2. Failure is overstated, but most failure comes from personal issues.
After decades of observing church planters I’ve seen failure over and over again. You may have heard someone say that 80 percent of church plants fail in the first year—well, that’s wrong; it’s misinformation. I’ve talked with the people who came up with the statistic, and they know it’s wrong and they don’t even use it anymore.
What we discovered, though, is most failed church plants are related to personal issues. The stress cracks that exist in many marriages—already present before planting—tend to be magnified after planting. I’ve learned that you have to manage yourself, pastor your family and prioritize the personal things in order to avoid failure.
Other personal issues can include an inability to manage money, anger issues, adultery, Internet porn and ignoring one’s kids. The list is endless, but each one is a prospective ministry killer.
3. Conferences can inspire and undermine you at the same time.
Great stories at conferences are inspirational, but whenever you hear those great stories the temptation is to think that they’re normal. So the next time you go to a conference, please don’t compare yourself to those outliers that planted and grew their church to 6,000 people in three years. The normal experience in church planting is under 100 people in attendance the first four years. Remember this: Church planting is a long, hard slog that leads to some beautiful and wonderful results—just don’t let conferences become illusions that distract you from the real and wonderful thing.