Twelve years ago, we launched weekly worship services at Mountain Lake Church. Wow. What a ride! God has used me despite my stupidity, and I have learned so much along the way. Here are my top 12 lessons I’ve learned in the last 12 years.
1. Having a vision is easy. Sticking to the vision takes extraordinary discipline and effort.
Every pastor and church has a vision. Every one of them I’ve ever seen is biblical. However, even most church planters get sidetracked from their visions within the first few years. We have stuck to our guns. We’ve been “mean about the vision.” It’s made all of the difference!
2. Conviction and courage are more important than strategy.
My passion and sense of conviction, along with the courage to stay the course, is more important than any brilliant strategy I could come up with that no one has ever done before.
3. No plan’s perfect; so work your plan!
Our ministry plan is not perfect. However, we’ve worked the plan every year for the last 12 years, and every year, we’ve gotten better at what God has called us to do. We don’t have “vision flavor of the month” or “small group method of the year.” We’ve worked our plan. We’ve been consistent in our ministry approach. It’s made all the difference.
4. People come. People go. Go with the Goers.
Don’t focus who’s leaving; focus on who stays. The ones that stay will see the mission through and experience the fruit of mission accomplished! When one leaves, God will bring five to replace them … if we stay focused!
5. God does things the way He wants.
It has almost NEVER happened exactly the way we drew it up. However, that’s the precise thing that has kept us dependent on Him! Proverbs 16:9 (NIV) says: “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.” Prophetic verse in my life these last 12 years! So many times, what I deemed as a failure was God’s sharpening and sovereignty at work in my life and church!