My church began just over 5 years ago with 30 people in a backyard of my pastors house. Since then we have met at 4 different locations (one house and 3 schools), as we have seen good growth occur. The student ministry program too has met in 3 different locations (houses and rented facilities), and has had to ‘set up’ and ‘tear down’ every week just like ‘big church’ does. In March, all that changes for us…
That’s when we get to move into a renovated office/warehouse building that will become our permanent home for church and student ministry. We never originally thought that we would buy and renovate so soon, but, being in Southeast Michigan we have seen many businesses move away and this facility was a great opportunity for us…
As we build and renovate this facility I have learned that 5 years of not having a full-time facility has allowed us to focus more on the people and less on a building. Sure, we have a place to meet and we have to set up and tear down every week, but the reality is that we cannot keep up with some of the amazing things that other churches do. Instead we have been forced to think and act simply. The results are: strong relationships with students, healthy growth in depth and numbers, and many many students who have been recruited to do ministry in a church plant situation.
Someone once said, (I don’t have much of brain to remember who), that planting a church is like trying to build an airplane as it is rolling down the runway for take-off. I think that is a good analogy! Can you visualize what that might look like? I can right now… a bunch of guys and gals frantically working to put the pieces together that will ensure a safe takeoff… Can you imagine the urgency on their faces as they bolt things together?
But here’s my question:
What are their priorities to get done first?
The most important things?
Do you think they worry about the video system in the plane, or the comfort of the seats, or the color of the interior? Nope… They are concerned with getting the plane to take-off safely, (and of course), land safely too :o)
Being in a church plant has forced me to consider what matters most as I partner with great leaders to build a ministry. But it hasn’t always been this way… If you are like me, I have ministered at churches where I have got hung up on stuff that was not so important. Stuff that could best be described as ‘youth ministry fluff’. I have to confess that I have often spent too much time comparing my youth room with another church, or wishing I had more stuff or better space etc… Are you like me? Come on… let’s be honest :o)
In my time here so far, I have been blessed to see that ‘stuff’ and ‘facilities’ only go so far to reaching and keeping students coming. What they desire (and need), goes so much deeper. I am so thankful for learning this lesson, and it is my goal to keep reminding myself of this as we move in March.
I hope this is an encouragement to you as you reach and equip students. I hope you can relax and invest in what matters most and build a solid foundation wherever you are.