As pastors over the past few decades, we have seen a lot of really great leaders come and go. In the Vineyard, we have always been taught to hold our leaders open-handedly. We’ve discovered that by being the kind of people who will not only invest in others, but also be willing and eager to send out your very best in church planting, you will actually get to work with even more exceptionally gifted leaders over the long haul. So even though it sometimes feels painful, we will continue to send out our very best.
Here are a few observations from our experience:
In Church Planting – Send Out Your Best
1. It is, and always will be, a sacrifice.
Investing in leaders and sending them out to pursue their dreams demands sacrifice on our part. You invest lots in helping them discover who they are and in training and equipping them. Along the way you begin to wonder how you’ll ever accomplish what God has called you to do without them! We’ve discovered that God is big enough to meet our needs along the way as we continue to hold others with an open hand. Every single time church planting like a sacrifice and every single time God has been faithful to us.
2. When leaders leave it’s healthy to feel something.
The first few weeks after sending out someone you’ve deeply invested in, you will feel stuff! It might be grief, anxiety, or worry. When you have discipled and prayed for and cried with a leader as they’ve developed, it is normal to feel some hurt when they leave. You’ve loved them, cared for and about them, and enjoyed doing ministry alongside them.
If you hold onto that hurt and pain, it will eventually harden you to sending anyone else and sometimes, it can even keep you from investing in the next generation of potential leaders. To live in the fear of that hurt will make you hold leaders too tightly. Instead, we called to help these potential leaders develop and grow, giving them absolutely everything we have so that they can effectively embrace Christ’s invitation for themselves. Learn to embrace the “empty nest” as a normal part of life, but don’t let it stay “empty” for too long. There are many more potential leaders right around the next corner.
3. It’s the nature of the kingdom for this thing to multiply.
When you send out a new church plant, it’s true, you will initially lose leaders, attenders, and finances from the mother church. Sometimes you’re sending out a whole team of people to give this new church a healthy start. It can feel scary and painful, but this is the way multiplication happens. You will now have the opportunity to invest in and disciple a whole new group of people.
It’s the nature of the kingdom that the local church multiplies. The church is a beautiful picture of who God is, and since he doesn’t keep his flourishing life to himself, neither should we. By being willing to freely encourage our best leaders to take what they’ve learned and go to the next neighborhood, we get to participate in what God is doing in a whole new group of people’s lives—we see the transformation and healing and renewal and community that flows from the gospel keep right on going. How sweet is that?
This article about sending your best for church planting originally appeared here, and is used by permission. The Vineyard is a global movement of 2400+ churches with 600+ of those in the United States. Multiply Vineyard exists to support Vineyard church planting throughout the U.S. Learn more here.