Before You Plant a Church – Part 1 – Don’t Forget Your First Member

Steph & I - Fall 2013

Steph & I – Fall 2013

The aim of this series is not to discount the power of the Holy Spirit in expanding the Kingdom of God through church planting. I believe that the same power that launched the church in Acts 2 is still at work today. That being said, I think there are a lot of things that need to be considered in keeping with this high calling to plant a church. As I have increasing opportunities to speak to, assess, and coach church planters, I am reminded that if the marriage is not sound, the church is in trouble. If your spouse isn’t on board, you will burn out, and your church will sink.

A few weeks ago I was conducting a church planter assessment for a new planter in the Houston area and when we got to the area dealing with his marriage, he said something that really grabbed my attention. He confessed, “I didn’t realize before we moved down here that my wife wasn’t really on board with the move or with planting the church.” I really wish this was the first time I had heard this, but sadly, it is more common than one might think, and can have some very negative consequences on the marriage. Continue reading

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Before You Plant a Church… An Introduction

Screenshot 2014-04-15 15.15.26A few months ago I was attending a workshop for pastors and was really intrigued by the stories being shared by the pastor who was leading.  He was a church planter whose plant has become a megachurch.  Like so many pastors I know who have grown a church plant in the 10s to several thousands, he had been sharing with us about a deep burn out and depression that he had been through.  This is a recurring theme from pastors that I have had the privilege to learn from over the years, and I began to wonder if this is the result of a high and costly calling, or the result of church planters, like myself, who are so driven that we miss out on some important graces along the way.  I asked the pastor if the mental, physical, familial, and spiritual prices that were commonly being experienced were the cost it takes to plant a ‘successful’ church, and he answered me honestly.  He said, “That’s a good question, and I have no idea.” Continue reading


A ‘Yes’ is Also a ‘No’

Photo by Davide Ragusa

Photo by Davide Ragusa

A few weeks ago, a close friend of mine was treating me to a pork chop lunch at Perry’s.  If you haven’t tried it, you must.  It’s delicious and quite affordable.  This guy is also a pastor and one of my closest friends.  In many ways, he and I are alike, but we are also very different in other ways.  These differences make us stronger, and we complement each other well.

We got onto the subject of money as it pertains to family, ministry, and business (we both are both pastors, but also in businesses).  He is always very honest with me, so while I was sharing with him that we don’t currently have much in the way of savings, he looked at me and said, “Maybe you’re being too generous with your time and your services?”  At first I wanted to become defensive and call him a cheapskate, but he went on, “Whenever you discount prices or do things for free, you are saying ‘Yes’ to them, and ‘No’ to your family.”  WHAM!  That hit me in a way that I had never considered, and it made me sad. Continue reading

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