For want of a skillful strategy an army is lost; victory is the fruit of long planning. ~ Proverbs 11:14 (NEB)
READING: Luke 14:27-33
It was quite an adventure to plant a church as a newlywed student. Far from my home in Brazil, I was going to Bible College in North Carolina at the time. Many of the fine local churches were reaching specific language groups such as the Spanish, Chinese and Vietnamese-speaking. But there weren’t any local churches for Portuguese-speaking people, so I decided to plant one.
My first strategy was to hold a service in Portuguese to attract the Brazilian community. I was impressed with the number of people that showed up at what we called “Christmas Celebration.” We had another meeting at Easter. I was under the mistaken impression that being able to organize a special celebration for a few dozen people meant I was ready to plant a church.
As time passed, these people demanded more attention than I was able to give them. The new converts needed discipleship and I wasn’t available for that. Some families requested pastoral care when I was either taking classes or working at my secular job. I thought everyone would be satisfied just to listen to a sermon in their mother language on Sunday. I would have been happy to delegate these vital tasks of discipleship, visiting and teaching if only I’d had a team to share the load.
Some lasting good came of my efforts and my heart was in the right place. But, in hindsight, I see that I planted that church prematurely. Perhaps this church would still be alive today had I waited for proper training and preparation before launching such a big project.
Father, I am sorry for taking more responsibility in ministry at times than I can handle. Show me how to honor you by doing everything with excellence. Amen.
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