Recently I was able to share some encouragement with church planters in Chicago. Having been a planter twice, I understand the unique challenges facing planters. They are constantly struggling with leadership issues, finances and simply knowing what to do next.
I get it. Most of what I know now came from experience and the wisdom of others.
Many of the suggestions I shared are suitable for young leaders in any field.
Here are five words of encouragement:
The more specific you are, the more we can help. Established churches have systems. Processes. Committees. Structure. Too much, you might say, and that’s why you’re planting. But we have budgets that have likely been approved long in advance. The more detailed you can be with what you need the easier it is to meet the need. Otherwise, it seems overwhelming. And don’t be afraid to talk about money. Everyone knows you need it. Just don’t be surprised if help is more readily available in other ways.
Surround yourself with some encouragers. Make sure you have people who speak regularly into your life. People outside the work you’re doing. Some days they’ll keep you going.
Seek your affirmation among the people God sent you to minister to. Great advice someone gave me. You’ll many times feel underappreciated. You may not feel you’re doing any good. You’ll second-guess yourself and your calling. Get back into helping the hurting people, the work—whatever it is—God called you to. Be recharged.
Everything great starts with a humble beginning. Either in your personal humility or the humble beginnings of your work. Take your pick. We all want the grand and instant success. That’s seldom the reality. Those who launch big often had enormous stories of previously being humbled. “Do not despise these small beginnings, for the LORD rejoices to see the work begin” (Zechariah 4:10).
Protect your soul—and your marriage. You have to discipline to decompress. Paraphrase of Jesus: “Come to me all who are stretched, burnt-out, weary and heavy-burdened—I will give you refreshment for your soul.” Live this truth daily. Put it as a regular practice of your life.
God bless you, planter. Leader. Friend.