Church Planting Lesson #17: Finish how you started

LESSON #17:  FINISH HOW YOU STARTED (as long as you started with Jesus)

Below is an excerpt from my a journal I wrote when we first started gathering as a church.  It was written the day after our FIRST OFFICIAL GATHERING.  I have this torn piece of paper from my journal(who knows where the rest is) taped into the front of my Bible.  The words and the tone of it reminds me that, when we first started, we really didn’t know what we were doing.  Thinking back, it must have looked completely ludicrous to everyone who watched–it even seems like that a bit to me.  But in the moment, it is exciting.  In the moment, you have nothing BUT the cross to hold on to, nothing BUT to wait on Jesus to move, nothing BUT to trust that Jesus is the one that plants, grows, shrinks, and closes the doors on churches.

The journal below helps me to remember who is really in control and what is most important. The journal entry appears exactly as written. In the margin there are a few notes, some of which remind me of what we’re still seeing three years later: “most a half hour late…I was worried…white board…taught the gospel…”  Here is the entry:

“The First Core Mtg. –> Sat. July 1

There were 14-16 people here.   Most of the people have followed DR since its inception.  1/2 of the people were in leadership and there were a few surprised.  I guess I could be disappointed if I allowed my mind to go there–I won’t.  I must focus on the fact that you brought who you wanted to this meeting.  I realize that Summer is quite possibly the worst time to start gathering, so it will be hit and miss for a while–even with leadership.  But we had a church service, the first of many I pray.  We fellowshiped, worshipped, and heard the gospel together.  I probably taught as if there were 200 people there, but so be it, we had 17.  I must remind myself that you began with one, then two, then12.  You never really got too much bigger, but there was a following.  You have a church out here somewhere.  Help me to keep my eyes firmly fixed on the mission, not to measure success by anything else but only how closely we stick to the proclaiming the gospel (Mark 16.15) and the healing of the sick and sore (Isaiah 61).”

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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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