Have you ever thought, “I think I might have taken this church as far as I can? Maybe I need to leave and let the next guy take it to the next level?”
If you are in (or have been in) the critical 5-7 years post launch of your church I suspect you have. I completely understand the why for thinking this way. In fact, there may be many reasons.
Some Planters experience discouragement. The church you now lead is not the one you envisioned six years ago. You had hoped for people to be more engaged, committed and generous. You thought there would be more conversions to Christ. People you loved and helped have left.
For other Planters it is just plain tiredness. Let’s face it. Starting a church is hard work. For some it’s the new challenges of managing people and things that have to get done. Maybe you are better at vision and ideas, and managing people is boring and difficult for you.
I suspect that you are probably in the weekly grind of sermon and services prep, and there’s little margin for thinking and visioning. You grab ideas here and there from podcasts or articles in Church Planter Magazine, but you don’t have time for thinking and praying.
So what can a Planter do?
First, get a Gospel Coach.
Our friend, Omar Ortiz said, “I first began using a Gospel coach during a very difficult season of ministry in church renewal. My coach helped me to have a renewed sense of purpose and direction in my ministry. More than that, however, my coach helped me to see my own need to repent of sinful patterns in my life. He helped me to move beyond simply paying lip service to applying the gospel to my life and actually led me there. Gospel coaching has been one of the most profound experiences I have had in ministry.”
Your health and the health and thriveability of your family is most important.
Today, more and more churches see the value of forming ministry teams who work together toward a common outcome. Search for “Team Ministry books” at Amazon.com and you will find over 300 titles. You can find practical help for doing ministry as a team or working with teams in the church through a variety of sources.
Since many of us were raised in an educational system that thrived on working in groups, you might have experienced a close relative of teams. Work groups are similar, but not the same as teams. You most likely have been part of a small group that studies together. Again, it is similar but not the same.
Most of what is in the marketplace about team ministry is utilitarian in nature. It is as if the whole purpose of team ministry is to get some job done in the best, most efficient way.
Remember, you don’t have to be alone in ministry. At CMM, we believe every pastor, church planter, ministry leader, and missionary is created to thrive in ministry. Click here to download your FREE eBook “Team Building for Beginners” today!
The purpose and plan of discipleship in many churches is unclear, unfocused, and unreliable. Programming will change constantly and the themes we emphasize vary wildly. It leaves people confused or exhausted, and leadership flabbergasted. What we propose is not complicated, but it does require the hard work of clarity, discipline, and consistency.
But first, let’s go back to basics and re-imagine discipleship by asking three simple questions adapted from the book, Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek. The questions are WHY, HOW, and WHAT.
Paul May is a church planter in metro Washington D.C., now starting his 2nd plant. Here’s what Paul said recently about having a Gospel Coach:
“My coaches didn’t just give me advice, but came alongside me as older brothers. They walked with me through hard conflict and painful losses, and celebrated with me at personal successes and when we saw God do big things. While I’ve been blessed by many godly pastors generous with their prayer, friendship, and counsel, I’ve found that having someone walk with me and remind me of the gospel continually is what has kept me married and in ministry, and I’m convinced it’s had a significant role in the fruit produced in our first and now second church plant.
“The main content of CMM coaching is how to apply the gospel to the heart of the planter. So being coached was the beginning of a journey for me of learning the A-Z part of the gospel and applying to my life in ways I didn't know I needed. Kind of like when you buy a new vacuum and you realize how much the old one sucked--or didn’t, rather. My wife and I have learned that we need these kinds of relationships in our lives continually, and it’s opened new pathways of conversation in our marriage, with our children, and with those we disciple. Gospel Coaching has helped me grow more and more towards being the spiritual leader I’m called to be, both of my household and over the household of God."
Remember, you don’t have to be alone in ministry. At CMM, we believe every pastor, church planter, ministry leader, and missionary is created to thrive in ministry. Click here to download your FREE eBook “Gospel Centered Discipleship” today!
A CMM C.R.O.S.S. Coach will help walk with you through the challenges in church ministry that you’ve never faced before.
Dr. Tom Wood
I've been in the Church Planting business my entire career. I want you to know, you don't have to plant a church alone!