Photo Courtesy of Raquel Martinez
Church plants are like apples.
You think you can tell what they will taste like from looking at the outside. If the peel is a vibrant shade of red, yellow or green, you might think, it looks like a good apple. Give it a squeeze, and if it’s firm enough, you’ll probably take a bite. As a girl from the apple state of Washington, I’m rarely wrong about the quality of this fruit based upon these two simple tests.
On the other hand, deciding what a church plant will taste like cannot be as easily surmised. Sure, your husband might be a research hound. He might compile data on every demographic, religious statistic, and school within a hundred mile radius of where you want to start a new church. He may even be able to break down, by percentage, what jobs people in the city have and how many children live in their homes. These are important things to know. However, once you “take a bite,” the taste may be shockingly different than you expected.
What if this happens? What if I our church plant doesn’t go the way I expect?
Somehow, God lost the blueprints to your shiny new church and the life of success you planned for your family.
When this happens, take courage. God’s plans are the best. He always has a plan, and He promises to finish the good work he began inside of you, your husband, and the church.
1. Remember Jesus is the head planter of your church.
This is such wonderful news. Take a deep breath and remember, you can rest in Jesus and His work. Be in prayer about everything, and lift your worries up to Him. Remember this scripture…
And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. Matthew 16:18 ESV
2. Take the journey one day at a time.
We’d all like success to happen overnight, even though we know this is not how it happens. One new contact at a time, seeds will be planted for the gospel.
“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. Matthew 6:34 ESV
3. Don’t pin the success or failure of the church on your husband’s (or anybody else’s) shoulders.
Remember what Jesus said, “I will build my church.” Matthew 16:18
4. Reach out to everyone.
Don’t be afraid to talk about your church! Invite people to events, especially parties where you won’t have a rigid agenda. Neighbors want to connect with you (well, a lot of the time they do), so give them the opportunity. Consider how you can bless your city. Get involved in mission work, food drives, clean-up projects, etc. Do anything you can to get people involved in a project greater than themselves. During Infusion Church’s inception, we spent time developing a great relationship with the local food bank. This helped our church grow, but more importantly, we were Christ’s hands and feet in our city.
5. Remember, God’s plans are best.
When we moved to Menifee, California, I had been certain this was where we would settle for good. We bought a house, lived near our best friends, and envisioned the day when we would be able to put in a pool (it gets up to 115 degrees Fahrenheit in Menifee!) in the backyard. However, this was during the worst portion of the housing crisis and recession, and a perfect storm awaited us. Our denomination pulled their funding, half of the congregation lost their jobs and homes, and like a house of cards, the entire thing fell. We lost our house, couldn’t sustain the church financially, and had to move away. This is when Cross Church merged back with Chorus Church. I will admit I was devastated. But God had more in store for us, and I’m glad for where we are now.
There are man’s plans, and then there are God’s plans. Which is best? Every time, the answer is going to be God’s plan. God says…
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11 ESV
I pray you can rest in the hope of Jesus Christ. Know that God’s future for you is beautiful, beyond prediction, and more glorious than you could have ever imagined.