It has been a year since my family and I resumed our journey with The Lord in planting a new church. We’ve had tremendous victories and unexpected setbacks, but Jesus has guided us all the way. While there is still much to learn, I wanted to go ahead and write out my lessons learned thus far in the journey in hopes you will be uplifted by them.
The Power of Stepping Back
We needed time to heal and regroup after several years of ministry busyness, but the vision for a church in downtown Jackson never left us. We spent 2 years in a detour that took us to a place where we could rest, heal, and realize the blessings God had given us in spite of the struggles. Serving under Pastor Harold Jaco helped me see the kind of leader and minister of the gospel God wanted me to be, because he demonstrated it for me. He and his church loved me and my family in a way we can never fully repay. But we are doing the best we can by going on to do the real work He has called us to.
The Power of Saying “No”
Last spring, we had the opportunity to partner with someone who could provide a building for our new work. The problem was this person had a negative reputation from his past involvement in church building. In spite of him saying he wanted minimal involvement and no leadership role in the work, I was uneasy with having a partnership with this individual. So we said no. Since that time, we actually have been given the vision for a network of house churches with a slow buildup to renting a facility.
The Power of Saying “Yes”
My wife and I decided to find out what is going on in our community to address the issue of abortion. We found out that other than the crisis pregnancy center, there was no other on-the-ground effort to raise awareness or do advocacy in our county. So we said yes to the chance to start a Right To Life chapter, and it was not a minute too soon. There is a major battle going on in Tennessee concerning our state constitution having an implicit right to abortion and the way the court ruling that decided this has struck down laws that were protections for women and unborn children. With a public referendum coming in November 2014 that will allow the people to amend their constitution and right this wrong, it’s all hands on deck. God sets forth the path for each of us and it is important to know when to say “yes.” Your “yes” may be the answer to someone’s prayers.
The Power of a Jump Start
We made no big strides toward starting the daughter work in the first 1/3 of the year or so. We took our time getting ourselves and our children acclimated to our new church. But in April, an evangelist came to our pastor asking for assistance with a tent revival in Jackson. My pastor realize that this would be a good opportunity to build contacts within the community of our calling. But it forced me to get in gear and jump into an effort that would prove valuable in putting us where we are today. We started our first home group from the participants of that revival and we continue to have meaningful relationships as a result.
The Power of Habit Over Intention
In spite of the jump start, there was a period of weeks in which we had to make major decisions about how we spent our time and where we placed our effort. We had established patterns and habits that we had to adjust or outright breaking in order to make church planting a priority. So it is with all decisions in life. Good intentions and a strong calling will not be enough.
The Power of Persistence
This is a lesson that is ongoing. We have hit bumps in the road along the way, but we have to keep going. We’ve made mistakes, but we have to learn from them and keep going. We’ve had to apologize, and even when the apology was not accepted, we had to keep going. Jesus continues to show Himself in ways great and small. We have had to be patient as some have decided not to continue with us in our ministry. We have had to bear with people through loss and sorrow and setback. But it is worth it when those people appreciate our prayers and use the word of God that we have been teaching them to find their way through the trials.
Do any of these lessons ring true with you? What would you share with me from your experience in the ministry? Let me know in the comments.