- You’re nobody (isn’t this encouraging!?)
When you start planting, you are a nobody. You’re unknown and you’re unproven. Nobody wants to join your church except for people who love startups. Don’t expect people to rally to your ministry because you don’t have one! I remember sitting in a gathering of church leaders and feeling like a total fraud. I decided that being a nobody meant I had nothing to lose! When you have nothing to lose, it’s easier to give it everything you’ve got!
- Network everywhere
Everyone is a potential church member. I cannot count the amount of times I have said “Soooooo, you want to move to Manchester?”. It’s also hard to remember how many people just smiled politely and changed the subject! But you have to keep to talking, meeting and tweeting. Eventually, someone will get it and join you.
You may be reading this and shouting, “Duh” at you screen but this one took me a while to work out, and I have to regularly remind myself. So, because I am forgetful I keep my praying simple – I pray for the next five people and the next 100 people. There’s over 100 of us now, but I still pray the same prayer.
- You need a mentor who has planted churches
Get one. Argue with them. Reluctantly agree to do things their way. Be surprised when this works out. Repeat forever.
You don’t go church planting because you want to make money, or because it looks like a viable career choice, you plant because you are passionate about Jesus and his church. However, food and rent cost money. If you can find a way to get money flowing that isn’t related to the church, this takes off some unneeded pressure. Live simply, give generously and don’t mortgage your future off so you have money now.
- Your family has to believe in you
My family moved cities. My wife gave up a good job, a good church and great community of friends. When we moved, we had a toddler and a newborn baby so the lack of community for us was a big big deal. However, Vicki was sold out on what we were doing. I am not saying it wasn’t rough (it was), but we knew it was the right thing.
If you compare yourself to others who appear to be doing better than you, then you’ll only get depressed! Church plants succeed for a number of reasons. If the right leader is in the right place at the right time with the right core team then it can explode, but that’s rare. You are who you are. Your gifting is what it is, your location is where you are and the people you have are those that God has given you. Ignore everything else and thank God for the opportunity.