I was trained in ministry, Bible and theology.
I think somehow that I believed that these were the primary (only??) elements I'd need to plant a church. But, as we approach our one year anniversary of City Campus Church's Celebration, I've realized there are a few hats I've had to be fitted for in this journey.
1. Fund Raiser
One of the most terrifying things in this was needing to come up with $150,000 over three years in personal support. God has been merciful and gracious and we have a great support team! We are lagging a little behind our goals at this point so I'm learning the fundraising is on going. Not only that, but we had to raise $20,000 to pull off the Generosity Feeds event to launch the celebration.
I don't necessarily agree with the church as a business model, but the responsibilities financially and executively land primarily on the shoulders of the church planter. If your own finances are not in order and worth your people following, then you probably shouldn't be leading and planning the church finances. We've been debt free since 2011 and the Financial Peace class has made us frugal in planting this church.
We meet in a middle school in the city. Funding for the school is limited. And middle schoolers are generally a dirty, slobbish bunch of people. We clean quite a bit.
I somehow with stars in my eyes and rose colors in my glasses skipped the thought that this would be messy. Interacting with those who are dechurched and unchurched along with the churched...it means entering into addictions and relational crises. I have been "Let's take the hill at all costs" guy...and the Lord has reminded me that taking the hill but letting the people be killed on the way is poor leadership.
You have to plan the ship's route. You have to know where you're going. You have to have resolve when others try to take the helm. You have to lead confidently through mutiny. Can you tell the crew where you're heading, why you're heading there and how you'll get there? If you can't someone else will take the helm. Stormy seas will come and how you lead...where you reroute if necessary...will determine how the crew maintains loyalty.
Shaina and I stumbled into the most effective way to plant a church. It's not at a coffee shop or at a movie theater. It's at our dining room table. The life shared there over meals has been the highlight of this journey. We set a goal of 100 meals around our table with people other than me, Shaina and Chaia. We love it! Shaina is an amazing cook, which helps with this as well! (For those of you wondering...it is February 17 and we are at 15 meals so far with 16,17 and 18 planned for this week!)
7. My Family's Advocate
I am lucky to have a wife who loves church planting as much as I do and a daughter who loves people (especially people other than her parents). So we can gather and host frequently. But no one is going to fight for us to take rest/sabbath/vacation. We will always feel needed. But leaders listen up! The people you lead need you to take a break! You need to see that you are not essential for the church God is planting to thrive. It pushes your leaders out of the nest, it protects your family and sets you up for longevity in ministry. Work hard...and play hard...make sure your breaks are rejuvenating and screen free.