The church I’m on staff with has a ministry called, “Passion 4 Planting.” It happened years ago as our church was trying to learn how to plant churches and campuses. As those learnings developed, our team began putting that into a process. The end result was Passion 4 Planting and also the beginnings of the Exponential Conference. I will share more at the end of this post about what P4P offers, but for now I want to share something more recent.
In mid-October, our team hosted our church planter assessment. This is a nearly three day, intensive process where a team of 13 people come alongside a potential church planter and his spouse to try and help them determine if planting is the direction God is calling them. It’s an exhausting process both mentally, emotionally and spiritually. While the process is exhausting for all involved, it is one of the most rewarding things I have ever been a part of.
Here are a few takeaways from our most recent assessment.
Pastors Get Hurt
This might come as a surprise to you, but pastors are people. Yep, complete with emotions, feelings, passions and desires. They have families they are trying to raise and lead. Children they are trying to teach to love Jesus as much as they do. They have to pay bills and deal with health concerns. Their cars break down and their personalities clash with other people at times. It’s crazy, I know, but they are people too.
It was sad on one hand to hear some stories of hurt and pain caused by the very people they were called to serve. No one is perfect and it’s nearly impossible to boil all the potential scenarios down into one blog post. So without trying to over simplify a very complex topic in this post, I’ll simply say it’s sad. Sad to see people hurt at all by the church. Really sad to see pastors nearly going down.
Let this serve as a kind reminder to pray for pastors. Those on the frontlines of the spiritual war happening in our world.
Pastors Are Strong
I was encouraged by many things during the assessment process, but one thing was that pastors are strong. From those who were hurt by the church to those out in the messiness of the world taking on crazy risks to advance God’s Kingdom. I’m proud of pastors and their families who give up everything to pursue this call.
There’s nothing weak about what they do. The mental, spiritual and emotional weights they carry are enormous. Not only their own, but as they walk with others along the way. Many might view pastors as quiet, weak people who only work one day a week, but I see something different. Thanks for being strong and doing what you do, pastors.
God’s Kingdom is Diverse
While the Kingdom of God is incredibly diverse from an ethnic perspective, in this regard I’m referring to gifts and talents. There were only three couples in the assessment process this time around but still within those six people you could see the diversity among people that God uses for His Kingdom.
Each person represented a different personality type and strengths to offer. From strong and driven visionaries, to hospitable, empathetic servants. Some were mild-mannered while others brought the party everywhere they went. Yet, despite their differences, each person brought one unifying passion to the table; the desire to reach people for Christ.
No matter who you are, what your personality type or the gifts/talents that you bring to the table, when surrendered to God He is going to use you for His glory. There are no wasted people in the Kingdom. No wasted talents. No overlooked people. This is one of the great reasons why I love the church so much. God’s amazing tapestry of diversity all on mission for the Kingdom.
God is still at work
From what I heard and saw, God is still advancing. There’s no doubt that churches have made mistakes, religious leaders have hurt people and that Christians have slowed down the cause. Brokenness is prevalent in the people of God just like in those outside the church. But that’s not the complete picture. God is absolutely at work.
He is at work in people who are ministering to the least of these. He is at work in people dreaming new dreams of what could be. He is beginning new movements of people who are making disciples that will make more disciples. God is working in those dreaming of beginning new things in difficult soil. He is working in those dreaming of creative new expressions of church. God has always been a God who works upstream and I’m so excited to be alive at such a time as this.
If you are interested in planting a church, I think it’s a great step for you to begin with P4P. Head to their website and take a look at the amazing free resources available. Other opportunities through P4P include: