Teaching for 3 hours and 45 minutes each day is akin to each Sunday at Awaken. The difference being that after 3 Sunday services, I have a day off and 6 more days to recover before I do it again. Not here. It’s a sprint…but I’m loving it!
Today, we talked about the calling and equipping for ministry, as we took a look at some personal and Biblical examples. I shared about how God began to train me up for teaching, pastoring, and planting a church when I was 16 at a summer camp. For me, that was the start of my journey into ministry from starting a youth group, to leading a high school Bible Club, to eventually serving on staff at a summer camp and becoming a youth pastor.
Yesterday, I handed out a questionnaire to the class, asking about what they’re hoping to learn from the class and what some of their fears and obstacles are in church planting. A recurring theme in the responses I got is that people are stressed about their own inadequacies in ministry. Nobody is going to show up, there’s no money, feelings of inadequacy and inability, and so much more. I referred back to one time when I got to teach to the staff guys at the summer camp I served at, and I taught on God’s grace being sufficient in our weakness. We also discussed guys like Moses, Gideon, and Jeremiah – all great men whom God used in powerful ways, but all who felt inadequate for the task at hand.
We discussed how resources, teams, funds, and buildings are great tools, and God may bless us with them at different points along our journey, but ultimately, God has given us all that we need right now to take the next step. Gideon, for instance, ended up using less than 1% of his original army (from 32,000 soldiers to 300) to defeat an army that was innumerable. The driving point was this:
The resources and team you think you need may be the very things that prevent you from giving God the glory!
Sometimes God strips things away from us so that He can receive the glory and our ministries and churches can continue on a miracle basis.
We had a great time discussing the qualifications for elders in 1 Timothy 3. We learned that although the context is specifically for elders/pastors, most of the qualifications are basic things that all Christians are held to: not drunkards, not lovers of money, gentle, hospitable, self-controlled, etc.
We ended the class with a video interview of my wife sharing her viewpoint on church planting. She talked about ways she supports me as her husband and pastor, as well as ways she’s seen God provide and teach her along the way. It was great to have her (virtually) in class for part of it!
We also talked about the importance and logistics of balancing church with family and marriage. Just like you have to put your oxygen mask on first in an airplane, the same thing needs to take place for your family in ministry. If your marriage and family fall apart, you lose your ministry too. To be effective long-term in ministry, you have to start with your first ministry: your family.
Unity within the church and between other churches is another vital step to reaching a city. We discussed practical ways to fight for unity and build bridges.
It was another great day. Tomorrow we discuss the business side of church planting and answer the question, “Where do I start?” Can’t wait!