Church Planting Lesson #1 – don’t plant

Some day I’ll probably write a book.  I don’t want to write a book so that I can make a name for myself, but becuase writing is how I process. You ask me a question, I’ll respond with a 10 page paper.  It is what I do.  So, in the next few weeks I am going to process online the goods and bads of church planting over the last three years. Who am I kidding, most of the “lessons” we learnthat actually stick are the hard ones.  So, if no one reads this or if everyon reads this, I don’t really care…it’s cathartic for me.

Planting a church is the most horrible wonderful thing anyone could do. And I will take every opportunity to tell people NOT to do it.  I used to think that planting a church would be “fun”. Fun is so superficial. Anything worth anything is never easy, rarely is it fun, and usually it is deeply pleasurable and painful all at the same time.  If someone cannot say without blinking an eye that “I will be disobeying Jesus if I don’t plant a church” then they shouldn’t. 
And then, if they really want to plant a church that makes much of Jesus…prepare to suffer like him.  Before planting a church I knew what my next 10 years looked like.  Before planting a church I knew I’d be able to pay my bills.  Before planting a church I didn’t have to act like I was part of the church.  Before planting a church I was never depressed. Before planting a church most everyone I talked with like me.  Before planting a church I never thought about work outside of “work”.  Before planting a church my family got every minute of my free time.  Before planting a church I didn’t have too many people counting on me so that, if I screwed up, it impacted a lot less.  Before planting a church people did not look to me for an example for much of anything. 

At the same time, despite all the pains, confusions, fears, doubts, and criticims from me, my friends, my family, and my enemies, I have never found more joy in the glory of God in my life.


Author: Sam Ford

Sam Ford is a preacher, planter, and pastor from the Pacific Northwest. He is currently pastoring Restoration Road Church in Snohomish, WA.

One thought on “Church Planting Lesson #1 – don’t plant”

  1. whats up man, im in need of some spiritual guidance. i am 36yrs old and im going on my second year as youth pastor. i have a secular job and do the pastor job from free will not for pay. i need someone to speak to, my general pastor has been basically absent as my spiritual father for about 4 years. i need guidance and a mentor. you dont have to answer if you dont like, i know you must have alot of work on you right now, just thought id reach out. God bless bro


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