I’ve observed many planters, especially those with young children, while they are experiencing the thrill of a new calling, their spouse is changing diapers during the day. If the planter isn’t careful, totally unintentionally, he will appear to overemphasize his role and diminish the wife’s role. (That could be vice-versa depending on the roles in the plant.) This can happen just in language or the things you celebrate each day. Don’t get so distracted by the plant that you aren’t equally excited when your 18-month-old learns a new trick.
It is important to remember each spouse’s role is equal in importance and value in the process of planting.
I talk with so many who feel they are called to church planting, but can’t discern where they are supposed to plant. Many are looking for a location. A specific address. The exact right building, in a certain city, on the right side of town. I get that too. You want to know where God wants you to be.
Unless you have clear direction or clear indication not to go somewhere, my advice is simply to plant where you land. Seek opportunities that appear to be open doors and pray for clarity, but if God doesn’t intervene or interrupt, plant. Plant where you land, where you see a great need, where your heart seems to take you. You can follow your gut if you’re following Jesus.
I learned this principle in a very practical way. At one point, I felt my “calling” was to plant a church in New York City. Cheryl and I love the city. We had heard of the great need. (The need is great.) We visited the city to pray. I walked the streets of the Upper West Side of Manhattan and talked with God. I said, “God, if you want me to plant a church here, give me an overwhelming love for these people.”
In a rare time of hearing clearly from God, I sensed God say, “Ron, (I love that He knows my name) as long as you have a heart for me, you will have a heart for people; wherever you are.” I believe God released me to plant, plant where there are people who need to be reached.
I think God may call you to an exact location. He may even give you a clear address. He may have one exact building in mind. But many times, He may give you some latitude in your selection. Certainly in the precise location within your city. People seem to need Jesus everywhere I go.
We actually switched sides of town this way. In both plants. An opportunity for meeting space came available that we didn’t expect. With this previous “New York” encouragement from God, as a planter, I felt freed to follow opportunities as they came rather than wait for God to write something in the sky. We moved quickly. It changed our focus area, some of the church demographics, but both have proved to be definite wise moves in the years that followed.