Wednesday, August 12, 2009

PREPARE TO PLANT: everything I wish I knew about church planting, before I started to plant

I'm in the process of writing a manuscript for a book about church planting.

I know what you're thinking, church planting friends and friends of church planting, "Do we really need another book about church planting when there is already a plethora of books covering every facet of church planting known to man?"

As I began to search Christian Book Distributors, and a host of other book distributors, I could not find any books covering the subject I have decided to write about. There are plenty of books that touch on this subject, but none that deal specifically with what I believe to be a critical point for church planters and potential church planters to grasp before they enter their mission field. I even sent a facebook message to my FB and church planting friend, Ed Stetzer, who is, perhaps, the leading authority on church planting in all of North America. I figured if anyone would know of resources pertaining to my subject of choice, he would.

His response to me?" David, I don't know of any resources like that."

So what is the subject I would like to write about? Here it is...drum roll please!

the church planter first being planted by God, in the community God has sent Him to, before he plants the church God has sent him to plant.

This subject was born out of nearly four years of experience of planting the church God has sent me to to plant. Having never planted a church before this, I came to Troy, NY with big dreams and expectations, only to be crushed and bruised, battered and scattered. I have experienced every feeling and emotion known to man, and a few I never knew existed. My marriage and family life have suffered some heavy blows from the enemy. The spiritual warfare we have endured was so intense that I literally gave up and was about to walk away. Then God began to speak to me at a level I had never experienced in my 46 years of life.

"Satan has asked permission to sift you like wheat, and he has, but you have endured. Now you are ready to plant My church...the one I sent you to plant, not the one you wanted to plant."

The purpose of this book will be, not merely to lay a Biblical framework for the call to church planting, (there are plenty of great books already available on that subject), but to bear witness to the experience a church planter can expect to encounter on his/her mission field. There are things I just did not know, even though I've been through seminary and had taken church planting classes, and had attended countless conferences on church planting, church growth, evangelism, etc.

The greater purpose for this book is to, perhaps, save church planters, present and future, the agony I have endured, by sharing what God has shown me through my own experience.Church planting is a process; with God, first, preparing the planter, from the inside out, before any of the usual work known to most church planters begins. When I arrived in Troy I hit the ground running, as I began putting into practice (or at least attempting to) all of the stuff I had read in the textbooks and on the blogs of other church planters. After nearly four years I have learned so much about what to do and what not to do. And I would like, by the grace and calling of God, to share this story with the church planting community in general, and more specifically, with freshman church planters; those who are newbies, who have never planted a church before but stepped out in faith, believing that God has spoken to them and sent them.

There are many church planters who have experienced similar circumstances and have given up (I have met some of you...I was almost one of you). There are others who are currently going through what I've gone through (I feel your pain and frustration). And there are still more who are about to step out in faith, for the first time, who do not know what they are in for. This book is for you.

I don't yet have a publisher or even a book deal, but I am stepping out in faith and writing the book anyway, so that those I am writing to and for can learn from my experience, and I know there are many out there who can identify with what I am about to share on paper.

I would like to hear from some of you. Share your own experience here or send me and e-mail, FB note or an old fashioned letter (snail mail)