Momentum. The big Mo.
We did what the books said. We made some stuff up ourselves. We even prayed.
6 months in and we had all the momentum of custard going up a hill.
It was at this moment I suddenly became aware of the other church planters I knew who were succeeding. At this point, it felt like they were all succeeding. To be fair, if they were in double figures for attendees then they looked like megachurch leaders to me.
It’s a strange feeling when the thing that I’d dreamed about for years was now the thing that was taunting me! It sounds dramatic, but I began to dread talking about the church plant and even thinking about it. We would sometimes talk strategy and I would internally shrug my shoulders because nothing seemed to make any difference. Sunday evenings in that vodka bar was becoming a bit of a kick in the teeth.
At this time, I made the biggest mistake I’d ever make. I started to compare myself to others. Suddenly I was less gifted, less popular, less articulate, and even less blessed than every other church planter. I can remember sitting in a pastors conference with 700 other leaders and feeling like the biggest fraud in the room. Now, I am a good Christian boy, so I know that I cannot earn my salvation or the Father’s love, but sometimes I wondered if he just didn’t like me very much.
I know that sounds ridiculous, and that you have never felt that way, but there were some very dry moments in those first few years when I felt like a total imbecile and nobody was listening. The first 6 months in particular were very difficult.
If you are planting a church and you are reading this let me make a few suggestions –
- Comparing yourself to other leaders and planters is a fool’s errand. You will only frustrate yourself. The guy in the other town who’s church got to 400 in 40 minutes is as bewildered as you by how he got there. Enjoy your journey.
- Find a coach.Do it quick. Listen to what they say and admit you don’t know very much at all. The penny dropped for me when I decided that I had to be teachable.
- Momentum will come.It may be a few new people, a prophetic word, a healing, a salvation or whatever. Work hard and trust God.
- God does like you!In all my sleepless nights, control freakery, sin, anger and disappointment, God still thinks I am a dude. So we get up each day and work hard for our friend.