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Church Planting may take you to a new area where you know few people and have limited experience/scope to guide you.  This has been my experience.  That has pushed me back to the Church Planting documentation in the book of Acts.  In Acts 3:1-8, we journey along with Peter and John fresh off of a life-changing encounter with God that has resulted in the planting of the worlds first mega-church (3000 added in one day!). Here it is in HCSB: 

Now Peter and John were going up together to the temple complex at the hour of prayer at three in the afternoon.  And a man who was lame from birth was carried there and placed every day at the temple gate called Beautiful, so he could beg from those entering the temple complex.  When he saw Peter and John about to enter the temple complex, he asked for help. Peter, along with John, looked at him intently and said, “Look at us.” So he turned to them, expecting to get something from them.  But Peter said, “I don’t have silver or gold, but what I have, I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, get up and walk!” Then, taking him by the right hand he raised him up, and at once his feet and ankles became strong. 

Have you ever worried that you wouldn’t have the resources needed to accomplish the mission/vision of the ministry you lead?  Silver and Gold can seem in very short supply at times.  This didn’t stop Peter and John from ministering.  The lame beggar asked for a hand out as he had on many occasions.  He didn’t get one this day.  Instead, these apostles gave him what they had - Jesus - in a large dose!

How did they deliver this gift? Personal delivery! 

First, they met the man with eye contact and they asked him to look at them.  When Jesus looked at the crowds around Him, He often felt compassion and this seems to be the case with Peter and John.  When we find ourself in new situations and new ministries we must never lose the personal.  We aren’t crunching numbers we are sharing the love of God.  How easy it would have been for these men to check their money bag, realize they didn’t have any extra money, and dismiss the man.  Instead, they made a connection that led to a miracle. 

Second, after they offered the man what they had, they went one step further.  They didn’t just leave the ball in his court.  They put their hand out and offered a real physical help to get him started.  Oh, this is important to any church plant - We must be willing to give a hand up!  Hand-outs may seem fruitless but hand-ups are were we can really show God’s Love. 

Notice that the man’s legs were strengthened after the apostles reached down for him and after he took their help and stepped up in faith.  Our role in God’s Kingdom can be best seen with an outstretched hand. 

No matter your ministry context, the resource of compassion and care must never be in short supply.  If we distance ourself from the personal, those resources will dry up faster than a bank account in Vegas. 

I (Chris) am only four years into my Forever West Journey and many of our planters are even fresher than that! But I can look across our Sunday gatherings and tell a story for more than 75% of our folks about how one person/family has been touched personally by another person/family.  Take a good look at your surroundings and do an inventory of what you’ve got to give.  This may not be what people around you are asking for but it doesn’t mean that isn’t what they truly need.  How can you offer a hand up?

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Today, our family heads to northwest Wyoming to Cowley.  This is where our friends and ministry partners, Johannes and MaryBeth Slabbert, are planting Water of Life Church.  Although I (Chris) have been to Cowley 6 or 7 times during the week, we have never been able to worship with this new church on a Sunday until now.  It is so exciting to get to spend time with folks who are part of this new church...a church that wasn't even in existence only months ago.  

It has been quite a journey for the Slabbert family.  Moving from North Carolina to Casper back in 2015 had to be hard.  They served at WindCity Church as Church Planting apprentices for a year before heading to Cowley.  This is a picture of our apprentice team at that time.  

http://www.foreverwestchurchplanting.com/alumni - Here is a link to the Alumni of our Network's apprenticeship program.  

http://www.foreverwestchurchplanting.com/water-of-life-church - Here is more info on Cowley and Water of Life Church.  

It is our joy to travel this great state and be a part of God's Kingdom work by seeing new churches planted.  We are praying for more.  Not every church planter is as 'Wyoming-ish' as Johannes (see below picture) but God is using each person and their unique gift-set to serve Him just as Johannes uses his work with horses to be a blessing.  

http://www.foreverwestchurchplanting.com/future-apprentices - Maybe you are praying about what is next in your own journey of following and serving Christ.  Take a look at our apprenticeship program.  You could be sensing a call to our great state to help us reach the over 60 communities that have zero evangelical church.  Not long ago, Cowley was on that list...but no longer!  

