Where There Is No Road At All: Adventures In Church Planting

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We began to hire staff.

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An Associate Pastor came on board…. But this time it was a sinful pressure that I was putting upon myself. I was actually beginning to believe that this church depended upon my preaching. I was an idiot. Church Planter. Appoint men to serve as elders in your church who are qualified to teach the glorious truths of gospel. And then let them pinch hit for you regularly.

Church Planting

To be sure, this is a real mind-shift and it requires lots of prayer and intentionality. I was wrong though. That is not the most difficult transition a church planter eventually has to make. You see, since people are people, and since sin is sin, and since spiritual warfare is real, sometimes you will be forced to have difficult conversations with the staff you are charged to lead.

Category: Church Planting

Or instead , will you refuse to allow an elephant to hijack the mission of Jesus? God has called you to lead that church that He has called you to plant. As a man of God you should be loving, and humble, and biblical, and helpful, but by all means be firm and clear. Go find another job where someone else deals with the elephants.


In Acts chapter 6 the apostles are faced with a huge dilemma. The church is growing by leaps and bounds and the twelve apostles are forced to change the way they have been operating up to this point. But now, with the church growing dramatically, they are forced to evolve. Someone else must be appointed to oversee and lead the other important tasks.

The same thing is true for you, Mr. You must evolve. In the early days of our plant, when we were a church of 38 people on a large Sunday sitting on an indoor Astroturf field in rows of cheap chairs in a local gym, I could pretty much do it all. Everyone had my cell number. I would counsel anyone even though I really stink at counseling. I did every wedding, I made every hospital visit, I wrote and sent out every all-church email, I attended and even led every membership class, I had coffee with every new visitor, I answered every email promptly, and I even vacuumed every square-inch of the Astroturf.

Today, Emmaus Church is a church of almost people with 3 Sunday services. If I gave out my cell number to everyone, counseled everyone, made every hospital visit, did every pastoral counseling session, did every wedding, wrote every all-church email, made an appearance at every training meeting, and had coffee with every new visitor to our church, then pretty soon somebody would be counseling me or visiting me in the hospital.

In every growing church, the Lead Pastor must eventually evolve. You cannot continue to operate the way you did when you first planted. If you do, the church will cease to be biblically faithful. My wife, Heather, is my best friend. We were High School sweethearts. Like I said, my wife is my best friend.

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My daughters are always there too. As I continue to journey down this road of pastoring a local church, one truth is becoming more and more clear to me. My wife and two daughters are in this thing for the long haul. They have sacrificed so much over the years as a church-planting family. And they have always done so with joy.

I want to care for them the way that I should. Take good care of your family, Pastor. They were the very first members of your church. Church Planter, be a faithful pastor to your family. Care for them. Sometimes it means getting away. Sometimes it means taking a week off, getting out of town, and leaving the Grudem books behind so you can reconnect on a heart-level with your family. Study them for a week. Or two. About two years ago, I suddenly developed a random head tic.

Our elders noticed it and told me to get out of town for a few days with my family so I could get some rest. I did that. And one night during this brief family getaway, while we were at a seafood restaurant having a nice meal, I passed out face down into my plate of fried grouper.

Renewal Church Mission:

It was terrifying. After numerous consults with different heart doctors and Neurologists, their diagnosis was that my cortisol levels were through the roof. I had run at such a crazy pace for such a long period of time that I was now having adrenaline issues.

click My father is a church planter, so I know how you guys are. You have to slow down. Not protecting my sabbath was my futile attempt to be more productive than my Heavenly Father. During this trying season of my life, one of the things that the Holy Spirit convicted me of big-time is how I had basically become a theological cessationist when it came to the biblical principle of Sabbath. You might not see it in the town you live in but trust us. God is up to something. So seeing each other takes work.

To make matters worse, it seems to be part of the Canadian personality to never see the amazing wonder of other Canadians. We have a national inferiority complex that is both kinda cute and kinda deadly all in the same breath. We need to celebrate what we see. We must insist that we hear from each other whenever we gather. We have something to offer the global church as well. The third step in our master plan is to commit ourselves to trying stuff.

Church Planting Q&A -

Some of it has occurred in some completely unintended and beautifully surprising ways. Step 1: Write it down. Step 2: Put it in the calendar. Where documents may fail calendars tend to succeed. Step 3: Ask someone to take responsibility. I see a lot of exciting things in the future for the church in Canada. I see a lot of exciting things for the future of New Leaf. As a network we are committed to telling the Canadian story. A mismatch negatively impacts the life of the church plant, and in the worst cases can rob the North American context of future church plants by permanently sidelining a pioneer planter.

This is a price the church in the West cannot afford to continue paying. Please ensure before you engage with pioneer church plants that your denominational culture can handle the pressure. Here are a couple of questions to help get started in some denominational self-examination:. This kind of cultural blindness creates a double standard. Immigrant churches under these conditions are free to be different. They are free to adjust how they do things in order to meet the needs of their people. Conversely, churches serving the needs of people born here are often not as free.

In denominations like these, there is often an unstated expectation that all churches that serve the needs of people born elsewhere should essentially look and operate in the same way. They support immigrant churches and the classic, white, come-to-our-soft-launch, evangelical, seeker-sensitive, wear-jeans-look-cool churches. The work of adjusting to our surroundings, and adjusting how we do things in order to meet the needs of the people around us is real work.