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.

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