Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Why I am a church planter

A Facebook friend sent me a message today wanting to know about the risks of church planting; funding, resourcing, who will get behind the vision, etc.

I sent back my response and thought it would maka a good blog post. To any of my church planting brethren who are questioning God and struggling, I hope this helps!

When I shared the vision God had given me for planting an inner-city church among the poor and marginalized with the senior pastor of the church my wife and I had been members of, he basically told me I was nuts (not in those exact words but the sentiment was there) and refused to get behind us, beyond praying for us that is. he said my vision was "too big and too ambitious" and would take funding and resourcing beyond what he was able to justify.He basically felt I'd be better off staying with them and discovering my SHAPE for ministry.

I went home that day, numb and dejected, and prayed all night. I could not sleep. Then something got into me (some people call it Holy Spirit unction) as I wrote a four paged letter to that pastor, telling him why I had to pursue the vision God has given me. Why? because ultimately it will come down to me being faithful and obedient to God, who had entrusted me with this vision...not that senior pastor, but me!

So, by faith, I obeyed and went to the place God had shown me...and I haven't looked back.

Brother church planter, if God has given you vision, then you must go! regardless of who agrees with you or gets behind you. It will be hard work. There will be sacrifices. You will even feel like giving up (many times). But when you know that God has given you a burden and vision, then also know that He will follow your faithful obedience with His provision. Watch and see the things God will do; things that will go way beyond anything you could ask for or imagine (Eph. 3:20). That's a verse for guys with "big, ambitious dreams."

At least once a week I get frustrated and want to give up, but I know, at the core of my being, that God has spoken to me...and that this is one hill I will die on!

What keeps it real for me, brother church planter, is the fact that the vision and mission belong to God, not me. He is merely entrusting me with it. What will I do with it? Will I invest it and gain interest, or bury it in the sand until He returns. What separates church planters from senior pastors,aside from the calling and gifting of God that is? They are willing to take huge risks for Jesus and His mission, even at the expense of being laughed at and called a fool by those whom he thought would receive the vision and rejoice with him.

At the end of this earthly existence I long to hear my Father say, "well done, good and faithful servant..."