Confessions of a church planter’s wife.
Warning: brutal honesty to follow. You’ve been warned.
Our story: We’ve planted 2 churches so far – one in PA and one in CA. They’ve been worlds-apart different. Funny story – we called both churches by the same name. Why? Because our life mission remains the same – to meet people at the Crossroads of their lives with the love and hope of Jesus Christ. And we believe that no matter where we go or what we do, we’ll always hold this as our sacred calling. Our retirement home will probably get renamed Crossroads – it’s just that integral.
Here are a few things I’ve observed:
- Church planting is hard. Ministry is hard. Heck, life is hard. If we did easy stuff, we wouldn’t do this, that’s for sure! My least favorite part of church planting is turnover. People come and go in church plants MUCH easier than they do in established churches. Since it’s new, people haven’t formed loyal bonds yet, and they don’t have the buy-in or “ownership” like they do in churches who’ve been around for lots and lots of years. It’s not their fault, it’s just part of it. So we learn to hold people loosely, encourage their commitment, and win their loyalty with stellar leadership and love.
- Church planting is exhilarating! We love pioneering, starting new things, seeing new people step into serving and coming to church – that part is thrilling and it’s what keeps me going. If not for the thrill of building something from scratch that has the potential to change the world, it wouldn’t be worth the heartache. But here we are, altering our world, and starting with the people God sends to us. It’s rarely as glam as it sounds, but hey – it’s a high I’m addicted to and I don’t want to quit!
- Church planting is the most painful thing I’ve ever done. People have left us without so much as a good-bye. The people we invested hours into for the sake of the Kingdom of God turned around to stab us in the back when we weren’t looking. We constantly feel like we’re disappointing our leaders and coaches. We live with the daily ache of KNOWING where we want to be and COMING TO GRIPS WITH where we actually are. We sacrifice time, pay, our own money, tears, prayers, sleepless nights, heartfelt phone calls and meetings, and so much mental energy. Some days we wonder if it’s worth it. And then we remember Whom we serve.
If you’re a church planter or church planter’s wife, I’d love to hear your feedback on these words, as well as your experiences. Maybe they look like ours, and maybe they’re completely different. Either way, I invite you into my Nest. You can email me any time: firstname.lastname@example.org. And give me a little heads-up in the subject line: church planting feedback. You have my word that I’ll respond.