God breathes life into new things all the time and He regularly uses Christ-followers to accomplish that mission.  

You can also help us plant more churches by joining our support team.  An easy way to get started is by becoming a 3:16'er.  For only $26.34 you can bless our Wyoming missionaries with $316 annually.  Click here to join: http://www.foreverwestchurchplanting.com/give/ 

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Church Planting may take you to a new area where you know few people and have limited experience/scope to guide you.  This has been my experience.  That has pushed me back to the Church Planting documentation in the book of Acts.  In Acts 3:1-8, we journey along with Peter and John fresh off of a life-changing encounter with God that has resulted in the planting of the worlds first mega-church (3000 added in one day!). Here it is in HCSB:  

Now Peter and John were going up together to the temple complex at the hour of prayer at three in the afternoon.  And a man who was lame from birth was carried there and placed every day at the temple gate called Beautiful, so he could beg from those entering the temple complex.  When he saw Peter and John about to enter the temple complex, he asked for help. Peter, along with John, looked at him intently and said, “Look at us.” So he turned to them, expecting to get something from them.  But Peter said, “I don’t have silver or gold, but what I have, I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, get up and walk!” Then, taking him by the right hand he raised him up, and at once his feet and ankles became strong.  

Have you ever worried that you wouldn’t have the resources needed to accomplish the mission/vision of the ministry you lead?  Silver and Gold can seem in very short supply at times.  This didn’t stop Peter and John from ministering.  The lame beggar asked for a hand out as he had on many occasions.  He didn’t get one this day.  Instead, these apostles gave him what they had - Jesus - in a large dose!

How did they deliver this gift? Personal delivery!  

First, they met the man with eye contact and they asked him to look at them.  When Jesus looked at the crowds around Him, He often felt compassion and this seems to be the case with Peter and John.  When we find ourself in new situations and new ministries we must never lose the personal.  We aren’t crunching numbers we are sharing the love of God.  How easy it would have been for these men to check their money bag, realize they didn’t have any extra money, and dismiss the man.  Instead, they made a connection that led to a miracle.  

Second, after they offered the man what they had, they went one step further.  They didn’t just leave the ball in his court.  They put their hand out and offered a real physical help to get him started.  Oh, this is important to any church plant - We must be willing to give a hand up!  Hand-outs may seem fruitless but hand-ups are were we can really show God’s Love.  

Notice that the man’s legs were strengthened after the apostles reached down for him and after he took their help and stepped up in faith.  Our role in God’s Kingdom can be best seen with an outstretched hand.  

No matter your ministry context, the resource of compassion and care must never be in short supply.  If we distance ourself from the personal, those resources will dry up faster than a bank account in Vegas.  

We are still pretty young in this church planting journey (4 years), and so are the different Forever West Plants around the state, but I can look across our Sunday gatherings and tell a story for more than 50% of our folks about how one person/family has been touched personally by another person/family.  Take a good look at your surroundings and do an inventory of what you’ve got to give.  This may not be what people around you are asking for but it doesn’t mean that isn’t what they truly need.  How can you offer a hand up? 

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Ok, what does a church planter do once they have an audience...whether it is 1 or 1000...from a platform or over a coffee?  Preparing a message gets mixed reviews with many ministry leaders.  Some love it and others loathe it.  The difference is in the stress level that arises over direction.  We don’t want to get stale.  We don’t want to be ‘Johnny One-Note’.  We fear we may run out of material. 

This all came to a head for me as I entered ministry.  I served a Bible-Belt church where I preached 2-3 times per week and led at least two bible studies.  Then there were frequent weddings, funerals and counseling and discipleship sessions.  How can a person ever stay prepared with that much fresh and relevant content?  It isn’t as if the Bible doesn’t have enough material…it is 807,361 words.  It often seemed like there was too much…surely I needed a way to focus each message.  Even now, as a Church Planter, it seems that much more important to be ‘on-point’ at any time I am given the gift of sharing from God’s Word.

For me, it was helpful to take a clue from Peter in Acts 2.  On the day of Pentecost, he stood up and began to preach.  His audience had heard many fancy speeches before and they thought he was drunk.  What would he do to bring home the message of The Gospel? Take a look at the scripture he delivers that day:

He Preached from the prophetic book of Joel Chapter 2 (in Acts 2:17-21).  He preached the Gospel from an Old Testament prophets perspective.

