Brotherhood: Giving encouragement

All ministry is hard and church planting is typically harder. Obstacles abound within the church planting mission field. We have all had our noses bloodied more than we would like to admit. Though planters seem to have an innate belief they can conquer a city with their bare hands, deep down we know we aren’t that good. Deep down, we know we need a lot of help along the way. My brothers starting other churches across Boston have been one of the greatest sources of encouragement for me.

Josh, Curtis, Bland, Claude, Matt, Jan, Charlie, Kevin, Jared, Torli, Sean, Jay, Chris, Jason, Dan and many more.

All of these people walk the same road that I walk, face the same struggles that I face and celebrate the same joys that I celebrate. It’s little wonder that they’ve proven to be an irreplaceable catalyst to keep me believing in God for the impossible and working toward the transformation of our city. Let me give you three tips on how to cultivate brotherhood in your city by encouraging one another.

1. Spend time together.
Relationships are built over time. The more we connect, the more sincere and specific our encouragement.

– Visit other churches. You’d be wise to take advantage of this before you launch. Learn from one another. Get to know one another. These trips can be the foundation of friendship.

– When your network pulls together a gathering or event, go! When these events are free (which most of them are), you should be especially ashamed of yourself to skip out. After all, we are church planters! Can I get an amen? Prioritize connecting on your calendar. If it’s not already there, add it to your job description. I’m serious.

– Get your families together. Sure, you need this, but your wife may really need it. What about your kids? Yes, they need it too.

2. Trade war stories about the war within.
It’s easy to talk about the mission. Planters love to talk philosophy and methodology over a meal or coffee. We certainly love to talk about results (when the results are good). We also need to talk about our souls.

– Be vulnerable. We all struggle. When our dreams take a hit and the mission goes sideways, we need to be transparent with someone who truly understands and can say, “Me too. I’m with you. I fear the same thing. That keeps me up at night too.”

– Provide hope. We all experience victory. Every story of grace elevates faith. I know the same God working in the neighborhood next door can work in mine just as well.

3. Do mission together.
– Love your city more than your church. If I care more about God changing Boston than the microscopic slice I influence, I will also be for my brothers who are reaching hundreds of other people around me, and even near me. I will rejoice when their church grows after I pray about it, even if it’s larger than mine. That’s real!

– Reach people together. One of the most satisfying moments in my six year journey as a planter came on Good Friday this year when our church joined five other churches to make Christ known in our city. It wasn’t about getting people to come to our churches. It was about getting people to Jesus.

– Pray together. Most people can probably tell me the last time they hung out with their brothers in the mission, but what about the last time they prayed together? Take the time to pray for people, neighborhoods, ministry efforts, one another’s families, goals, hopes, fears and dreams.

– Share Resources.What do you have that you have not received?” (1 Corinthians 4:7) The implied answer: nothing. What idea, what strategy, what tip, what resource (including PEOPLE! including MONEY!) do you possess that you would be unwilling to share with a fellow planter? I hope our answer is the same: nothing.

The mission is too critical to go alone. Give encouragement and receive encouragement for the sake of your church, your city and your soul.

Published August 2, 2016