Tomorrow marks a year since I finished at Richview and began the process of planting a church. It’s been both the most exciting and the most difficult year of my ministry so far.
A year in, here are the four most profound lessons I’ve been learning.
- Spiritual attack is real. I wasn’t prepared for the intensity of attack in the past year. Our family has been through some intense periods of suffering. I’ve been learning the truth of what Spurgeon once said: “When you sleep, think that you are resting on the battlefield; when you walk, suspect an ambush in every hedge.” Church planting is a battle.
- Idolatry is rampant. I can’t wait to read Jared Wilson’s forthcoming book The Pastor's Justification: Applying the Work of Christ in Your Life and Ministry. The reason: it’s so tempting to find my justification in ministry, either past ministry at Richview or my current performance as a planter. Of course, my justification can only be found in the finished work of Christ, but I’m often tempted to look elsewhere.
- Busyness is a struggle. I honestly thought I would have more time than when I pastored an established church. Was I ever wrong. I am currently recalibrating my schedule because the work is so intense, and things can get out of control very quickly.
- Planting is an overflow of one’s relationship with Christ. Adam Sinnett told me this, and he’s right. “Fight to remain Jesus-centred, not planting-centred,” he told me. “It is easy to make planting the focus, and miss God.” It’s probably the best advice I heard all year.