6. I would not plant two hours away from my hometown or home church.
We planted two and a half hours away from my hometown and the church that sent us, which meant no one went with us. I read some bad info in my 20s that said a church planter should plant a minimum of 100 miles away from their home church. We know today that was written by someone who was territorial not apostolic.
7. I would not have quit.
When I meet with church planters today, I encourage them not to quit like I did. Good things will happen if you are persistent, but you have to stay encouraged. I allowed myself to become discouraged.
8. I would not have launched prematurely.
Our family experienced five major life changes in a one-year period. We moved to a different city, we purchased our first home, we got new jobs, the kids went to different schools, and we decided to pull off the biggest challenge of all on top of that in planting a church. Dumb. I should not have launched right away, and in fact that was the plan, but I got impatient. I’m pretty good at that.
9. I would have partnered with a church that had a real vision to plant churches.
I can’t stress how important this is. There is a big difference between a supporting church and a sending church. A supporting church keeps you afloat, a sending church buys you the boat! You need a church behind you that’s all in. If you fail, they fail; if you succeed, they succeed. There are many ways to approach partnership, but your sending church should have a vision and proven strategy to plant churches.
10. I would have asked my wife more questions.
Amy has been a constant supporter of me the last 22 years of our marriage and 20 years in ministry. There is no way anyone can last in ministry without a spouse who is called to ministry. Somehow I think I took on more responsibility than was required. I should have shared more of it with her. Not that I didn’t include her, but I think when things got tough I isolated myself and tried to do it all by myself “come hell or high water.” Pride doesn’t always boast and shout, sometimes it isolates and manifests itself in a spirit of independence. I may have had a form of pride in my life that caused me to internalize too much.
After we closed the church plant, I went through the two most difficult years of my life. I think if I would have done some things differently, we either wouldn’t have planted, or we would have waited until we were better prepared. I’m still a planter at heart, and I’m excited to be a part of my third church planting team experience with Jesus Culture Sacramento. I’m sure I’ll be writing a post in the future about 10 things we did right!
If you are a church planter, what is something you would have done differently?