July 20, 2011

Serving the Core Team in a Church Plant

In my last post, one of our core team members, Marylyn, shared about her experience with church planting.

Today, she continues answering my questions:

(I did not mean for this to turn into the Christine show. Please look past that at how you can encourage ladies on your core team.)

From the core team member's perspective, what advice would you give the church planter's wife?

Invest in your marriage. I know Christine has said it but I’ll say it again. Connect regularly with your spouse.  If you don’t have family in the area, enlist church members to baby sit.  I love opportunities I get to hang out with the Hoover boys by myself; it is a blessing to know and love them well. 

Ask for prayer.  We want to know when you’re struggling and desire to lift you up in prayer and support you as best as we can. Let us intercede for you, especially when times are tough.

It’s OK to say no.  It’s so hard to say no, especially when your church is small and the fear is that if you don’t do something, no one will. But every time I have admitted that I need help, God has graciously provided someone to step in and help.  Saying no allows God to work and to do the work through somebody else.  It’s humbling and so good for us.

How can the church planter and his wife best minister to those on the core team?

Invest in your core team.  Christine and her husband know and love me well, which has made this experience so rewarding for me.  Christine affirms my struggles but also encourages me with truth; I walk away from our time together refreshed and rekindled in my love for Jesus. 

Pray for them.  I am always encouraged when Christine tells me that she has been praying for me.  Because she knows me well and Jesus well, I know that her prayers are powerful and effective. 

Encourage them in discipleship.  I think it’s easy for church planters to get so caught up in doing the multitude of other things that need to get done, but discipleship is the most effective way to reach your city and is mutually beneficial. 

Know when to encourage them to step up and when to encourage them to step back.  One of the most encouraging phone calls I’ve received from my pastor was his exhortation that it was OK for me to stop serving in a role I had been serving in from the beginning.  Especially when it seems like if you don’t serve in this area, it won’t get done, it is so encouraging to hear that God will provide in areas that I had been serving in.  It’s always good to be reminded that it is not about me.

If you are praying about becoming a part of a core team of a church plant, I will leave you with this. Apart from issues that have arisen with my family, this has been the hardest thing that I have ever done.  But it has also been the most rewarding thing that I have done.  I love our church so much and have grown to experience rich, deep community and the goodness of our God, and I would not trade that for anything.