I hate facing myself, not literally in the mirror although that is becoming a less attractive experience everyday. I mean bumping into myself. It happens when you least expect it and it often happens when you are trying to accomplish something significant. You begin to see that you’ve got stuff clanking around in your heart that you really haven’t given too much direct attention to. You come to the realization that to take on this new challenge, jump into a new project, pioneer something new or in my case step out in faith you have to face yourself. I’m in the infancy stages of planting a Jesus-focused, community-driven, urban-loving church. When I swallowed hard earlier this year, decided to trust God and began this new work I thought it was purely a faith decision; kind of nebulous and general spiritually in what I had to overcome. I still tell people that to be a part of what God is compelling us to do in the city of Syracuse you must take a step of faith but there is something much scarier that ends up jumping in front of you… yourself.
Dormant issues hide around the corner in your mind and leap out to threaten and sabotage your desire to be part of something bigger than yourself. There are blockages I’m learning, that go deeper than having enough faith. Here are some issues that attach (I’m sure there are more) to us overtime and then resurface at the prospect of going all in on planting a missional church. They probably are worth investigating and bringing out into the daylight.
1. Unrealistic Expectations – you begin to realize that maybe you’ve assembled a list of impossible demands on a church. You are afraid of being disappointed again. You don’t know how to lay down your expectations and enter in open handed and open minded. Is it possible that I’m extremely cynical and impossible to please?
2. Have it My Way – maybe you’ve seen that your desire to start a new church is rooted in making a church for yourself and people like you. Wanting to build a church that I like, wanting to finally do church the way I’ve always wanted it. Very me centered and utopian.
3. I’ll Show Them – potentially you’ve been hurt and damaged from a previous church experience and now you’ve got an ax to grind. In the back of your little mind you entertain thoughts that you’ll prove you were right and they were wrong for treating you so unfairly.
4. Fear of Others – you realize you love to talk about how important community is but you are discovering that you may not really like it. You see how invasive it is, that you can’t hide and you've got to come clean with who you are. Your space is invaded. Your considering that maybe distance and hiding is a better option.
5. Giving Up Stuff – you’re not extremely happy about your current church life but at least you’re comfortable getting to do what you want to do when you want to do it. The idea of sacrificing to build a church is not looking like so much fun anymore. "You mean I can’t have my dream house, I have to make new friendships, I’ve got to live on the cheap, I’ve got to give stuff up?"
6. I’ve Gotta Cold – you start to feel like you may not be any healthier than the people you will be leading. You don’t really do the missional life now with those in your circle of influence, you don’t do selfless community well and you have become spiritually apathetic with your own spiritual disciplines. How can I lead in a church plant?
7. I’m a Copycat – I haven’t really wrestled down the intricacies of how to build a healthy church. I thought that what my town needed was a church like the one I’m a fan of, that sells it study materials and makes there sermons available for download. I’ve read some blogs and listened to some podcasts and would like to copy what they are doing. “You mean we can't do it just like them?”
8. Finally Some Power – The idea of having power and being in charge of something significant attracts you the most. The concept of service doesn’t have as much appeal. You’ve wanted to be at the top of the food chain for a while and now this could be your chance.
Part of the process of birthing a new work in a new place is that God will graciously and carefully show us personally what ambitions need to be looked at again, wrestled out and laid down.
Which one resonates the most with you?