More Lessons Learned... Some the Hard Way!
- FOUNDER'S SYNDROME IS REAL! Many of your core team members will leave you in the first year. I heard other church planters say this, but I didn’t believe it. People who are attracted to a church plant are often "starters" who move on to other things. Some moved out of town, others lost the vision, and some never got it in the first place. It's hard to stomach...but it doesn't catch God off guard. He will provide. Love the people that come into your church plant, but hold them loosely!
- FOCUS ON BUILDING BIG PEOPLE...NOT A BIG CHURCH!
It really is "all about relationships". Cherish them, nurture them. Invest in quality relationships and encourage the people around you to walk with Christ.
- ASK LOTS OF QUESTIONS/NEVER STOP LEARNING! Recent church planters are your best resource. Listen to their story, learn from their mistakes. Network, inquire, read, process and discuss!
- YOU CANNOT OVERCOMMUNICATE THE VISION. You have to tell your story, then tell it again, then again, etc... Develop a courageous confidence in the vision that God has given you and be ready to share it, defend it, explain it with clarity and conviction. When members of your core group begin to repeat your language...they're just starting to get it.
- SPEND MORE TIME READING THE BIBLE THAN OTHER BOOKS. I heard this one from a number of planters and boy is it true. Books on church leadership, strategy and planting are fine, but the best church practices, strategies and leadership ideas can be found within the pages of the Bible.
- CELEBRATE EVERY (and I mean EVERY) VICTORY! When our initial Bible study moved from one table to two...We threw a party. When an unexpected check came in the mail...we threw a party. Make a big deal out of each and every milestone. It will encourage your people to develop an expectant mindset. Early on, members of our core group often said, "I couldn't wait to get back together because I wanted to hear what God had done, share what God had done, and celebrate with my Faith Family all that God had done".
- PRAY, PRAY, PRAY!!! Establish early that you cannot do anything without God. Recognize that ministry without prayer is simply a work of the flesh. Become a person of prayer, lead your people to pray, establish a culture of prayer. (more about prayer and church planting coming soon - I am currently working on a D.Min project on that very subject)