June 14, 2011

The Gift of Church Planting

God is writing the story of the gospel in and through you, no matter who you are. I thought about that yesterday after writing to church planting wives about remembering our calling and His faithfulness. The struggle to do something bold and new or to trust God to act is not exclusive to church planters or their wives; it is the common pursuit of all believers as we seek to follow the Lord.

Nonetheless, as church planting wives, it is our specific calling: to go, to trust, to support and encourage our husbands as they break up hard ground.

I admit that I have not always embraced this calling. In the preparation phase, giddy with excitement and full of big faith, I understood this calling as a privilege. I was going to get to see God move in an up close and personal way--Yay! Then we moved across the country, set up shop, invited the few people we knew (only 2 of whom showed up that first day), and reality slapped me across the face. I wanted to reprimand God, but sensing that might be inappropriate, I had a pity party instead. You called me here. I was obedient. And this is the thanks I get? 

Like a two year old, I crossed my arms and whined: This is too hhhaaaaardddd. Why do I have to do this and so-and-so doesn't? Why can't we be the church with immediate, explosive growth? Why ME? Why this way? Why, why, why. 

Like I said, I didn't always embrace the calling. I still sometimes just want to be normal, whatever normal is. But when I uncrossed my arms, stopped pointing an accusing finger at God, and turned the frown upside down, I remembered my original thought that church planting was a privilege and an exciting and honorable calling. Perhaps, if I just had eyes to see it, God was giving me a gift.

I don't know how you feel today about this unique calling. It's full of difficulties and obstacles, no doubt. But your calling to be a church planting wife is also a gift, a gift that many don't get. Here's how it's been a gift to me:

  • I can honestly say I've done something that requires faith.
  • Because I've done something that requires faith, I've seen how God comes through (countless times).
  • I can relate to biblical characters like Abraham, Moses, Peter, and Paul in their fears and their reliance on God. At the beginning, I felt like I was living in the book of Acts. How cool is that?
  • I'm being broken of self-reliance, performance, and pride. I have learned what it means to depend and how utterly in need of Him that I am.
  • I have watched my husband fulfill the calling on his life, fulfill his leadership potential, and grow in his dependence on the Lord.
  • I get to be an influencer and a connector for the sake of the gospel within my church and my community.
  • The Lord has built an incredible group of people into a church. I absolutely LOVE the people He has given us.
  • I love the church He has built. We would go to it even if we didn't have to. 
  • My kids are known, loved, and nurtured because of church planting. They have also experienced first-hand the incredible power of God.
I so often focus on the hard stuff, but miss the blessings entirely. Church planting is our gift to receive, open, and enjoy. May God remind you of the joys in it today!

Please encourage us! How has church planting been a privilege and a gift to you?