I tell church planters “If you can’t show someone the door and go home and sleep well that night, you shouldn’t plant.”
One of the things we’ve learned over the years is that planting a church is hard, lonely work. If you can’t let criticism run off you back like water on a duck and aren’t able to tell people to leave and not come back, the odds are you can’t be a successful church planter.
When doing a church planter boot camp I have so much fun saying “To be a successful church planter you have to be able to show contentious people, or people who want to do church their way rather than your way, the door and don’t let it hit you in the butt, you cant be a successful church planter” and then watch the expressions on their face. It blows some away. Others it will offend and alienate.
In order to be able to show someone the door, and it not bother you, you must have three things.
- Clarity of what you’re called to do. You must be called to plant a church. That means that planting a church requires so much of you that you’ll fail if you don’t feel as if planting is something that God wants you to do.
- Clarity about who you are. Church planting takes so much out of you that you must be clear about who you are and what you really value.
- A big heart for people. If you have a big heart for people, you are able to show someone the door and not feel bad because you know you have taken the first step in helping that person know that their behavior isn’t civil.
Holding people accountable isn’t mean; it’s helping them grow. Allowing someone to get away with all manner of mean spirited actions is being unfaithful to the Gospel.
Let’s all remember that Jesus showed Judas the door at that last supper and he was one of the most gracious persons who ever walked this earth. Why did do that? Not because it was foreordained, but because the journey he was on was too important to allow anyone to get in the way by grumbling. In church planting the saying “It only takes one rotten apple to spoil the barrel” is true multiple times over. We have never seen a church turnaround that didn’t lose some people in the beginning. The same is true with church planting. You must be prepared for telling some people to leave and not come back until they get their spirit right.
If you feel uncomfortable with what I’ve said in this blog, perhaps you shouldn’t plant.