2014 was my first full year of leading Thrive Church and it was AWESOME!
Today, Thrive Church is 72 weeks old and I have learned a ton! Oh my stinking goodness, that is the understatement of the year! I’ve served and worked at Churches for almost 20 years, but 2014 was my first year of leading a Church and it was unlike anything I’ve ever experience. It had many similarities, but it was also crazy different.
In 1995, I was hired by Covenant Community Church to be their youth pastor. In December, it will be 20 years since I first started this calling as a pastor! It is still crazy to me that they hired a newly minted 20 year old with basically no experience. But, I did have a whole lot of passion! A lot has happened since then and I’ve served at churches small and large, but, none of that compared to leading a new church. So, I thought I would put together some of my thoughts, so here goes.
What I’ve Learned
1. God is in the business of answering prayers!
People that tell me they don’t have time to pray or that prayer doesn’t work are straight up crazy! Sit down with me at lunch and I will give you a list of more than 100 answered prayers! For instance, as I type this blog post, I am in an office that I prayed for and God provided. I am typing on a computer than God provided.
I’ve seen people trust in Jesus and get baptized who told me they would never step into my church.
Answered prayers are EVERYWHERE!!
2. Time goes by really quick!
Holy Cow!! Thrive officially, kind of in an off the books kind of way started in December of 2012. That’s when 4 couples sat around a table and talked, dreamed and prayed about starting a new and different kind of church.
We started meeting as a small group in Jan. of 2013 and then met monthly in 2013 all the way to our launch date of October 6th! It honestly seems like yesterday that we sat around that dining room table. Time goes by quick.
3. Leading a Church is really hard!
I know, how could it be hard when pastors only work 1 day a week? Hah, Hah, Hah! I have always prided myself on how hard I worked. I have never been the 40 hour a week pastor. My motto has always been…let’s do whatever it takes.
But, planting and leading a church has been a different level of hard. For years, I always had opinions on what my pastor should or shouldn’t be doing. Now, after sitting in the pastors seat for 72 weeks, I have a completely different view.
Before I move on from this, maybe you’re thinking…‘what’s so hard about leading a church’? Well, here are a few of my thoughts:
- As a pastor, you hear/deal with/are brought into/experience a lot of pain. Other peoples pain. It’s an honor to be a part of peoples lives and its something I don’t take for granted. But, wow, it can be tough to emotionally process all that pain. Pretty exhausting.
- A pastor’s job isn’t to keep everyone happy and to do everything that everyone wants. So, I have to say no a lot. That’s hard.
- A big part of my job is raising money for my church. The reality is, the more we raise, the bigger impact we can have. Its tough raising money.
Those are just a few areas that are hard.
4. People will hurt you.
Ok, I know this sounds a tad bit negative, but it shouldn’t come as a shock, right? I mean, everyone has been hurt by someone? Here’s what I know, to start a church takes a lot of hard work, emotional energy, faith and you have to keep moving forward in the midst of some tough negativity.
I know what you’re thinking! Why on earth would anyone be negative about pastors, churches or church planting? Isn’t the local church the hope of the world? Isn’t our goal to get as many people into a relationship with Jesus as possible? What could be negative about that?
Well, I’ve had some really awful things said about me. Other christians have criticized my church. People that I’ve invested into have left my church and didn’t even tell me why or respond to my messages when I’ve asked. That hurts.
But, at the end of the day, that’s what people do to each other. I know I have hurt people and it breaks my heart and I try everyday to not make the mistakes that would cause that hurt again.
What a great first year!
Ok, these are a few of my thoughts on my experience of leading Thrive Church for our first full year. My next post will include 4 more!!