The 2nd 3 F’s of Church Planting

It has been a long time since I felt like writing. And I came across an article I wrote some time ago called “The 3 f’s of church planting” the entire article left me very ‘flat’… you see what I did there? Yeah I know not very ‘funny’… Someone stop me! I’m on fire today! Oh I just noticed I did it again ‘FIRE’! I have been feeling very frail. Not just physically but mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Actually I’m not sure I really understand what ‘spiritually’ really means anymore.

I want to talk about a ‘follow-up’ to my ‘first’ 3 f’s of church planting. That’s it! I am going to do my best not to keep going with the ‘f’ puns. Last time round I wrote about the 3 f’s being ‘fear’, ‘finance’ and ‘failure’. This time around all of those 3 things still stand. But I want to add ‘fragile’, ‘fruitile’ and ‘forceful’ and maybe a forth hehehe ‘funny’.

I suppose the type of church planting you are doing will greatly affect how fragile you feel. For example, if you are of the type who think ‘if we have great worship/music/service/sunday/gathering’ whatever you want to call it, and you don’t have any particularly good musicians… than you could be in for some stress leading to fragility. If you are of the type who thinks church planting is all about the ‘getting outside the building’ and ‘doing evangelism’ and you and or team don’t have a track record of seeing many people come to know Jesus… well once again a ‘bad moon is on the way’. BTW I love that song! If you are of the ilk where you just divide a congregation into two and start over again, but in your divide are the ‘we have no time or money people’… it sucks to be you! There are of course countless over types or models for church planting. But all of them have the same problem. If your expectations are not being meet and you think resources are to blame, or rather lack of resources. You have better stop now unless you want to get old real fast!

Yep I said it! Give up! But notice I said give up if you think resources are to blame! I can’t help but think that church planters should feel ‘fragile’; we should be hanging in there by a thread at times. We should be driven mad by the demands, by the size of the task! If we could fulfil God’s plan just by fielding the right resources then world evangelism would be complete, would it not? Doesn’t every person in church want to see the world ‘won for Jesus’? The cold hard reality is this; if every person who calls themselves a believer actually gave everything in terms of time, money, focus, well the task of world evangelism would be achieved’.

Or would it? Is it as simple as… here is the aim… throw your resources at it… mission accomplished?

I feel fragile just thinking about. If it is that simple, why aren’t we seeing great change? Or is it because we aren’t working towards that goal with everything we have? Once in while I ask myself am I doing everything I can? So once again I am left feeling fragile, because I question myself… Have I done enough? Have I said that if you take on board the mission of the church you will go mad? Mad I tell you (in my evil laugh)! You will feel fragile because you will give everything but you will see that everything is just not enough!

Next thing that can happen when you ask yourself those questions is that fragility can lead to ‘futility’. The number of times I have thought just give up… Just lay down and have a rest and let the task be taken up by some younger person with a thicker head of hair and more trendy glasses. Let someone else a little less fragile take over! By the way I have no problem with someone else taking over, regardless or not if I agree with their hipster ways. As long as they are committed to the ministries of the Church, after all where has my efforts got us? I have got to stop sounding so futile it just increases the fragility!

Ah the next ‘f’ in the vicious cycle of church planting. ‘Forceful!’ Forcefully I say unto you, get up and keep going! (in my best preaching voice)… aka lest whiny voice!

Seriously, at times you have just got to force yourself, because being fragile or thinking it is all futile is helping no one! It is ok to have those feelings but it is not ok to ‘want to stay there’. You have to force yourself to keep going to keep doing that which He calls you to do. It is ok to feel those things, but when you do force them back… not to some dark recess in your mind. But give them to God, say it is bluntly as you like, ‘God this sucks, I am doing what you told me to. But it isn’t working. It has cost me a lot and it will probably continue to bleed me dry. I don’t see a future in it, so you have better do something about it, or I am going to get crazier than what I am already!’

Be forceful, with yourself and with God. He is a big God he can handle it. Beside I am certain He will answer you… You may not like it, but He will answer.

He might even use the same words in which you describe yourself…. He might say, my son became fragile, I let my son die for the world and yet the world does not recognise Him, I understand futility, force, will let’s not talk about force. The greatest force in the world was used in sending Jesus to the cross. Obedience and love!

The final outcome for me is simple. I obey and I love. I will follow the footsteps of the one who went first! Hey, did you notice how many ‘f’ words where in that last sentence?

Now for my favourite ‘f’ ‘funny’. You have to remind yourself ‘hey you are a bit funny for attempting this’. The ‘funny’ one is harder to tackle it is harder to get your head around it. Let me explain. For fun I got back into motorcycle racing. My goal was to be Australia’s fastest fat man. I think I have achieved it. I have yet to see another fat man on the track as fast as me. Truth be told I’m not that fast, but for a fat man… I am very fast!

Pretty soon my trips to the track became more than just something I did for fun. It turned into something I did with others. I started sharing my bike with other blokes. Track days became a chance and or opportunity to do what church planting is all about. Sharing in life together and as a result sharing Jesus.

I have discovered as a church planter, no as a Christian, I have no personal hobbies, no ‘just for me’ things. Because the moment I understood I have something which I want to do and enjoy. I think hey, someone else can benefit from this as well.

So the key to having fun in this church planting journey so far, is to do things which not only you will enjoy, but something you can take others along with for the ride!

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