The Love/Hate Relationship With Planting

“I am lonely.”

“I can’t do this anymore.”

“I don’t know if I have what it takes.”

“I think I could be doing something better with my life.”

“I am sure there are other things that I am better at that I could spend my time doing.”

If you have ever said something like this, then keep reading!

I know these feelings can emerge in any scenario or ministry, but I am specifically writing to those that have embraced the planting call today.

Being a planter is the ultimate displacing experience. You are choosing to put yourself into a space where there is nothing happening. You are choosing to actively and excitedly recruit people to care about Jesus and his words where currently they are not caring and are unaware of his presence there.

That job takes incredible energy, resolve and perspective.

You have to go into a place where there is nothing, stand there and look like a dork many times, and believe that God is actually going to fill the room or space with people.

We love and hate this job.

We hate it because we feel stupid, small, and insecure many times. We love it because we get to see God move where we hadn’t before.

We Hate This Job

We hate it because it presses all our limits. Planting brings up all our insecurities:

can I actually do this? Will people actually follow my leadership? Is my vision any good? Am I motivated enough to care about 2-3 people because that is all that is showing up!?

every person quit from this bible study except one...all the insecurities come up for a young planter

every person quit from this bible study at USC except one…all the insecurities come up for a young planter

Planting makes us come to the end of ourselves as we realize we really want a big ministry with lots of people in it…where we get all the fame and glory for being a master leader with thousands following us.

Planting is about laying a foundation. Not about growing an amazing skyscraper. No one gets excited about foundations. When is the last time you stopped on a city street and said, “Wow, what a foundation that is being built!”

Um, never. Foundations are not breathtaking like skyscrapers are. They are messy, flat, and forming. They, at there best, are the platform that tall things can be built on top of.

Proper motivations are the number one thing that I work on with my staff. Shortly after setting out to start a new ministry there is a point of breaking that happens when all the above-mentioned questions and assumptions come crashing down. We are left with God, his calling, and ourselves.

Do we believe that he has sent us on this mission to start something new? Do we believe that we are the right person? Are just a few people worth being here? Can I lay a foundation with joy?

Or did we come into the ministry to run a big group and have everyone like us and want to be around us all the time?

Planting, at least at first, is not going to give you affirmation. Heck, people don’t know you from the next cult leader at first. You aren’t going to get your sense of security from anyone else but Jesus and his call to follow him to new ground.

Hence, we hate this job many days. We wouldn’t wish it on anyone.

But we love this job too.

Planting is the best because you get to be the person that sees the first fruits. You get to see the ministry birthed. You get to be continually surprised and thrilled.

You get to be the servants in John 2 when they see the water turn to wine. Front row seats to God’s action are why you plant. We pay high price for the seats, but it is fully worth it.

For as many disappointments there are, we see as many thrilling surprises.

A person un-expectantly having a God moment submits their life to Jesus.
A late night text from a new believer saying, “I am so excited that we have this group going!”
The ministry one night has more people come than you have scripture printed out.

even though everyone quite from that 1st study, the one woman who didn't opened up her Greek house and last night more people came that they had scripture for!

even though everyone quite from that 1st study, the one woman who didn’t opened up her Greek house and last night more people came than they had scripture for!

We love being on the adventure with Jesus. We love doing something that hasn’t been done before. We love that we get to taste a little bit of Jesus by displacing ourselves into a totally new area and making way for the Kingdom of God to grow there.

There are not many better moments than seeing someone come to Christ in an area where ministry didn’t exist before. You have this overwhelming sense of purpose and fulfillment. It is a small realization that the call to plant was worth it and all the sacrifice.

In our best moments we grasp the privilege it is that Jesus has called us to do this work. We actually get to partner with God in helping him start new ministry in new places not currently being reached or cared about? WOW!

The call of the planter is to lay foundations. It is to start ministry where it is not happening. To crack the door, so others can kick it open. Others will come behind you and build it bigger. Your job is to get the work started.

And this my friend takes incredible energy, resolve & perspective.

Getting a ministry started is going to cause you to face many disappointments, find many lonely moments, and cause you to show up many times to a room of yourself and…yourself.

Planters have to become experts at embracing disappointment and turning it into prayer for God to crack the door and lay the foundation.

Planters also have to become experts and celebrating the small things and helping the whole community realize what a cracked door looks like and why it’s important.

Keep going my friend. You are doing an important work!

If you need more encouragement in planting, email me. I’d love to give you a pep talk.

Oh, and pray for Long Beach State. Students there are starting Greek IV and they will have some of the same bumps as they set out to start ministry in the bottom of a fraternity house! Here is a 30sec video of the space we have…very cool!

[tentblogger-youtube rEBAt8dEpdg]

What are your go to scriptures to encourage yourself in the planting call? Please share in the comments

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