There’s a high value on transparency these days… or so we say. Often though, transparency is one of two extremes: 1) I suck and here’s a list of things I suck at…” or 2) I’m a roaring success and here’s a list of my wins.”
In my mind, transparency is genuine when we can talk about our successes without being arrogant, and our hard times without being defeated.
I often wrestle with whether or not to process this church planting journey out loud. The good times… they’re easy to share! The tough times… they’re not so easy to share. Why? Because common responses to the sharing of hard times include:
- Pity (You poor soul. You must feel awful… Ohhhhh… let’s hug and cry together.)
- Discouragement (If he/she can’t do it, then how can I do it?)
- Walk away (I can’t support this endeavor any more. It’s like investing in the Titanic.)
Well, today I’m going to take a chance and process out loud. I’m going to be transparent, but I don’t want you to pity me, I don’t want you to get discouraged on your journey, and I don’t want you to check out on mine. I simply want you to realize that the journey (no matter what it is you’re doing) has both good and bad times and I’m just processing through a rough spot in mine. So here we go…
- It’s not easy to start anything new (e.g. a church) AND keep your priorities straight. Starting something new requires so much energy and so many resources. I want Walls Down Church to “succeed” so bad that I’m giving it a disproportionate amount of emotional energy. Probably the priority taking the biggest hit right now is my family. I don’t like that one bit.
- Starting a new church looks sexy until you actually begin… then it’s just hard work! When you work your tail off to connect with people and help them find Jesus and they don’t show up… it sucketh. When you are confident that the big bucks are just around the corner and you take that step and the big bucks aren’t there… it sucketh. When you are sure that you’ve got an all-star getting ready to move to the area to be on the team and he/she feels that God hasn’t given them the green light yet… it sucketh.
- “Money isn’t everything, but it’s right up there with oxygen” Zig Ziglar. Well said Mr. Ziglar. Well said. Over the last two years one of the areas that God has consistently stretched me in is the area of money. I have never desired to be rich, I’ve just wanted to care well for my family. These last two years our income has been a result of people giving because they believe in the dream God has placed on our hearts… a dream of starting a church that will tear down the walls that keep people from the life Jesus promised. Multiple times we have been right on the precipice of broke… multiple times I have thrown my hands in the air and screamed, “I can’t live like this!”… multiple times I have contemplated securing secular employment and making my own way… multiple times God has gently reminded me that He is my Father and has called me to give my life to the church and that HE will do a better job of providing for my family than I could ever… multiple times. I’m still learning to trust Him in the area of finances, but as I journey I’m learning that one of the results of faithful obedience is provision.
Seth Godin, in his book, The Dip, says, “Never quit something with great long-term potential just because you can’t deal with the stress of the moment.” So what shall we say to these “rough spots”? We’re not quitting! We’ll readjust, re-think, refresh, repent, reframe, and re-he-he until the cows come home but we’re not quitting.
Now, some of you may wonder about the nature of this post. I’ve already stated what I don’t want for you to do. Now let me tell you what I’d like for you to do. There are a lot of pastors, church planters, entrepreneurs, small business owners, etc. out there who are feeling similar feelings… they just haven’t stated them out loud. Every time I post something like this I get lots of feedback from people saying things like, “I feel this way too! It’s great to know I’m not the only one! Thanks for going public.” So here’s what I want you to do – go encourage someone who’s “doing it” today! Call them, e-mail them, take them out for lunch, send them a note, babysit their kids so they can take their spouse out for the evening, and the list goes on! Just go do something for that person that encourages them to stay in the game… because it’s worth staying in!
So what are you waiting for? Get outa here and encourage someone! No, seriously… get outa here!