He Preached from the Psalms with Psalm 16 (in Acts 2:25-28) and Psalm 110 (in Acts 2:34-35).  He preached the Gospel from Psalms which is musical and wisdom literature.

With each text Peter quoted, he pointed to God’s Mighty work through Jesus.  Then he made an appeal for men to repent and follow this Jesus whom he preached about.

That is how I found peace with the message/messages.  I decided to preach The Gospel through all of scripture. The techniques would change.  The illustrations would be designed differently.  It didn’t matter though…I had my message.  The Gospel would be enough.  Now, I had some practical helps as well that I will offer here:

  1. Preachers over-complicate things sometimes.  I can sure do it.  A resource that has been very helpful to me is Andy Stanley’s book called ‘Communicating for a Change’.  You may not agree with everything said but there are some powerful insights into how to communicate clearly and in a way that is remembered and applied. 
  2. Preachers try and think like scholars.  Don’t get me wrong, scholarly study is needed and rewarded but we often develop outlines that require scientific formula’s to decipher.  In scientific terms, if you are planning to spend hours of scholarly study, we need to be less ‘scientific theory’ and more ‘applied science’.
  3. Preachers need clarity and focus.  Turn on the TV to a news station and count how many different messages are going on at one time.  We suffer from ‘info overload’.  Your listeners likely engage with your message after days of overload.  They need clear teaching that is focused on what can truly help them live a life as a follower of Jesus.  Remove any bell and whistle that doesn’t enhance the clarity of the message. 
  4. Preachers forget the awe of the message we carry.  Our text is filled with the most powerful of all stories.  It is filled with the greatest of all evidences.  It is a life-changing message of a life-changing Savior that is offered to a people in need of changed lives.  What an honor.  Don’t forget the awesome nature of the message you carry!
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Occasionally we will have someone take a vision tour where they can see what God is doing in the new churches in Wyoming.  I (Chris) get to travel often to support our church planters and investigate new areas where churches should be planted.  Let's take a quick trip around the state to celebrate!

Starting in Cheyenne (our capital city), you would see a city with a great need for a strong church.  We have been praying and traveling and meeting with folks in that city all year and see the beginnings of a new church being planted very soon. 

Take the short drive past Vedauwoo...

...and you find your self in Laramie (home to University of Wyoming).  Here you would meet Danny & Talissa Smith who are planting a collegiate church called Expedition.   God is doing great things on our only University in Wyoming.  The stories of life change amongst several college students give us much hope for what God is doing with this generation!

Continue west on I-80 and you will find Rock Springs where we hope to plant both a multi-generational church as well as a collegiate church.  This town of over 23,000 souls desperately needs more faith communities started and we hope to be a part of one soon!

A short jaunt further west and you will hit the beautiful town of Green River where Rondie and Melody Taylor are planting the awesome Living Hope Church.  In only a years time they are reaching so many young families that they need a larger children's ministry area!  The impact that Living Hope has had on its community cannot be overstated.  

Not too far north of I-80 is the small town of Kemmerer.  Al & Kathy Bella moved to this town in 2014 to plant Living Water Community Church.  Al has seen many people saved and much progress in this town known as the place of the first JC Penney's store.  They even moved into an permanent building this year that was once the home to a strong church.  

The last stop on this near 400 mile East to West Road Trip would be the town of Evanston.  On the Utah border, Evanston has an incredibly low percentage of christians and only a few churches.  With 13,000 souls, we hope to be part of a new church plant here as soon as God reveals the family he has called to lead the work. 

One thing each of these areas has in common is that they are each in need of prayer.  Pray that God will bring a great move of His Holy Spirit as church planters serve and as new churches begin.  Pray for provision for the many needs.  

Speaking of provision, did you know you can become a vital part of our support by becoming a '3:16'er'?   What's that you say?  Financially support our church planting network at $26.34 per month ($316 per year) and you can do more than take a road trip...you can help meet tangible needs in the ministry here.  

Join us next week as we take another Road Trip around a different section of our state.  

