I never wanted to move back to New Orleans. It was truly a supernatural move of God. Moving back to New Orleans to be a church planter was special, but different. I have family there, but moving there as a missionary felt more isolating than I thought. New Orleans is an isolating city for church planter. It’s a tough city to plant in and reach people.
We can’t be isolated as planters and have to continually fight the urge of thinking we can do it all by ourselves. That is why brotherhood is so important. Brotherhood looks like a phone call you can make at any time of the day or night to talk through a tough situation. It looks like life-giving conversations over countless cups of coffee. Brotherhood is having a friend you can go to for anything.
I have friendships with guys who have talked me down off ledges and poured into me so much. They have been people I can trust — people I can share the reality of my life with and receive genuine feedback and real care. Having this brotherhood has been such a blessing. We share our victories and struggles with each other, and then we are able to celebrate or help each other work through our challenges.
I recently read that it is essential for planters to have relationships with other church planters. When we have other church planters we can talk to, our success rate is higher because we are not alone.
Here are my top three reasons why brotherhood, especially with other planters, is so important.
1. Combat loneliness
It can be easy to be prideful and just be on your own in church planting. It can be hard to let others in because you don’t want them to see your weaknesses. That is a fear we have to look past. The good in having others see your weaknesses is that they can speak into your life and help you grow.
2. Provide encouragement
When you are surrounded by a community of people pursuing the same thing as you, it creates a network of encouragement. If you have one or two guys you can turn to, you can say you have people who can hold your arms up. Much like Moses, we need these people. That is what brotherhood is. That takes times to cultivate, but it is invaluable.
3. Foster real prayer
There are many times when I don’t know what to pray, and my brothers intercede for me. There have also been times when someone just calls and says, “I have been praying for you because God put you on my heart.”
An invaluable network
I didn’t come from a Southern Baptist background so I didn’t know about Send Network until three or four years ago. When I saw that their values were kingdom, brotherhood, and multiplication, I knew they were the network for me. I wanted to be a part of something bigger than myself, and Send’s vision allowed for that.
Leadership is lonely. We need brothers who are in the same boat as us, so we understand that we are not alone. With the Send Network, even if we aren’t in the same place, I know I have brothers all over North America who can pray for me and encourage me. They also can give me their raw opinion on how my sermon went and how they think the church is doing, and I won’t get offended because I know they only want to see God do amazing things through me.
The brotherhood I have experienced has truly been a unique bond, and I don’t know where I would be without it. When people forsake the call to engage in brotherhood, they are missing out and allowing room for the enemy to sneak in and wreck their ministry.
Our Send City Coordinator, George Ross, has helped us foster a healthy brotherhood. I connect with my brothers a minimum of once a month, but usually more often. Our brotherhood has expanded and is pushing the kingdom even further. I see the work God has done in my brothers’ lives, and it is an extension of all God is doing in my life.
Published March 13, 2018