Yesterday, I posted some of my reflections about professional ministry now that I’m on the other side of it. Today I’m posting some of the things I’m learning about church planting while holding down a full-time job.
- The results come much slower (at least at first). We’ve been here almost eight months, and our first (and thus far, only) attempt at seeing a church sprout fizzled. It’s lead to a lot of frustration on my part, but a good frustration. I’ve been forced to recognize the limitations of my time, and the importance of being intentional about all of my time. I’ve also seen my prayers increase in intensity for people and for movements (although I’m looking to improve on this in ’10). There’s often a lot of time between seed sowing and harvest. I’m learning to be patient and take advantage of the opportunities presented to me.
- The sense of urgency really goes up. When I was a professional minister, I thought a lot about making disciples of Jesus because I got paid for it. Now I’m consumed by it. And it’s not because my paycheck depends on it. It’s because I’m trying to let the Holy Spirit ratchet up my intensity.
- I’m free from the “golden shackles.” I never worried about getting fired from the church I planted… because it was the church I planted. But there were times when people (always Christians) complained about the way I would say things or ideas I had for church planting. I don’t have to worry about things like that anymore. I go to a local pub on Monday nights for Monday Night Football. If I wanted to, I could drink a beer and not worry that someone would “go and tell the leaders” and thus be in fear of losing my livelihood. I’m free to go places most conservative Christians will not go and talk to people most Christians wouldn’t dream of talking to about Jesus.
- I’m free to form friendships. A lot of guys I know are so busy “doing ministry” that they don’t have time to really do ministry. I know that was the case for me when I was in professional ministry (granted, I was the only guy on staff). While I’m still very busy with my job, I actually have more time to get to know new people–and go to places where people who don’t know Jesus gather (we just wrapped up Monday Night Football in a local pub, and are now looking at joining a bowling league).
- It’s no longer about “the show.” Pride is a big temptation for guys in professional ministry, and I was no exception. It feels good when people tell you how much they appreciate what you do, and tell you things like, “Without you, I’d have never found God.” Satan loves that stuff, because it sets you up for a big fall. I no longer have to worry about the show of professional ministry.
Those are just a few thoughts. Tomorrow, I’ll wrap up the year with some things I’d like to accomplish in 2010.