Remember the storm that came through before our first small group meeting? If not, read it here. I said there would be more storms and want to share some today. Not all the storms are of the literal rain and thunder variety. Most storms are just the devil trying to squash you down to keep you from telling people about Jesus. I’m telling you, get out the umbrella and raincoat and keep going. Don’t let him win by getting you down. Find another way to overcome obstacles and keep moving forward.
So here are a few things we have run into as we got started with planting a church. Maybe you have experienced some of these things too and can laugh about it now. Hang in there, you’ll make it!
No core group
Almost every book my husband read and everyone who wanted to put their two cents into the church plant said we needed to have a core group. Well, honestly, if you are moving to a new place and know no one where is this core group going to come from? You have to meet people and that is not an easy process in this busy world. You see, we don’t want to steal disgruntled people from other churches. We want to reach people who don’t know Jesus. When my husband was surveying the neighborhood, if he ran into someone who already went to church that conversation was considerable shorter than one with someone who didn’t go to church. We don’t want transfer growth.
So, we never found that core group of 10-20 people who would help to be leaders and go-getters. If you are starting with no one, it is going to take time to build up leaders from a group of men who are new believers. If you are confident that you have the skills and management style to be the jack of all trades for a while, then forget the core group and move your church planting on.
Ideas that worked in one place may not work here
The church plant we used to go to was located an old movie turned dinner theatre. The worship area was set up on a slant with chairs and a long table. We called them “pewbles”. It was a great set up for having movie nights. There was a large screen and a place to put your snacks! This outreach worked pretty good. It grew from a few people coming to about 100 people. And, it worked. People heard about Jesus in a different format, started coming to church, and were saved. We thought this would work as an outreach for our new church plant.
We were wrong! We tried two movie nights before deciding this just wasn’t it. The first was held in November on a Saturday night. Turned out there was a big school event at the high school that night. We had known something was happening, but didn’t realize how big an event it would be. Always check the school calendar! We tried another movie night a couple months later. It was free, in the middle of winter when there isn’t anything else to do, and again it was at a familiar location, a school, so people should be comfortable going there.
Both times, we didn’t get a single visitor. It was a lot of work and expense for us to do this. My husband said, I think we’ll have to try something else. Lesson learned is that just because it works one place, don’t expect a duplication of outcomes in a different scenario.
The worship leader quit before the first service
Over the summer when we were in the process of moving and doing the sports camp my husband put out requests for a worship leader. This is an important role as we all know. The music can make or break a visitor’s first impression. When my husband met and talked to this one guy, he was sure he had found him. He was looking for a new opportunity and was really talented.
Unfortunately, he quit about a month before our first practice service. Uh-oh! This turned out to be a blessing, as we found someone who lived right in town who was looking to lay down roots in one church. He is also very talented and has a pool of musician friends who have helped us out.
These are just a few things we ran into, but we kept on going. We keep praying for that core group and potential leaders are attending. We keep praying for our outreach activities to reach people, but we are also working one on one to build relationships. We keep praying for a solid group of musicians who want to call our church home. We keep praying because God loves us and I know He wants us to tell people about Jesus. I’ll share a few more storms next week.