(Katdish is a legendary commenter at Stuff Christians Like. She’s been around from the beginning and is constantly and consistently making people laugh and think with what she adds to the conversation we’re all having. Plus, she’s doing something I’ve never ever done, she’s planting a church. If I tried to write this post it would sound fake and phony and other words meaning lame. Fortunately Katdish wrote it and it’s great. Check it out.)
When Jon sent me an e-mail asking if I would be interested in guest blogging for Stuff Christians Like, my response was something like, “Yeah. That might be cool.” My actual reaction was more akin to what my 7-year old’s would be after learning that she had just received a year’s supply of Floam. I happen to know Jon is a humble, down to earth guy, but with the incredible success of SCL and now the upcoming book, he’s kind of a big deal. So I’ll try not disappoint too many readers with today’s post.
So, why should you be part of a church plant? My simple answer is that you have exhausted every other option and prayed about it A LOT. If you’re still up for it, then brace yourself. If you don’t come by humility naturally (like I do), God will humble you like the 360 degree mirror on “What Not to Wear” (with Clinton and Stacey in the background as your accountability partners).
So, what are some dos and don’ts I can share with you based upon my vast year and a half experience with church planting? I’ve got roughly 197, but I’ll try to keep it brief:
Do choose a pastor that has an absolutely sound, biblically based theology and a Christ-like attitude. If, say your pastor (we’ll call him Steve) would like to name the church “TheHolyandDivineSpiritualHouseofStevePointe,” he may lack the necessary humility to pull off leading a successful church plant. (Especially if his last name happens to be Pointe.)
Don’t get bogged down with things that are more about tradition and personal preference such as using a worship eagle as opposed to an interpretive pop and lock dance set to Toby Mac’s “Feelin’ So Fly”. Keep the main thing the main thing, but don’t sweat the small stuff.
Do have a plan and a timeline for at least the first two years of your church. If you are receiving support from outside backers and other churches, it really bugs them when you say stuff like, “Que sera sera, Whatever will be will be”, and then make a sweeping, full body twirl whist holding a flowing scarf in your hand. (Yeah, they really hate it when you do that.)
Do splurge for a professional looking sign if you meet in someone’s home every week. Something like “We are not a Cult” would be a good option.
Don’t recruit new members from other churches. I’m pretty sure I read somewhere that our mission is to make new disciples, not to play musical chairs. Plus, as my pastor would say, that fruit might be easy to reach, but it has already been picked, and frankly some of it is rotten. (The rotten part is my statement not his, but he wishes it was.)
Do attend the Exponential Conference in Orlando this April. (This year’s theme: A Thousand Points of Blond Highlights!) Not only is it a great place to network and meet some peeps who are in the same boat as you, but you will also hear Francis Chan, Erwin McManus, Alan Hirsch, and (gasp) Tim Keller! I am not exaggerating when I say that the author of every recently published book I’ve read in the past 2 years will be there. Well, I don’t think Stephen King will be there, but how awesome would that workshop be? Incidentally, if Brent Foulke or anyone else from the conference happens to be reading this, I’m not above accepting free passes to the conference in exchange for say, unprecedented exposure to your conference via a link on Stuff Christians Like.
Don’t constantly check your email and/or your blog: IMRELEVANTFAUXSHO.COM if you’re sitting next to me at the conference like you did last year. And no, I don’t want to see all the cool new apps on your i-touch. Go bother your lead pastor and leave me alone. I’m trying to hear Dr. Keller!
Do lots of research. Read books and blogs by successful church planters. They love to wax poetic about all mistakes they’ve made in the past, “but Love will build a bridge”. It might save you some grief.
Don’t make wickedly funny, sarcastic remarks on pastors’ blogs. They rarely respond, and just between you and me, I’m pretty sure they find you incredibly annoying…(Not that I have any personal experience with this, I’m just saying.)
Don’t plant a church if you don’t have a sense of humor. And incidentally, if you’re in the Houston area, don’t visit Convergence Christian Church either. You may find this hard to believe, but with the exception of yours truly, most of our members are pretty random and sarcastic. If you’re extremely intense and serious, you’d probably get a hankerin’ to face kick our pastor, and I can’t have that. We just had our rugs cleaned.
I think I’ve unintentionally yet successfully insulted most of the major players in the modern church planting movement, so I think my work here is done. A very special thanks to my friend and pastor Jeff Hogan, as well as Beth, my fellow geeky church planter in Terre Haute, Indiana: Land of the Slanket for their insight and contributions. Oh, and Jon. Of course, Jon!
Have you ever been part of a church plant? What do’s or “don’ts” would you add?
(How cool is Katdish? When she sent me the first draft of this post I told her in my best Christopher Walken cowbell impression, “I need more sarcasm. I’ve got a fever and the only cure is more sarcasm!” Did she reply with an angry email that simple said, “I’ll pray for your ungrateful heart?” Nope, she rewrote the post. To see the original version, which is longer and contains some good advice for you planters out there, check it out on her blog.)