 

 

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How can we reach people with our new church plant or ministry?  Where will they come from?  What is the best way to communicate God’s Love to them?  As we look into the Scriptures we see God timing the launch of The Church with a cultural event that drew many people together:

Acts 2:6-13 (ESV) - And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak in his own language. And they were amazed and astonished, saying, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language? Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians—we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.” And all were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” But others mocking said, “They are filled with new wine.” 

I couldn’t see any such event lining up in my city although there have been several since then.  I read books on Church Planting to get tips.  I looked at Scripture.  I talked to peers and mentors.  I prayed.  Here are some ways to try and connect with people in your context and a few thoughts on each that I have experienced…

  1. Print Mass Marketing - in spite of all the debate over ‘importing Madison Avenue into the Church’ this can be helpful.  Postcards, flyers, etc. We have used them all.  It has been more successful in getting people aware of us than it has for getting people to an event or gathering.  In the early stages of a new ministry, this type of ‘ground cover’ can be useful.  Thus far, less than 5% of our weekly attendees have come as a result of this connection strategy. 
  2. Social-Media Marketing - A Facebook page seems most useful of all the options but it seems good to use as many mediums as possible to connect in the social sphere that is relevant to your context.  Frequent posts, blog-type writings, event updates and more all seem to help create awareness.  Regular ‘boosting’ of posts is an in-expensive way to broaden your online community and expand your connections.  We have seen this as the most effective way to market special events OTHER than our regular church gatherings (like community events).  We do see about 2% of our weekly attendees coming from it. 
  3. Website & Search Engine Optimization - It is true that your website is your ‘front door’ of your ministry.  It needs to be functional and frequently updated.  Even at that, it may not immediately be noticed or findable.  We sought out help to optimize our site.  There are many options.  You can overspend so do your research.  We have seen regular guests thanks to this connection strategy with as many as 10% of our weekly attendees coming from it. 
  4. Door-to-Door - Yes, we did that.  Yes, we do that.  We visited over 2,500 homes in our first year (with the help of several mission teams) and thousands more since then.  We simply brought a gift (a coffee mug filled with candy and then a stadium cup when we found they were cheaper and very usable).  Included was information about our church and an invitation to be our guest and a brief survey about how ‘the newest church in town’ could serve or pray for them.  We have seen low results with this but we have seen results.  I meet people on a weekly basis that have been ‘mugged’ by us.  We have about 3% of our regular attendees due to this strategy. 
  5. Missional - What I mean by this is similar to what you would read about if reading several of the great ‘missional living’ books out.  One I would recommend would be ‘The Missional Quest’ by Lance Ford and Brad Briscoe.  This is a more personal way to connect with those around you whether it is neighbors, co-workers, etc. It is a relational connection and can even be a ‘word of mouth’ connection. It is a strategy that has its heart in the Gospel and the Commandment to ‘love people the way Jesus loves us’.  It is at the heart of our ministry and we see about 80% of our regular attendees coming from it.  

There are many ways to try and connect with folks whether you are a church planter or in some other type/style of ministry.  Maybe there isn’t a bad way.  Maybe instead of knocking certain styles we should do what we are led to do and applaud others for trying.  We must not forget that no matter the strategy, each person is brought to us by God.  However, we don’t want to sit back lazily with a ‘we built it, now send them’ faith.  We want a faith that is full of obedient action.  An action that shows our understanding that we are a ‘sent people’ - John 20:21. 

No matter the style, we should bathe our efforts in prayer and lead every effort with love for those that we are striving to connect.  Without God’s help and our love we will find that no level of effort will produce lasting results.  

How do you best connect with others for the purpose of ministry? 

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In 2013, we had our calling (to plant a church in Casper, Wyoming).  We knew it was time.  We began to think on the differences between our old area (Arkansas) and our new area (Wyoming).  We spoke the same language but the style, slang and intent of some of the language was different.  There would be subtle (and some not-so-subtle) cultural differences that we would need to learn and address if we were going to be able to ‘get through’.  What I am describing is context.  How would we go about learning our new context?  How would we be sure that God’s message was getting through?  There was a time in the early church where the followers of Jesus needed a miracle to communicate to the people. 

