, pay rent, or make copies – but if you do not invest the resources in getting the gospel to the people you cannot reap the benefit of what that might bring. You’re investing in the kingdom – you’re investing in people. I’ve seen God – time and time again – provide. Spend the money (wisely).

2) Get a coach: I believe that coaching and networking with other planters is more important than the finances. Coaching has kept me out of a lot of trouble and kept me pointed in the right direction.

3) Be willing to fail (this is the one I’d say if I had the chance to say it again) – if God has called you to the work and it ends up with you closing the doors then guess what: you can be congratulated for your obedience. I once asked a planter if He felt so called to His plant that He was willing to fail doing it – he thought I was crazy. But this is the kind of lunatic that can change the world – those who will put it all on the line day in and day out for the glory of God.

I appreciate the guys at NAMB and all that they are doing. Yes they need to tweak some things and yes there needs to be more communication and financial resources – but the guys I met with today are in the trenches with us – I pray that God would bring them fruitful ministry.

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