This post is something that is only a tiny part of what I could talk about in regards to the 4 years we spent in the Denver area helping to plant a church. When it went under life changed drastically: we lost friendships, we lost something we had worked so hard for, we lost the thing that our entire existence in Denver was centered around. But with all of that loss I gained so much: a stronger relationship with my husband, the ability to work from home blogging and doing freelance work, and most importantly of all? I gained an even stronger relationship with God. After all the church was and is always his, not mine, and he has blessed the entire Denver area with incredible people that came out of that church plant. People will always fail, but he is steadfast. He gives and he takes away; while I wish that things could have turned out differently at times, life is exactly as it should be right now.
So here are a few things that I’ve learned from helping plant a church, but these are really only scratching the surface. It’s a hard subject and something I plan to talk about more, although there are some very personal details that I won’t be discussing on here. Please feel free to email me if you have questions!
- Planting a church is not some romantic ideal – it’s real life. When we moved to Colorado to plant a church it just sounded so adventurous and crazy and romantic – bringing the Gospel to people who need to hear it, and it would be US helping to do it. While it is romantic in some ways, the real-life aspect is the part that I didn’t think about until I was in the thick of it. You’re talking about reaching people for Christ, talking about their eternal salvation, and living life in an area that’s different from where you lived before. Sometimes people love that you’re there, and other times…not so much.
- Planting a church takes a lot of work. Nate and I were not pastors of our church, but we were leaders within the church. And we worked a lot. Any minute that wasn’t spent at work was usually spent doing something for, building something for, hosting something for, attending something for, talking about, thinking about, and praying about the church. You know what though? It’s not about me. It’s not even about the people we were there to serve. It’s about working for the Lord, and that my friends – that makes it worth it.
- Planting a church made me question the depth of my faith at times. I know how that sounds, but it’s good to question the things we believe. It’s good to wonder. It’s good because it leads to growth, and I have never grown so much in my faith than I did in those 4 years.
- Planting a church forced me to learn a whole new meaning of the word “hospitality.” Our home went from the two of us to being open to everyone, all the time. I had to learn to deal with imperfection – a house that’s not clean, a dog that jumps, only having water to drink. You get the idea. Our house, much like our lives, is far from perfect, but it’s home and there was a lot of fun that was had there.
- Planting a church means relationships. The good, the bad, the ugly, the loving, the beautiful, the tearful, the hurtful, the angry, the conflicted. All of it – and helping to plant a church means that we get to work through it all together. Just because the church under a specific name no longer exists doesn’t mean that those relationships are gone. And because the backbone of all of the relationships is Jesus, it means that those relationships continue to be life-giving and loving. I am so thankful.