Church Planting Lesson #7: You’ll never feel like you’ve arrived

LESSON #7:  YOU’LL NEVER FEEL LIKE YOU KNOW WHAT YOU’RE DOING.

After people ask my why I wanted to plant a church (read lesson #1), quite often the next question is, “how are you qualified?” This isn’t asked directly like this mind you, it is more cryptic like, “where did you go to seminary?” or “where were you a pastor before?”.  Early on I was very intimidated by this question because I didn’t really know what I was doing.  I became well practiced at answers to match the nature of the question, talking about my double major in biblical studies (which I have but is useless), or the fact that I was an “elder” at a previous church (though I didn’t pastor a lick).  The truth is, I tried to convince the pastors who approved me in Acts 29 why I wasn’t qualified to lead a church—I thought it was obvious.

The funny thing is, when you’re starting a church in your living room (then garage), you don’t feel like you have to know much.  There is a beautiful simplicity in it all, nothing is expected, there are no bills, no one to scare away by what you say or do, and anything positive that happens is clearly recognized as “of God” because there is no one else to give credit to.  Strangely, once it becomes “something” you begin to freak out–believing (even subconsciously) that you’re responsible for making and maintaining whatever “it” is now. When things go bad, people begin to ask those same questions again assuming that it is all jacked up because the head guy didn’t go to seminary, didn’t pastor before, or didn’t “do” whatever is a pastor is supposed to do to prepare him to lead.  I take comfort in the fact that Jesus didn’t pick winners.  It wasn’t that he picked losers, he picked simple-minded blue-collar leaders who were trustworthy and teachable.  That is what I am.  And, after three years, I still don’t know what I’m doing.  But one thing I do know is that I don’t want to ever get so “professional”, wise, successful, or whatever that I’m not desperately holding on the cross every minute.

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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.

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