The Candy of Church Planting – Don’t Eat Too Much
Halloween was a month ago, but we still have a ton of candy at our house. My 2 year old daughter knows how to work it. When people would tell her to take one piece out of the bowl she’d grab a handful. I’d remind people that she’s two and doesn’t know how to count. There’s no way they were taking candy back from a cute two year old girl. The tears would flow quickly. Like most kids, mine want candy all the time. The rule of course is no candy or desert until after you eat a good healthy dinner. The other day my son had one of those candy necklaces on. I warned him not to eat too much or he’d get a stomach ache. I sounded just like my parents. It’s funny how that happens. He of course didn’t heed my advice and ended up in pain later that evening. Some lessons have to be experienced.
This got me to thinking. What is the equivalent “candy” of church planting. For most church planters it’s things like naming the church, designing a logo, developing your values, strategies, etc. The problem is that most planters want to jump right into working on these things from the beginning. It’s the fun stuff and frankly the easy stuff. You can feel like you are getting a lot accomplished. But it’s really just the candy of church planting.
Before consuming the candy you need to eat some of the less fun stuff. Things like fundraising, learning about your community (so that your plans are contextualized), networking with community leaders, bathing the project in prayer, discovering where God is already at work, etc.
Once the church is started, the candy shifts to planning sermon series, fun events, staff retreats, etc. There’s nothing wrong with these things, but they have to be balanced with leadership development, relational discipleship and pastoring. Remember there’s nothing wrong with a little candy, but a diet of candy only will cause you a lot of pain. Be sure to focus more of your efforts on the things that will make your church healthy not just the fun and trendy things.