Monthly Archives: August 2014

Church Planting: Too Many Cooks in the Kitchen

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I think whenever you start something new or try something new, a lot of people are happy for you. Those same people also have a lot of advice and opinions about what you are doing. And when you hear what they have to say you will wonder what in world are they basing what is coming out of their mouths on! Because, you’ll be thinking (inside your head of course):

  1. You’ve never done this before
  2. You’ve never done this before
  3. You’ve never done this before

Seriously, that is what goes through my mind sometimes as people talk to my husband and me. And the worst part is, is that the people with these opinions expect you to do what they say or listen just because they are ‘older and wiser’. Well, bah-humbug to them, I say! You’ve never done this before!

Church planting is hard work. If you have never done it before or never started your own business, regardless of how many books you have read or seminars you’ve been to, you don’t really have any business telling the actual church planter or business owner how to run things. So what is a church planter to do? Well, you need to learn to be like a colander. You know the kind, where you dump your pot of boiling water and spaghetti into so the water goes out, but the good stuff, the spaghetti stays in.

So, here is some of my advice and opinions, based on the fact that I am a church planter’s wife and am living through this:

  1. Listen. Listen to the people who are talking, sincerely. You don’t want to appear to be ‘holier than thou’. You can be polite and listen. As you listen, keep your ears open for that one tidbit that might actually be useful. Maybe they do have a computer program that will help worship run smoother. Someone introduced my husband to Easy Worship. Thank goodness he was listening!
  2. Be gracious. Thank people for their time and thoughts. You don’t want to burn any bridges here. However, if you are just done with listening or know you are going someplace where you know someone will corner you with “this is the way you should do it” advice, have a pre-planned exit strategy!
  3. Complain to your wife. Pastor’s, chances are your wife is probably the only person you can really trust who is not going to go blab about what you said to someone else. It’s a lonely world in the world of friendship for pastors and their wives. Go get a Dairy Queen blizzard and just talk things through. She has probably picked up on these same people. I don’t see this as gossip. I see it as a sounding board opportunity, to be sure you aren’t misjudging a situation.
  4. Smile and then forget it. Sometimes, you just need to smile and then turn around and forget what was said. Why? Well, you are going to go back to your church plant that you are losing sleep over and praying for constantly and do what you know needs to be done.
  5. Get to know at least one other church planter. If you know another church planter, then you know someone else who has too many cooks in the kitchen. But, you will find that they have some good spaghetti in their kitchen that could be helpful to you. Chat about things, share ideas, and laugh together over experiences you have. It’s good for both of you.

If you are running into too many cooks in the kitchen, then step back. Look at where your church plant has been and where it is now. Praise God for the many blessings, from the smallest to the largest blessings you can see. Then, thank Him for the things He’s done that you don’t even know about. Thank Him for things that have been orchestrated by Him to get you where you need to be.  Ask Him to help you with all the cooks. He is there for you.

Avoiding the Thorns

May 2013 001In the paths of the wicked lie thorns and snares, but he who guards his soul stays far from them. Proverbs 22:5

Back in Proverbs 1:7, I wrote about the definition for the word discipline. One definition is a behavior which follows rules. So, today I ask, how many of you are disciplined? Are you disciplined enough to show up to work on time, get to sports practice promptly, or meet friends for dinner at the designated time? Now, I ask again, how many of you are disciplined? Are you disciplined enough to stop what you are doing and really listen to someone who is talking to you, to watch the words you say, or to show up on time to church for worship?

The Proverb for today says, “In the paths of the wicked lie thorns and snares, but he who guards his soul stays far from them.” Recently I was cutting back my rose bushes. I don’t know whether it is the season for that or not, but they were kind of scraggly looking so I decided to do it. To get to a couple of branches for the best cut, I had to stick my arm into the bush. What’s on the stems of roses? Thorns. So, as I went for the cut, I tried to maneuver my arm through the stems without catching my gloves and arms on the thorns. I wasn’t very successful. I could feel the thorns snagging my gloves and could definitely feel the thorns scratching my skin. After, I cut and carefully pulled my arm back out, I had to pull some thorns from my gloves.

Life and being disciplined for things in life is full of thorns, or traps, and snares that want to keep you away from Jesus. It’s kind of like cutting back a rosebush and trying to avoid the thorns. Life is hard. There is bad stuff that the world wants to catch you in. You want to try to avoid those thorns. What can help? Well, be disciplined. And by that I mean for the things that Jesus and the Bible say are important, like loving your neighbor, guarding your mouth, and worshipping with others and telling others about Jesus. Praying, spending time with Jesus, and making Him a priority are going to help you avoid traps. Is it easy? No. Does it take work? Yes. Will you fail and be snared? Yes. Will your journey with Jesus by your side be easier? Yes.

I encourage you today, to watch out for thorns. Whether it is negative people, overscheduling, or sleep which makes you late, try to avoid them. Bob and weave your way through life, keeping your eyes focused on Jesus. He wants to guide you. You need to let Him.

In the paths of the wicked lie thorns and snares, but he who guards his soul stays far from them. Proverbs 22:5

Strength vs. Gray Hair

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The glory of young men is their strength, gray hair the splendor of the old. Proverbs 20:29

Now, my children are still small, only ages 4, 6, 8, and 10, but their stamina and energy is never ending. Well, most of the time. For some reason they are always too weak to help carry in groceries! They can play in the heat and the cold, they can stay up late and wake up early raring to go. What do they have on their side? Youth. My husband and I on the other hand can still do all those things, except down a few notches. He twisted his ankle, my pointer finger hurts and so the everyday things we took for granted now come with aches and pains. It’s a real bummer sometimes.

This brings us to, “The glory of young men is their strength…”. Young people have something on their side. Youth! They can practice flag football for an hour and then still zip down the field in a game. Youth can eat and eat and then burn it all off in gym class or soccer practice. They can burn the midnight oil studying for a test and not need any coffee to get them going in the morning. Youth are young, they are often free from major responsibilities, they are strong in body and mind, and they can be lacking in commonsense.

Which is where “…gray hair the splendor of the old” comes into play. We may be older, with aches and pains, but don’t count us out yet! We’ve got the gray hair (sometimes hidden by a fantastic stylist) that youth needs. Because with that gray hair came the passage of time. Gray hair has been through the stage of the strength and invincibility of youth. You know what we found? Well, at one point we needed those gray haired people too. Gray haired people can offer perspective and wisdom of having “been there, done that” that youth just doesn’t have to pull from their resources yet. Gray haired people can watch youth “be strong” and chuckle as they know failure will come, but that failure will guide that future gray haired person to help someone else.

It’s all a beautiful cycle. God sure has done a fantastic job! “The glory of young men is their strength, gray hair the splendor of the old.” My recommendation is this. Youth, listen to the people with gray hair, they know things you don’t and can and want to help you. Gray haired people, allow the youth to help you. Respect each other for what you have to offer at whatever stage of life you are in. If you respect, you will find that your life will be easier and more complete.

The glory of young men is their strength, gray hair the splendor of the old. Proverbs 20:29