The fifth essential every church planters must have, is this:
You have to be willing to bleed.
While essential four addresses oversensitivity, this is about the fact that church planting is hard. I would argue that it should be hard. Our president of the North American Mission Board, Kevin Ezell, claims that, “The single most effective evangelistic methodology under heaven is to plant churches.” If that is true, and I believe it is, then the trials that a planter will face are not random.
This should not deter us from starting churches, because there is an urgent need for a church planting movement. The only logical conclusion is that Satan wants the opposite, and attacks will come our way. I recently spent some time talking late into the night with some church planting friends of mine, in a hotel in Nashville. The conversation was between four of us from four different parts of the country. We all had witnessed the same trials as church planters. The attacks are real. I’m the least Pentecostal person I know (to a fault) and that conversation showed me that this isn’t a crazy charismatic thing, but a true, Biblical reality. Satan is on the prowl.
It has seemed at the church where I pastor that every time we’ve had a new initiative, explosive growth, or momentum, attacks have come our way. Moral failures of staff members, tension or infighting among staff, the loss of our building we were leasing, personal issues with families and hardships, and I could go on and on. This fight is real, and the victory already won by our Lord Jesus Christ demands that by the indwelling of the Spirit, we push through.
Satan hates church planting, but he can only do so much about it. He is limited, and because of that, you can’t be afraid to do a little bleeding.
Four things I’ve learned:
1. You can’t go at it alone.
It can be very lonely at the top, so you can’t let that happen. People must be in your life. Don’t be a closed book who fears letting people in because of what they might think about you after they find out you aren’t the spiritual champion. You must have conversations that help remind you that Jesus wins. I’ve never met a planter who doesn’t have anxieties and irrational fears that can handicap him when he isn’t being intentional about this.
I once had a pastor tell me that I shouldn’t trust anyone. That’s bull. Don’t trust the village, but you’ve at least got to have some people who will sit around with you at the campfire.
2. Have as large an amount of people praying for you, your family, and the church as possible.
When people ask, “How can I be praying for you,” tell them!
3. Know your enemy.
Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the tactics of the Devil. For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens. This is why you must take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having prepared everything, to take your stand. (Ephesians 6:11-13 HCSB)
Often times during attacks, you’ll forget and become convinced that your enemies are other people, maybe because of tensions and issues you might have. Return to the Scriptures and realize that is a lie.
4. It is all worth it.
If we really believe that Jesus changes lives, the attacks are worth it, because you will get to see the Lord work in front of your eyes. I believe one of the things that makes or breaks a new church is whether or not the leader is willing to endure. If he won’t bleed, he won’t make it. If you will grind through it, you will see the rewards.
Church planting is one of the greatest adventures you can take in ministry. So often in training workshops we are taught about mission statements and core values. Those things are fine, but that isn’t everything. You’ve got to have these five essentials if you’re going to bring the kind of game-changing movement to your city that is desperately needed.
Published April 23, 2015