Yesterday I talked to a church planter that is struggling. I don't know all the ends and outs of his deal, but he said this to me, "I feel like I am on an island out here all alone." I have been there and could relate to him. He told me that they had been having about 30 people on the weekend and that he was having to work full time somewhere else and do the church thing part time. That's tough! My heart goes out to guys that are in that spot.
When we started Church of the Suncoast back in April of 2006 we were in a little day care. We had 67 at our first service and grew that to the 30's during that first summer. It felt terrible! It felt like if God was in this then it would look very different. But, we held onto the vision. Here are a couple things that came to mind as we talked:
If you are in that spot you have to turn everyone there into a launch team. You throw a date on the wall and tell everyone this is the day we are going to re-launch this church. You cast a big vision, go for the big ask... you ask them to step up and give and serve. You spend some money on marketing and new equiptment, maybe a new location... and you go public with your church once again. We have done this three times now and you will constanly be doing this no matter how big you get. You are always re-launching your church! Some say every six months you need to do this!!!
The second thing that came to mind was you have to get plugged in with other like-minded church leaders in your area. Here in the Tampa Bay area we have the Innovative Network of Churches. It is a group of mostly church planters that know the ups and the downs of starting a church from nothing. You have to get plugged in or you will die on the vine.
I also told this guy that I had one of these moments in Jan. of this year. We were nearing the end of our time at a bad location we got forced into. We were getting ready for our current school, and there was a Sunday I was just done. It just sucked. Since then we have doubled our numbers and have seen a 1/2 dozen people give their lives to Christ. It turns around that fast! That is why you need other people to keep you going!
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