3 Commitments I’m Learning to Make AND Keep
It was almost exactly 5 years ago, but I can still remember where I was (Golfing on hole #12 at Cog Hill), who I was with and what my reaction was when Anne called and told me she was pregnant. Tears filled my eyes… fortunately not as a result of my bad golf game… but because this good news came after 3 years of praying. The celebration started and the next 9 months were filled with friends, laughter, parties, gifts and joyous expectation for a day that would change our lives forever. All eyes were focused on this new life that would soon enter the world. The big day finally came and Ella Marie Prunty was born on March 26, 2012. But then it happened… that moment when Anne and I looked at each other and realized we were now responsible for raising another human. We got this, right!? 🙂
Planting a church can be a lot like that. The launch phase is filled with celebration, excitement and holy expectation as this new church is about to come to life. All eyes are on your project and people are cheering you on. The grand opening comes and goes and there is this moment… a moment that comes somewhere between 4 and 16 weeks after launch. I call it the “Oh Crap” moment. It’s the moment when you say, “We planted a church… now what?”
Often times the best strategy and the best vision still cannot prepare you for that moment. Before long, bad habits are forming and you are losing that laser focus you once had as you were preparing for launch. With that in mind, here are 3 commitments I’m learning to make and keep in the early years…
- Tweet this! Learn to say, “Yes, but not yet.” There will never be a shortage of good ideas…even great ideas. In the early years of a church plant it can be very tempting to say yes to every idea… sending you into a frenzy of activity where you will try anything and everything to generate momentum and accomplish the mission. Before long, you will be left with a whole lot of activity without any advancement. Instead, stay committed to your strategy and accelerate your vision by learning to say “Yes, but not yet.” In doing so, you will narrow your focus and deepen your impact.
- Tweet this! Create ownership. Your staff team is important, but the most important part of your team is your volunteer team. In your desperation to make sure that you have enough volunteers to operate the weekend, be sure to avoid the trap of simply filling roles. Instead, invite people to join a team. Better yet, apprentice them to take ownership of the mission. For more on creating ownership…check out Jon’s previous post entitled, “3 Steps of Creating Ownership.”
- Tweet this! Make it better and make it consistent. As you narrow your focus to only a few things, it will allow you to spend time making everything you do, better. Bigger isn’t always better… sometimes better is better. Excellence honors God and will inspire your people. The more people know what to expect and who to expect, the more comfortable they will be in inviting their friends. Familiar faces on your guest services team and on your stage will help create a relationship that your people can trust.
I learned these the hard way, but I believe if you will make AND keep these commitments you will eliminate some church planting stress and at the same time accelerate the mission.