4 years ago we were in the throes of planting a church. We were raising money, spending money, choosing a facility, hosting preview services, holding staff meetings and trying to figure it all out. I’ll never forget the days of praying fervently and sweating profusely as we prepared for the “BIG” day on January 19, 2014.
The BIG day came, the BIG day went, and Oasis Church took on a life of its own.
Everything is different now. Literally, so much has changed since the day we launched Oasis. One thing has remained the same, we are STILL praying fervently and sweating profusely. And I don’t see that changing any time soon!
If you are considering planting a church, that’s great! But can I warn you? It’s not as sexy as we make it seem on Instagram and Facebook. In some ways, choosing to plant a church is choosing a life of uncertainty. It’s one that is risky and fraught with challenges that are both corporate and personal. Corporately, you’ll wrestle through issues related to church organization, leadership structure, discipleship strategies, money management, living in the tension between “reaching” and/or “keeping” people, community involvement, etc. The list is unending. Personally, you’ll wrestle through issues in relationships. Your marriage, family, and friendships will suffer to some degree. There will always be people who are mad at you, harboring offense toward you (and you’ll be guilty of the same thing). Your finances will take a hit. Your ego will get punched in the throat. People will criticize & complain about you. At times you’ll feel really alone (regardless of who is with you) and other times you’ll just wish people would leave you alone. Again, the list is unending.
Personally, I’ve faced many of these challenges. But the most challenging piece of this journey has been in the realm of emotional health. I’ve said this to people before, and it’s worth repeating; planting Oasis has revealed every ounce of pride and insecurity within me.
I’m currently climbing a mountain called “Emotional Intelligence”, and church planting is my sherpa. Lately I’ve come to believe that, other than a calling from God, emotional intelligence is paramount when it comes to leading a church.
I am SO BLESSED to have a church like Oasis. It’s a place where people are real, understanding, and patient. They have been patient with me as I’ve made mistakes, pushed the limits, behaved immaturely, and more! There have been days where I preached from a place of hurt, I’ve blogged with an offended heart, and at times I’ve allowed my own emotional immaturity to lead me to make stupid decisions!!! (So, for those who have been around from the beginning and stuck with me through all that, THANK YOU!)
For the pastor/church planter who is out there reading this, here’s the deal. You’re gonna experience some version of what I’m writing about. It might not be exactly like my story, but you’ll feel SOME kind of discomfort from SOMETHING along the way. It’s unavoidable. If you ever fall into the trap of believing that your life should be easier, then just read 2 Corinthians 11:23-29—AND then read the words of Jesus in John 16:33. If you allow yourself to be shaped by your experiences, then the Lord WILL transform you into someone you never knew you could be.
While you are busy developing the church, the Lord is busy developing YOU. This is why I can conclude with these thoughts…
I love what I do. I love my job. I love who I am. And it’s all worth it. When people meet Jesus in my church, it’s worth it. When relationships are restored, it’s worth it. When people who have always been left out, get included – it’s worth it. When addicts are free and filled with hope – it’s worth it! It’s worth it to be faithful. It’s worth it to follow through. And one day we will all kneel before a man whose pain was greater than anything we’ve ever faced, and He didn’t quit! Neither should we.
Keep climbing that mountain!