As a church planter, you have to be willing to do whatever needs to be done. You can’t rely on a well-oiled machine in which you have a limited role to play, doing only what you’re good at while other specialists handle everything else. Because there are no systems in place, you have to be able to plan, to see the big picture, and to recognize what steps to take in what order to reach your goals. You have to deal with constant context-shifting, and you can’t be above the range of menial tasks each day might bring.
My wife and I are struggling toward Thanksgiving this year.
Struggling to take part in a celebration in which we are supposed to express gratitude, draw close to family, and enjoy the moments of this season. Struggling in the heart to feel thankful when the trauma of 2017 has crowded out the usual joys.
This is a very helpful series, and you can get them all free.
Sadly, though, I sense that my bi-vocational and small church brother pastors are often discouraged in their ministries. So, allow me to offer seven reasons for my bi-vocational and small church brother pastors to be thankful. Rejoice and be thankful for…
These are great.
Almost everyone knows the story of Adoniram Judson. But among the most God-honoring and baffling parts of his story is what happened on his way to the mission field: he broke his ties with the Congregationalist Church because he changed his convictions on baptism. His friend and fellow laborer, Luther Rice, had similarly shifted. Rice returned to the U.S. to raise support from Baptist churches for Judson, who was now a missionary without any sending churches. Under Rice’s initiative, Baptist churches in the U.S. supported Judson for decades—without ever even meeting him. Rice returned home in 1812, but Judson’s first and only visit back wasn’t until 1845, more than 30 years later.
In other words, these churches faithfully supported the ministry of a man they’d never met. They only knew Judson by way of his reputation and the letters that came several months after current events. He never once visited with rousing stories of regular converts.
A favorite from the archives:
There are times when I get envious of my friends in America. It’s not because I am not happy to be a Canadian (I’m just fine with that), or anything like that. But one of the things we don’t really do well here is celebrate. We don’t have a terribly strong national identity (at least among the current generation of Canadians), and we fail to take serious stock of our history. The thing we’re most confident of, it seems, is the fact that we have “free” healthcare (if by free you mean, paid for through your income taxes rather than an insurance policy).
So when I see how American friends seem to genuinely love their country, and celebrate their history (even if they sometimes creatively edit it), I get a twinge of jealousy. But that’s kind of silly, isn’t it?