The important thing…

Yesterday I spent a couple of hours alone in a local park.

Sometimes the most spiritual thing we can do is to get away from the busyness, go to a quiet spot and just listen.

Yesterday I listened.

As I listened, I “heard” these words, “It’s more important to be a man of God than it is to be a church planter.”

Let me explain.

Preparing to start/plant a church is an incredible experience. The planter is required to:

  • Have a vision from God of what the church will look like
  • Build a team to help him/her start the church
  • Raise the funds needed to finance the church
  • Develop systems to carry out the work of the church
  • Create a marketing strategy to let people know about the church
  • Etc.

And this is in addition to:

  • Finding a building
  • Purchasing equipment
  • Building relationships with other pastors and church leaders
  • Building relationships in the community
  • Preparing sermons
  • Devising strategies and executing them
  • Etc.

And this is in addition to:

  • Nurturing spiritual, physical, emotional, and relational vitality
  • Caring for his/her family
  • Etc.

OK, you get the point… being a church planter, like so many other callings/vocations, requires a lot from the individual.

I have realized that it is possible to become so consumed with the church you are planting that you fall in love with the IDEA of church and forget the LORD of the church.

Your passion for the church consumes you. Your passion for the mission drives you. The vision of what your church will be puts a fog on everything else in your life.

Am I guilty of that? Yes.

I have allowed the church to become an idol. I have allowed the church to consume my attention and love to the extent that it is normal for my mind to be consumed with strategies, leadership paradigms, fundraising techniques, etc.; normal to the point of spiritual deficiency.

So yesterday, in a moment of conviction, I repented and renewed my allegiance to my first love, the savior and leader of my life, Jesus Christ.

The most important thing is NOT planting a church.

It is possible to plant a church and be an ungracious, driven to the point of being mean, self-centered jerk. The bottom line is, you can plant a church and be far from God. You can plant a church without God.

Therefore planting a church is NOT the most important thing.

The most important thing is being a man/woman of God.

Be a man or woman of God FIRST and then do whatever He calls you to do.

Yesterday I realigned my priorities… back to what they have been in the past and must be in the future if God is to be pleased with me.

Today, He is #1.

13 thoughts on “The important thing…

  1. Thanks for some real, honest, practical thoughts! Although I would add that the list of church planter “things” doesn’t have to be set in stone like that. Tim Keel from Jacob’s Well in KC did things way different and is doing great!

    I think that’s why your conclusion about being a woman or man of God needs to be the priority, scratch that, needs to be our life. If we are following him and the community we are with is following him, a unique church will emerge. Yes, it will take hard work, there is no denying that. The key is to let him lead, not to create a path and hope that Jesus is somewhere down there waiting for us.

  2. Awesome!
    I think most pastors have either been there or come perilously close.

    …to have the simplicity of just knowing Him….and then letting God fill in the details.

  3. Good stuff, man…I can’t tell you how happy I am to read this…your lack of idol worship will set you apart from many church planters out there.

  4. Well said Paul.

    A home without a heart is empty, no matter what the decor. Luckily your church is filled with heart, soul and spirit. It is refreshing, and inspiring, to see such thought put into your life and your connection to spirit. I think sometimes we all lose sight of what’s truly imortant. But God is always there to help us refocus as long as we’re aware that we may need a shift in perspective.

    I also believe that things like this happen to us so we can help others. So it’s really a gift.

    Thank you for sharing.

    Peace,

    Joey
    http://www.daddybrain.wordpress.com

  5. Paul,
    I wonder if you want to add into your systems for the executive team a once a month two-hour visit to the park! An Afternoon-Away-With-God (A-AWG) is a great refresher spiritually and helps give the margin that we need to keep going with the right drives (God’s glory, not mine).
    Did you journal while you were listening?
    Mike

  6. As I was reading your experience ,The Lord put on my heart the garden of Gethsemane. Do a Concordance word search on Gethsemane and you will be blessed!

    Press on

    Beth

  7. Great idea and wonderful post. I like the and do whatever He call us to do. It can’t be on our terms but His. I love your honesty. You’re a blessing.

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