PlantingI know. Risky headline. You’d think that by launching out on a new venture such as church planting, that we’d be begging for people to come alongside us and join up. But the contrary is true. While we want to reach thousands of people for Jesus (by God’s grace), we also want to make sure that, in the initial stages, believers who want to help us want to do so for the right reasons.

I ran across a good list by Justin Buzzard, a church planter in San Jose, of the top ten reasons you might not want to join a new church plant. The list hits the target (my reflections are in parentheses)…

  • If you’re looking for the next cool thing in town.
  • If you’re a Christian and you don’t like your current church (chances are you eventually won’t like ours either).
  • If you have a bad track record at churches of being unteachable and causing problems (You need to grow where you are before carrying those attitudes somewhere else).
  • If you’re a consumer wanting to “go to church” once a week for a nice show (the “show” on Sunday barely scratches the surface of what it means to be a church).
  • If you want religion (We’ll be about relationships, not rules or rituals).
  • If you have an agenda (We have our vision, our mission, and our values – your private agenda does not supersede them).
  • If you’re a wolf.
  • If you think this will be a nice little church that stays the same size, where everybody knows your name and you have my cell number on speed dial and we have a picnic lunch together every week (It will always be about Jesus first, others second, and self last).
  • If you think this will be easy and smooth (This will be hard and difficult; this will be a fight, a battle, a challenging mission).
  • If you want to hold onto your comfortable life (Church planting is quite uncomfortable – a wild ride, an extreme challenge).

David Livingstone once wrote the mainland from his missionary post and asked for help. The return letter stated that quite a few young people were interested in coming, but wanted to know if there were roads leading to where David was serving. David wrote back, “I only want young men who will come if there are no roads at all.”

So, if you shouldn’t join a new church plant because it’s easy, fashionable, or cool, then why should you consider being part of a new church plant? My reasoning would be…

  • If you are ready to join God in reaching people who haven’t been reached before, don’t always act like “churched” people, and have messy lives sometimes.
  • If you’re okay with the idea of starting with no building, few members, little money, and sparse resources. In other words, if you’re daring enough to take a big leap of faith.
  • If you’re humble enough and teachable enough to put all of your personal preferences about what kind of church feels good to you on an altar to die.
  • If your current church leadership is supportive of the idea and is willing to send you with their blessing into this new initiative.
  • If God has specifically tapped you on the shoulder, leading you to be a part of expanding His kingdom through church planting.

If that’s you, contact me.

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