Church planting is one of the greatest callings and privileges in ministry.

It’s an incredible way to reach people far from God. You meet people and invest in lives to a degree that you never imagined when you said “Yes” to planting a church.

But, church planting certainly has its fair share of challenges, too. It’s not easy or for the faint-hearted.

Our family has the privilege to be on this church planting journey now for eight years. The number one question I get asked is “How did you know you were called to start a church?” The second most asked question is “How did you decide where to plant a church?”

Before I answer those questions, here are a few reasons not to start a church:

  • It sounds cool.
  • You are mad at your current pastor.
  • You think you can lead a church better than others.
  • You’re not sure what else to do.

If any of the above describes you right now, I encourage you to go back to the drawing board or more importantly the prayer closet. Let God do a great work in you and reveal the great work He wants to do through you.

Once you settle the basics, check out the four ways to know if God is calling you to start a church.

The full post I had the privilege to share on LifeWay Pastors.

 

All throughout life and ministry, we face moments that make us think “Why bother?” You take a stand in your world, and it seems to have no effect. You pray for an unsaved or wayward loved one, but there is no change. You spend a lot of time and effort investing in someone who turns against you. You pray and labor but there seems to be no increase in your ministry.

You are tempted to quit.

In Luke 5, Peter had an instance where it seems that nothing made a difference and he wasn’t getting any return. He fished all night and caught nothing! I’m sure he thought, “Why Bother?”

Luke 5:5 says,

Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night & haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets. 

True fishermen don’t quit.

Galatians 6:9 says,

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we don’t give up.

Is God asking you to do something that others think is crazy? Is God asking you to keep going when others say it’s time to quit?

Here are three reasons to keep going in ministry today. The full post I shared on Lifeway Pastors Blog.

 

Featured Image Credit.

Ministry can be incredibly rewarding. It can also be incredibly draining. No matter how much you do there is always more ministry to be done. There are more people to reach, more people to counsel, and more messages to prepare. Inevitably, you will go through seasons of great joy and great disappointment.

You will experience seasons where it seems everyone is for you and other seasons where it feels like people are out to get you. Judas betrayed Jesus. If it happened to Jesus, it will happen to you.

The thing about ministry is it involves people. People are imperfect including you and me. It’s why Jesus spent time ministering to the crowd but also spent time in solitary with His Father. Solitary moments feed our souls. The opposite is isolation. It doesn’t feed our soul. It dries it up.

When you go through difficult seasons in ministry the temptation is to isolate. If there is one thing I have learned in ministry, it’s we can’t do life alone! We need to fight to have the right connections in our lives to sustain us for the long haul.

I had the privilege to share this post on Lifeway Pastors.

Here are three relational connections every pastor needs.

 

 

Marriages often become disillusioned because we start to believe things that simply aren’t true. When that happens, we start to run FROM our spouse instead of TO them. We start to blame them instead of taking ownership for believing myths about marriage that aren’t true.

We build on the wrong assumptions and foundation then wonder why it didn’t produce what we dreamed it would be.

Jesus said in Matthew 7:

Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the ROCK. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the ROCK. (Matthew 7:24-25)

The goal is to build our relationships on the ROCK instead of sand. Storms are coming in your relationship! It isn’t a matter of IF but WHEN.

Below are four myths about marriage that can cause us to build our relationships on sand. One of the first things we must do is IDENTIFY the lie so we can REPLACE it with the truth.

Myth #1: Marriage is a 50/50 proposition.

Many people view marriage like a contract. I signed a contract on the lease for our house. There is nothing positive about a contract. It is nothing more than a list of what will happen if I don’t hold up to my end of the bargain. Marriages are often set up this way. We make a list in our minds of what we will or won’t do based upon the actions of our spouse.

We view marriage more like a contract instead of a covenant. A covenant is when I said “I DO” I meant it! A covenant goes ALL IN regardless of the response of the other person. A covenant loves you on your worst day. Anyone can love someone who loves them. It takes someone empowered by God’s Spirit to love someone when they least deserve it and need it the most.

That is what Jesus did for us. “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) Not while we had it all together. Not while we were worthy of it. He came and did what we couldn’t do so we could experience a relationship we can’t live without! It was an ALL IN love.

Real marriage is loving your spouse when they don’t deserve it and when they least expect it. The best way to do this is to remember this is exactly how God loves you. The very least we could do is extend to others what God has already extended to us.

Myth #2: Everything good in our relationship will automatically get better.

The honeymoon isn’t over when you celebrated for a few days after your wedding. The honeymoon is over when you wake up one day and realize you married a real imperfect person. We marry an image of a person only later to discover we actually married a REAL person. When you are dating, you are putting your best foot forward. When you are married, the real person comes out.

They say when you are dating opposites ATTRACT but when you get married opposites ATTACK. The very things that drew you to someone can be the very things that drive you crazy once you are married!

Marriage is best spelled W-O-R-K. Marriage is incredible but it takes work! You do not have an awesome marriage in a day but by what you do DAILY. It doesn’t automatically get better. Without constant attention, marriages drift. With purpose and intention, marriage can be incredible!

