Starting a new church—or strengthening any church—includes leaning into the obvious. I don’t mean quietly accepting the obvious. I mean Lean into it. OK, so you don’t have a building, a strong student ministry or high quality video and sound. Talk about it directly. It’s obvious to everyone. Challenge people to see something else. Challenge them to see what will be.
Church leaders absolutely must see the future and share it with passion. If they fail to compel people to see a strong future, then the church already is toast. Why? Because the church rises and falls on the quality of its leadership. A core leadership quality is getting people to see what is not yet. (Of course, after people see what you see, then you must deliver the vision to reality.)
A few objections and answers:
Objection: You don’t have a building of your own. I need a church that already has a building.
Answer: Right, we don’t have a building of our own. Maybe someday we’ll have a building and it’ll be used to honor the Lord. You can help us get there. And then you’ll look back and say, ‘I helped the church. Those were amazing days.’
Objection: You don’t have much of a ministry to students. I need a church that already has that.
Answer: You’re right. Someday we’ll have a really strong ministry for students. But we’ll help you disciple your sons and daughters. For now, you and your family get the privilege of working to plant a church that honors the Lord. And then you’ll look back and say, ‘I helped the church. Those were amazing days.’
Objection: You don’t have very good video during your services and the sound quality really isn’t great. I need a church that already has that.
Answer: Right, we don’t have very good video. And audiophiles are disappointed. But we expect to get there. And you can help us. And then you’ll look back and say, ‘I helped the church. Those were amazing days.’
Maybe you really want to say, Shut up! Quit being such a baby. Stop whining and being so selfish. Give something instead of only taking. (Nah, don’t say that.)
So, planters and pastors building a stronger church need to lead eyes away from what is not yet and help people see what will be. Church planters need spiritual pioneers, the brave souls who get it.
At the same time, there always are people who throw doubts on the work. Maybe this is good answer for them: If you can’t see what we’re trying to build, then don’t help us. But you’ll miss the blessing that comes with throwing yourself into building the Lord’s church. If you do join us, you’ll look back and say, ‘I helped the church. Those were amazing days.’