As church planters, it’s easy to feel like a failure. It’s easy to look at the other church. It’s easy to get discouraged when we hear stories of other church plants that are running 500, 1,000, heck, 5,000 people after just 1, 2 or 3 years of existence. But what we must understand is this…for every one of these exploding churches, there are 100 or more church plants that don’t “explode”. The majority of church plants are slow growing, heart-wrenching, no money having, labor of love. The majority of church plants struggle to year 5 and then either turn the corner and continue to grow, or close their doors. It reminds me of a quote I read. “If at first you succeed, try to hide your astonishment!”. I’m by no means an expert, but here are (hopefully) a few words of encouragement from a fellow pastor.
- Be content with who you are. There is only one Andy Stanley, only one Craig Groeschel, etc. Be the best you, you can be.
- Stop the comparing game. This is easier said than done. Be happy where God has placed you and if you can’t be, then leave, but the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. Bigger ,more “successful” churches have most of the same problems you do, just with more zero’s at the end.
- Love and Minister to your people. Sometimes in our focusing on those people we don’t have, we fail to love, minister to and invest in the people God has placed under our care.
- Focus on listening to God. Your ministry, your church might not look just like someone elses. God might want you to do something different than an Elevation Church, a North Point, a Saddleback. Churches aren’t made in bulk, they are made to order. You can glean some principles from other ministries, but get alone with God and listen to what He is telling you to do.
- Remember, you are never a failure in God’s eyes if you do you best for Him. Even if your church has to shut it’s doors. Even if your church doesn’t meet it’s budget. Even if….If you pursue passionately the dream and vision God has placed in your heart, you can never fail (even if the church doesn’t work).