WORK at it. It is WORTH it. Future generations in your family tree can be impacted by the DAILY decisions you make to work at your relationship.

Myth #3: My Spouse will complete me.

There is so much pressure in our society to find Mr. or Mrs. “Right.” We begin to idolize and obsess over the need to find someone to complete us. News flash – two imperfect people coming together does NOT make a perfect union! If you are single, the good news is you don’t need someone to complete you.

A spouse is not meant to complete you but to complement you! Only God can complete you. “…God lives in us and His love is made COMPLETE in us.” (1 John 4:12)

What we idolize we will eventually demonize. No one but GOD can meet and exceed every expectation you could ever need in a relationship.

Stop running to a person to fill a need only God can fill. Your spouse can’t complete you, but they can complement you and help bring out the best in you.

Myth #4: My Spouse is to blame for the majority of our problems.

The blame game is old as the garden of Eden (Genesis 3). The man blamed the woman. The woman blamed the serpent. The serpent blamed God.

Marriage doesn’t create problems. It REVEALS them. “What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don’t they come from the evil desires at war WITHIN you?” (James 4:1)

We believe the lies that our spouse is the problem so we need a new spouse. A new spouse or relationship won’t work. You must first look in the mirror and deal with what is WITHIN you.

You can go through all the relationships you want and blame others for them not working out. There is only one common denominator in all of your relationships – YOU!

Hope can enter the equation when we stop blaming our spouse and cry to God saying, “Lord, change me!”

Sand or The ROCK?

I pray you can bust through these myths and discover relationships the way God intended.

Identify the lies. Replace with the truth. Build on the ROCK.

 

holding hands
We are currently in a relationship series at Elevate Church. It’s one of those topics you could do every Sunday because we ALL need help for our relationships. You can’t live on this planet without being in relationship. At the end of the day, we are the sum total of our relationships.
The problem in most relationships is not that fights occur. There will be fights, arguments, and disagreements. After all, you did marry a human being. Two imperfect beings coming together doesn’t make a perfect union. All couples fight IN their relationships. Few truly fight FOR their relationships.
Susan and I can both be pretty stubborn people. We’ve had our fair share of heated arguments. One of the biggest differences and what’s helped us over the years is fighting FOR our relationship. Neither of us are content with surviving in marriage. We don’t always get it right, but we strive to have a relationship that thrives instead of simply making it through another day.
Maybe you are ready to throw in the towel. Maybe you have already settled and thought “this is just the way it’s going to be.” No, it doesn’t have to be that way!
One of you or both must choose today to begin fighting again.

Here Are Three Ways You Can Fight For Your Marriage Today:

1) On Your Knees.

It’s time to fight like a man – a man of God. It’s time to fight like a woman – a woman of God. Grab each other’s hand and get on your knees together. Cry out and ask God to do what you can’t do on your own. If your spouse won’t, then start today and get on your knees and pray for your spouse. God can do more in a moment than you could ever do in a lifetime of nagging or manipulation.
2 Chronicles 20:12 says, “We do not know what to do, but we are looking to you for help.” When you don’t know what to do or where to go, it’s time to drop to your knees! It’s time to say, “God, I can’t but YOU can!”

2) By Faith and not feelings. 

Your feelings will lie to you. Your feelings will tell you – you are better off with someone else, nothing is ever going to change, the grass is greener on the other side, etc. Don’t believe the lies!
IN CHRIST – you are more than a conqueror (Romans 8:37), greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world (1 John 4:4), God will complete what He has started in your life and marriage (Philippians 1:6), He has promised you a HOPE and a FUTURE (Jeremiah 29:11).
When Jesus enters the equation, your best days are ahead and what was impossible now becomes possible through Him!
Love includes feelings but is more than a feeling. Choices lead. Feelings follow. Sometimes the best way to love is by faith. Your feelings will eventually follow. Don’t ride the roller coaster of feelings. Live and love by faith.

3) In the Spirit and not the flesh. 

My flesh has gotten me in trouble over the years. I’ve said things I shouldn’t, done things I regret, and I’m sure much worse. The fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23 is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
Whose relationship wouldn’t be better with these in them?!  This is a by product of being filled with God’s Spirit. It is something you must yield to every day. It’s humbly coming to God and saying I’ve tried it my way but now I want to do it your way. The pathway is surrender. Surrender your bitterness, anger, regrets, and anything else that is holding your relationship back from all God has.
Believe it or not, God cares more than you could ever imagine. He wants to provide hope and healing but you must let Him.

Never Forget This 

If you want what few have you must be willing to do what few do!
All couples fight IN their marriage. Few fight FOR their marriage.
Fight today and every day FOR your relationships. The greatest thing you can do for your kids and grandkids is have a healthy marriage. The greatest thing you can do for future generations of your family tree is fight FOR your marriage. It isn’t about just what happens today. Future generations will be impacted by your choice today to fight FOR your marriage.

It is WORTH the FIGHT.

What are some of the other ways you fight FOR your marriage?