When we started our church planting adventure, I didn’t quite realise how much it would reveal my flaws and failings!
Church leaders are supposed to be steady, unflappable, and completely secure. Right? Well, not in my case!
You can believe that God is sovereign (which I do) and that Jesus builds his church (which he does), but when another person decides your church plant isn’t quite for them, it can feel like a hammer blow to your confidence.
In the first few years, the church planter is the face of the church. Our family was the first point of contact with CCM:City that most people had. So, meeting up with people who might join us would quickly become an assessment of me! To start with, I didn’t quite realise what was happening, but after a while, I twigged that most people weren’t interested in our theology, vision or the quality of our meetings. They were assessing whether, in their eyes, I was a credible church leader, and did they actually “like” me.
When people didn’t join our church plant, it wasn’t because of our theology or our vision, it was because of me. Simple.
That realisation was not comforting, but was oddly helpful. It was helpful because I got off my high horse.
All church planters have a high horse. Whether it’s theological – this area needs Gospel Preaching churches (I still have no idea what that means), vision – my city needs saving, or personal – my church plant is the best.
I sat on a few of those horses and it did me no good at all. Getting off my high horse was an internal process where I decided that people were more important than me or my dreams. That sounds quite dramatic, but what I really mean is that I relaxed a little bit. It became easier to understand when people didn’t join (even if those early years where a little painful!) and fun when they did.