When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance. Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak in his own language. (Acts 2:1-6 ESV)

For today, don’t worry about all the details (how, what, etc.). Instead, just marvel in this…God gave the followers of Jesus a special ability to communicate with others who had not yet heard the Good News that Jesus came, died, rose and is coming again.  God also allowed a special ability for the hearers (for the miracle was not only in the speaking).  Wow, God loves us enough to not let language be a barrier from knowing Him.  More than just language, God bridged the gap of context then and can do so now.

Have you ever been ‘turned off’ because somebody couldn’t speak ‘your language’?  It isn’t only in a foreign mission situation or even a church-planting situation where context is important. Maybe you have experienced the in-ability to ‘speak the language’ of a teen or a person in a different stage of life. 

Context is at least half of the battle when you are trying to communicate to the heart of another person.  To contextualize is to speak in a language that comes to life for the hearer. How do we learn the intricacies of a context that is different from our own and then learn how to speak within it?  We start by asking God to reveal it to us. Then we pay attention.  We talk less and listen more.  We trust God to take our preparation and our words and put them into the heart language of the hearer.  

I’m still learning how to communicate effectively...still learning context.  One should never stop!  We must not ever get comfortable in in this because time brings subtle changes that, if ignored, can create quite a chasm between us and others.  

Is contextualization on your radar of things to do to ‘prepare for ministry’?  It should be. Have you spent enough time in your area that you have become overly comfortable with what you think you know about your context? Ask the Lord to teach and re-teach you. 

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Are you a ‘do-it-yourself’ ministry leader or a fan of ‘doing church as a team’? I tend to be a ‘do-it-yourself’ guy in most areas of my life.  It is probably a control issue.  I can control the beginning, the ending and the quality of something if I do it as a lone wolf.  However, if I am in control of the beginning, end and quality of a ministry like a church plant then it doesn’t look much like God’s Church but more like my church…that isn’t a church.  

Here I was…ready to move and plant a new church.  I had a green light yet I was told by several mentors to make sure that I built a ‘church planting team’.  Apparently, failure rates are substantially higher for church planting individuals vs. church planting teams.  Some reasons for this are surely:

  1. The isolation that can come from planting.
  2. The accountability needed for anyone crazy enough to plant.
  3. The momentum that a team can provide.

Should I wait for a team to fall from the sky?  Should I ask people to go with me?  Should I trust that God would send people to my city as He was sending me?  Back in the new beginnings of the church, Jesus’ disciples were also considering their need for team.  Read about it here:

Acts 1:21-26 So one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us—one of these men must become with us a witness to his resurrection.” And they put forward two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also called Justus, and Matthias. And they prayed and said, “You, Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which one of these two you have chosen to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.” And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias, and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.

This group of people could have gone on but they didn’t…they realized their team was incomplete.  Through prayer and discernment they waited for God to direct them to the right people for the right time.  

Church Planting is a team sport not a one-on-one contest.  We recognized that and prayed that God would send others with us. We invited others to go on the journey with us but nobody said yes. It turns out that we didn’t get to pick and pray the way the disciples did…we prayed and moved to our new city and then found out how God had orchestrated our team (actually, we are still discovering it).  Now almost four years in, we can point to folks from all over the nation that God was sending to our city that would get to be a part of God's Team…each of them had no idea they would get to go on this journey with us.  

Just as the Christian Life is not meant to be done alone, ministry shouldn’t either.  The Body of Christ is best equipped when it is assembled.  Has God placed others in your life?  Be thankful.  Do you sense a need to do ministry as a team?  Pray, invite and wait upon The Lord to build a team.  Don’t be surprised if He does so in a way that is different than you would do it.  Don’t be surprised if he fills your team with people that are different than you…that is probably what it will take to accomplish a God-sized vision like planting a church or leading a ministry.  

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I wanted to plant a church as soon as it entered my mind.  Instead, I got Elevator Music. When it plays, you wait.  It represents a time where you are moving but you are also stationary.  You are making progress - going up or down - but you do not yet have freedom to go.  I struggle with this concept.  Once I know my destination, I am ready to go and go ‘without restriction’.  

Jesus taught His followers about His Kingdom.  Then He died (showing His love) and rose again (showing He is God).  Before He ascended to Heaven, He addressed the group and told them to wait. So, they did:

(Acts 1:12-14 ESV) Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day's journey away. And when they had entered, they went up to the upper room, where they were staying, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot and Judas the son of James. All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.

