25 things I’ve learned from a year of church planting

This Sunday – September 19, 2010 – marks one year for Awaken Church. As I sit here and think back on this last year of church planting, I’m blown away that God uses a guy like me. I can’t help but think of the many lessons I’ve learned. Here are a few of them, although I couldn’t list them all…

1. I don’t have this whole “church” thing figured out.

2. There will always be critics. As a church planter, I must remember Who I’m trying to please: JESUS.

3. I need to be creative and passionate in the way I reach people. Just because it’s always been done one way doesn’t mean I have to/should do it that way.

4. Allowing others to serve and be a part of the ministry is important to the life and growth of the church. If I take it all on my shoulders, it can only grow as big as my shoulders.

5. Pastors make mistakes too. Deal with it and move on.

6. Personal holiness is vital for the life of any pastor. We must set the bar high and strive with everything we do to maintain character and integrity.

7. My family and marriage must come before church. If I lose them, I lose my ministry. PRIORITIZE.

8. As a pastor, I’m called to reach people, but not every need is mine to fill. I can’t be there for everyone – that’s for Jesus to take care of. I’ll do my absolute best, but ultimately, I rest in God’s grace to minister to others through someone else.

9. The Church has done a pretty good job surviving over the last 2,000 years before I rolled onto the scene. I’m important to God, but I’m not keeping the church afloat – that’s God’s job.

10. Have fun. I can’t take myself too seriously. The serious, non-joke, solemn-faced Jesus isn’t a full picture of Him. I’ll bet He was pretty fun to hang out with too.

11. The title “pastor” doesn’t place me above anyone or anything. I need to be a servant. People follow servant-leaders.

12. Don’t be scared to ask for help. Others have gone before me to do what I’m doing and it’s prideful to think I can do it all on my own without any input.

13. Stay accountable. Just because I’m a pastor doesn’t put me above temptation. I wish it did, but that’s not the case.

14. Any sin that I allow to live in my life can eventually take over. Kill sin now.

15. I must feed myself spiritually if I plan to be able to feed them spiritually. As selfish as it sounds, I have to take care of myself first so that I can take care of them.

16. I need to prayerfully consider ever critic whether I think their motives are Godly or not. Often times the people we don’t get along with are the ones who will be the most honest with us because they don’t care if they hurt your feeling or not. I don’t have to do everything they say, but it’s at least worth listening and praying.

17. I speak for God. WHOA. NEVER take that lightly.

18. I shouldn’t be scared to say it how it is, but I won’t be “edgy” just to be edgy or for shock value.

19. Hell is real. Don’t be scared to talk about it.

20. I won’t be offended when not everyone goes to my church. The truth: not everyone will go to my church.

21. I’ll preach it like Jesus is coming today (because He might be), but I have to remember I’m not the Holy Spirit – He’s the One doing the convicting.

22. Every soul is valuable to Jesus. He died for them.

23. The message never changes, but the methods often do. I have to adapt to my culture.

24. CHURCH PLANTING IS HARD!!

25. God doesn’t have to use me, but He wants to use me!

There’s no way I could list everything I learned, but there are a few of the main things. What a ride it’s been! I can’t wait to see what’s next!

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