Year #1 of Church Planting (What I Have Learned)

Almost exactly a year ago, I started the adventure of planting a church. I had no money, no supporting church, and a couple of families who were interested. I have always served established churches and this time stepped out into a world I have never experienced. I have learned a lot along the way, but I have so much more to learn.

  1. I have learned that I know hardly anything about church planting even after 1 year. Call me hardheaded, but I know what God has laid out and believe He will honor it. I cannot conform to what “experts” say about it and follow a formula that is supposed to manufacture a move of God. I’m flexible enough to engage in new methods yet old school enough to want a real move of the Holy Spirit.
  2. I cannot do it alone. Thankfully, I have a few other families who are invested in this and have stuck with me although we are off to a slower start than I would like.
  3. Starting a church while having another job is extremely difficult. Many years of my ministry were devoted solely to a church that paid me a full-time salary. I still feel like I’m feeling my way through the dark, now trying to be Dad to a blended family, pastor a church, work my regular job, and try not to burn at both ends.
  4. I have to take time for personal growth and rest. A guy in ministry with whom I recently connected on social media mentioned something about me taking a Sunday and going around with him to a few churches and picking his brain all weekend. Honestly, people who speak the language of ministry need others who speak the same language. All I could think was that I have not taken a Sunday away since we started. Will it fall apart if I do? No! The truth is that things can go well or even better without me, but God has called me to this and I will stick with it until He removes the call and desire from my life.
  5. I cannot jump ahead of God. There are several things I have tried to make happen in this last year. Honestly, we do not often learn what is not the will of God until we test it first. God closes the door, so we keep moving.
  6. I cannot lag behind God. I must admit that while I have been bold at times, there are other moments when I have been extremely afraid. What if I fail? What will others say? What if I make the wrong move? I cannot operate in fear. God does not give us the spirit of fear (2 Timothy 1:7).
  7. While I am supposed to give my best effort and reach out, it is ultimately the work of God’s Spirit that draws people. I have invited several people over the course of the last year. Others in our core group have also. Some attend while many do not. Should that stop us? No!!! We have to accept that God has a different place for some and is going to have to work longer on others. We could have awesome preaching, rocking music, attractive singles to draw other singles, but all of that can be vain if God is not in it.
  8. I must be patient and lay more foundational groundwork. I have been told that no one will attend if the music isn’t great, we don’t have the best of children and youth programs, etc. We are crawling before we walk. While I want us to be in the toddler phase, we are still in the infancy stage. Those who have a heart to be a part of a move of God Like this will also be patient enough until God provides the people and financial resources to make this happen.

Do I still believe that God will do what He laid out before us? Yes! Am I still committed to this! Absolutely! Do we need more time to lay the right foundation? Yes! Would you join us in praying that the Lord of the harvest will send laborers into this field because missions begins at home?

God spoke to me through this song tonight as I was watching a message online. Let it sink deep into your spirit.

Verse 1

We have sought the truth when we’ve felt the pain

Even wandered beyond our faith in the name

We cannot pretend we are always ok

We cannot depend on fast food grace

[Chorus]

Help me let You go

Help me give up control

Of the god I’ve made you

When my fear has contained you

Help me let You go

Help me give up control

Of the god I’ve made you

When my fear has contained you

[Verse 2]

When the way is unclear and the answers illusive

He is different by far than our broken conclusions

You are not the god my pain has conceived

You are deeper and stronger than my eyes can see

Help me let You go

Help me give up control

Of the god I’ve made you

When my fear has contained you

Help me let You go

Help me give up control

Of the god I’ve made you

When my fear has contained you

You are with us now

You have always been

When we’re found without

You’re found within

You are with us now

You have always been

When we’re found without

You are found within

Help me let You go

Help me give up control

Of the god I’ve made you

When my fear has contained you

Help me let You go

Help me give up control

Of the god I’ve made you

When my fear has contained you

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13 thoughts on “Year #1 of Church Planting (What I Have Learned)

Add yours

  1. Hang in there! I just know God has amazing things in store for you and your church! We are part of a church plant and what you have written here really resonates with me! You are so on target! Praying for an amazing 2018 for you and your church!

  2. I love the words of that song. We don’t want to run ahead of God but we don’t want our fears to limit God’s power. When I am in a quandary on what to do, I remember the words of King Jehoshaphat when he was praying. He said, “We don’t know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” 2 Chronicles 20:12 I pray that prayer, and somehow God does let me know what to do.

  3. Sweet post, Matthew. I’m proud of you, I think you’re very brave. Seriously, pat yourself on the back for stepping out in faith. That’s not so easy. I’ll keep lifting you guys up in prayer, asking for people and resources,relationships and connections to come your way, doors to open. I love to watch a church grow and flourish.

  4. Hi Matthew. My dad stepped out and did the same. It’s not easy. May the Holy Spirit be your guide. The true flow of the Holy Spirit is greatly lacking in the church of today. May the Holy Spirit be your guide and give you the wisdom and grace you need. Be blessed.

  5. What my husband and I learned from taking over a church which split twice due to one women’s insecurity and power-wanting, (there’s always one) is that God strengthens and adds wisdom through trials.

    We absolutely love our church which has embraced us (except for that poor lady who needs our prayers) and by striving to preach from His Word and extending friendship, we have grown from 25 to over 60.

    This country is starved for God’s Word and it has been living on dessert instead of meat far too long! A washed down gospel tickling a person’s ears keeps them ignorant. Truthful but kind Exhortation with practical application from the Bible pleases God and is what many are searching for nowadays. Not programs and rock lyrics. I’ve read so many of your posts and I’m sure your preaching is the same: full of Truth and Wisdom as well as inspiration. God is well pleased. Wait on HIm and He will direct your paths. Proverbs 3:5,6

    If you feel led, there are several churches in our area who are searching for a good pastor but you’d need infinite patience, 🙂 I know you will bloom where you are planted wherever that is! Keep up the good work for the Lord!!!

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