Updated: Jun 18, 2019
Church planting in the United States is not for the faint of heart. Add in a 2nd culture and you can forget the faint of heart... Difficult is an understatement. Well, why are you doing it then if there are so many other places that need churches too, with cultures far less difficult to understand? Honestly, I have no idea but I do know that God called us to this community and these people! And for us... That is enough.
We have been reading Ed Stetzer's book on missional church planting and a phrase stood out to me the other day... Stetzer was eloquently mapping out the keys to changing consumers of your church plant into part of your team. He states, "As a church planter, the goal is to get people off the sidelines moving them from FAN to PLAYER. For us, we are in a constant state of getting people to the "next level." We are always meeting people to get them into church, we are discipiling people that come to church to accept the salvation God promises us through Jesus, and of course we are getting people in church to be involved and beginning to disciple others. It is hard but so rewarding. The constant key for us is not to lose the fact that we are doing this for God who in reality, doesn't need our help.
"As a church planter, the goal is to get people off the sidelines moving them from FAN to PLAYER."
We often got hung up on numbers. Out of the gate, our first service had around 17 people. We were nominally excited. That was a good start but we wanted to see God move far more to our place of worship. From there we have grown to over 30 at times and average a little over 20 on any given Saturday. That is exciting but I myself would be down at times because it wasn't 60 or 100 people. In reality, God never uses any specific numbers for a church in any of the Gospel. We are called to preach the word and make disciples... Not count the visitors!
We often got hung up on resources. I remember the first time we took offering/received a tithe early on in our Saturday services. I was all excited to see what had come in and as I opened our lockable wooden box was sorely disappointed. There was less then $3,000 COP, which represents right around $1.00 US. Well, that was disappointing I remember. However, I quickly learned that it isn't about the money, it isn't about the count of people and it certainly isn't about my 'perceived' success of the sermon.
We are lucky. We have a dedicated group of people that show up every week to help us setup. Currently the church meets in our backyard because honestly it is the cheapest space we could find. Plus, it doesn't hurt we can store all of our chairs and audio/visual equipment in the same place without having to crate them all over the place. We have a really cool atmosphere (check out the pics below) that gives people a relaxed place to focus on God and His teachings.
The hours of setup it takes on Saturdays (we have a nontraditional service time as it is easier for our congregation to meet), the organizing of things during the week, and the hours of practice are all worth it when our little family of people get together to learn, praise and just hang out. The moments we get to experience of real life changes are so cool. Our team is beyond blessed to get the opportunity.