These men and women had been given explanation to the mysteries of God’s Kingdom. They had seen the Savior defeat death.  They had to be bubbling with enthusiasm to do something - anything!.  Yet, Elevator Music.  Jesus said to go and wait. The best church plants and the best ministry…it all must wait until God elevates us so we are doing His work in His power. We get a nudge from God to wait and we do not always want to do so.  Rather than see the whole picture we may focus on the fact that we are ‘ready to go’.  Indeed, we may be but just because we think we are ready does not mean everything else is…

I thought I was ready to plant a church for years.  I nearly jumped in on a few occasions. With hindsight, I now see that would have been one of two things:

1. Jumping off the elevator in mid-flight. When God provides for the journey then we should ride all the way to our destination.  Jumping off too soon due to impatience will not get you there quicker.  It will take you on a detour or require you to take an alternative route.  I have done this in life.  I do not want to do it anymore.  

2. Taking the stairs.  Don’t get me wrong.  There is discipline and purpose in going the long and hard way.  I used to work on the 48th floor of a building in Tulsa.  Once, I took the stairs instead of the elevator…just for kicks.  That was quite an experience.  I don’t recommend it.  When God says to wait for His perfect timing and His perfect will then we should do so and when He provides an elevator then we ‘get on’.  The ride won’t be nearly as long as it seems and the choice of music isn’t so bad.  Deciding we are unwilling to ‘sit still’ and ‘wait on Him’ may result in a very long set of stairs.

Before I moved to Wyoming to plant a church I needed to get comfortable with seasons of waiting.  I needed to be comfortable being confined to a place simply because God said so.  These would be valuable tools that would equip me for the early stages of a new ministry.  They can be valuable to you as well.  When God says to wait He has purpose in doing so.  Get on the elevator.  Enjoy that jazzy beat.  Wait until the door opens and you hear ‘the ding’.  Then get to it!

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I remember driving over the hill in the town we had just moved to and saying to my wife, “We need to plant a church in this town.”  I don’t know exactly how that thought came to dominate my mind when we were in the midst of moving but it did. Church Planting was in my heart long before I was ready (if a person is ever actually ready) and even before I was serving in church ministry.  

Yet, we didn’t plant a church…not then and not there.  We served in lay-ministry in a local church for several years.  Several times, I voiced the same thoughts to my family and close friends but I didn’t yet feel ‘released’ to do that work.  Maybe it was because it is daunting.  Maybe it was because of the statistics on Church Planting failures.  Maybe it was because The Holy Spirit whispered that His perfect timing was still to come.  

Timing is a critical component to any work we undertake for God.  When we jump into God’s Work in our timing we can find failure.  The stories of The Israelites going into war prematurely comes to mind. If our timing is wrong then we may be running ahead of God and His power.  If we plant a church without His Power then we haven’t really planted a church.  Remember the scene as Jesus spoke to His followers before His ascension:

(Acts 1:4-8 ESV) And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

Our burdens to serve The Lord can run ahead of our preparation and even our enthusiasm.  A preacher’s sermon often begins with a burden. Out of that burden comes preparation and as preparation happens, enthusiasm grows.  It is the same for a person called to ministry and/or called to Church Planting.  

Years later, we moved to a new city to serve a rural church as its 50th pastor.  I still wanted to plant a church but God’s timing was still yet to come.  We served The Lord and continued to pray.  The burden for Church Planting never left.  The preparation for Church Planting never stopped.  The enthusiasm for Church Planting continued to grow.  

After what seemed like ages, we sensed God telling us that the time had come.  With that timing, we sensed God showing us where to plant - Casper, Wyoming.  1,000 miles away.  A town that was over 90% un-churched, de-churched or lost.  Our burden now had a place to rest and we had a place to serve.  Our burden would now be coupled with the power of God as we moved to our new mission field.  

Do you sense a burden from God to engage a particular work?  If it is from Him he will equip you to do the work in His timing.  A call to any type of ministry is also a call to preparation for that ministry.  It may be quick or it may be slow but in God’s timing it will be ‘just right’.  Our journey of Church Planting began in June of 2013 when we first made a phone call to Wyoming…but really it began when we crested that hill years before.  

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