You have to be willing to get dirty.
Church planting is literally dirty. You may find yourself with paint, grease, dirt, urine and any number of disgusting things on your clothes, hands and under your nails. Church planting is not for the faint of heart. If you hate dirt… this is not for you. There will be times when you are on your own… and there won’t be anyone to help you. You will need to roll up your sleeves and do it yourself. Toilets will need to be scrubbed. A/Cs will need to be turned on the night before. Floors will need to be swept and that gap of unpainted wall at the top by the ceiling will need to be painted. And its up to you. It’s either your job or up to you to call someone… or the troops…
You need to be uncomfortable in established churches.
This is a hard one to understand, until you find yourself there. I have no problems with established churches… our world needs them. But this world also needs churches that reach those who don’t feel comfortable or feel like outsiders in established churches. If you are comfortable in an established church, then you should probably stay. God will use you there. But if something doesn’t sit right, and your heart goes out to those who feel like outsiders within an established church… then God can use you in church plants.
You need to be flexible (and have an imagination)!
I do not how much more to lay this out, then to repeat myself. You need to be flexible or in leadership terms: adaptable.
Church planting does not go by the book of established churches. An early church plant will not have an unlimited children’s resource closet, more than likely no kitchen, and probably not even an office. If you can’t imagine running a church without these things… then… well… maybe you should ask yourself some tough questions.
You must be willing to change your worship set last minute, call up a volunteer an hour before service to ask them to help cover the nursery, and most importantly… you must have an imagination to make the most of something that seems dire. You must have an endurance that doesn’t make sense to the normal Christian. When things seem disastrous… you must have a “pick-up-and-continue” kind of attitude.
You need to love people. Like really love people! Not just say you do.
You must have a heart for those who are dirty. And when I say dirty– I mean all kinds of dirt. Literal dirt. Dirty mouths. Dirty jokes. Dirty hearts. If you cannot imagine giving a hug to a child who hasn’t bathed in awhile, walking up to someone who simply terrifies you and carrying on a conversation, or listening to an adulterer’s story… then examine your heart for planting.
Your heart must ache for those that need to know of Christ’s love, no matter who or where they’ve come from.
The world can be a messy place. I am reminded of this as I sit, PJs still on, barefoot and non-showered at 10:44 a.m. on a Thursday morning…. as I work on our family’s budget. OUCH.
‘We’ve got to start doing the envelope system again…’ I think to myself as I stand, balancing my laptop and my lukewarm cup of decaf green tea. I hear my middle son scream at the top of his lungs and then a “THUMP” echoes down the hallway. I pause, waiting to see if there’s going to be backlash… but there is none. I sigh, move my laptop and tea to a higher, out-of-the-reach-of-the-baby location and head to the laundry room, to once again stumble over mounds of laundry (piles after endless piles of laundry…).
One of the many faces of my Middle Heart
My life has become a large wad of lost socks, muddy shoes, and crumbs on the kitchen floor (… and table…and the counter… and yes, my middle child’s bed sheets). Boogers, crusty dishes, soggy dog food, unfinished landscaping, and Legos… are EVERYWHERE. (Seriously. I just found some in my closet. Legos, not boogers. I mean- come on!!!)
I never thought these phrases would come out of my mouth… and yet, it has happened.
– “Please, let me poop in PEACE!”
– “ DO YOU KNOW HOW TO WHISPER???!!!!????”
– “Do you want the dog to eat your face off?”
– “Oh no! He’s eating dirt again…”
At the end of the day, as I sit here writing this blog, I find myself recalling the bad, the ugly… but most importantly, the beautiful parts of my day. That moment, when my ornery child, who just seconds ago was wiggling out of his chair at lunchtime, looks full in my face and tells me that he thinks I’m pretty. The rare occurrence when my youngest baby, after a full day of non-stop moving, shaking, walking and crawling, drops his head on my shoulder and snuggles in, waiting for me to sing him his lullaby. And that heart-stopping moment, when I realize that I can see my eldest son’s head bobbing above the high bar counter. How did he get so tall?
He’s so, so tall!
Those moments make me want to hold onto my children, kiss them at every possible second, and enjoy my ride. This wonderful, exhausting, and live-every-moment ride that my boys have brought into my life.
Oh my heart…
So, yes, tomorrow, as I fold yet another basket of laundry, sweep the kitchen floor for the 100,000th time, and step on yet, another blue Lego piece, I will be still.
And live in those moments.
They will not last forever.
And no sooner than I can blink, they will be gone… only memories echoing through my mind.
What do we do when we are the center of gossip? How do we go about that?
First, take your injuries to your Heavenly Father who is always waiting for you to run to Him. He is always ready to listen to us; whether we are hurt, excited, or just mediocre.
Second, we must check our pride. Were we hurt by this gossip? If so- why? Was our pride injured?
Third… do nothing. Just wait. If you are innocent, God will redeem you. As a CPW, I have learned that I will never be able to justify myself to those who have chosen to gossip about me. I have to be okay with that. My goodness, it is so hard—and sometimes I wish I could just blurt out the truth LOUD AND CLEAR… but is that my pride wanting everyone to know that I’m innocent of what I’m being accused of?
(Side note) It REALLY stinks when they choose to gossip about your husband. Many don’t realize how much they hurt the spouses of those accused when they gossip about them. “And the two shall become one…” and that is so true in my case. My heart aches… mourns… and is greatly distressed when I hear untrue statements are being circulated about my husband. And even more heart wrenching for me, is that piercing stab in the back when I find that those who are gossiping are a part of the body of Christ… those whom I used to trust… women AND men who decide to become suspicious of us instead of coming to us with their concerns.
Most gossip when it comes to church planting, always comes back to the CP (in my case, my husband.) “He must be planting a church because he just wants to hear himself preach… Why would he plant a church in that town…He doesn’t know how to run a church… He is running it like a business… He is trying to take people from our church to help him plant- why can’t he find other people?… He is so egotistical- he will fail… let’s just wait and see what happens.”
These are just some of the things that will circulate. In fact, I feel as though I should sometimes put out a paper with all the gossip before it comes out of their mouths! LOL. The next headline? “THE UNSACRED BUILDING UP OF A CHURCH PLANT.” (Ha, ha! Totally makes me laugh inside… just a smidge. Hee, hee.)
All kidding aside, gossip is spiteful, vindictive and oozing with pride. Please, don’t participate in it; run away as fast as you can! And if you find yourself wanting to say hateful and prideful things, ask Jesus to change your heart. He may just be waiting for you to ask Him.