Today, (or maybe it was yesterday?), is my 3 year work anniversary with Thrive Church!
Super Duper! Neato!
Gosh, those THREE years went by quick and I can’t wait for the next three!
A church planter I’m coaching asked me the other day how long it was from when we first started meeting as a small group to launch Sunday. It was a quick ramp up! This guy was on month 16 and still had 4 months to go before their official launch.
Sometimes I wish I would have gone that route. We officially started meeting weekly as a small group in Jan ’13 and we started gathering monthly for worship services then as well. That was the Shepherd Bar era, that was fun!
During that time, I traveled and spoke for a living. Many church planters are much smarter than I am and don’t have a day job as they plan to launch their church, that didn’t work out for me. Every waking second I wasn’t traveling and speaking, I
was planning, preparing and praying for our launch in October of 2013.
The craziest part (and the stoopedest) was that summer, I had 46 flights in 3 months and spoke all over the place! Don’t get me wrong, I loved it! It was a huge honor to teach God’s word all over the country and it provided for my family…double win! But wow, it was a crazy season of life.
I WISH, if I could go back in time. I would have spent at least 6 solid months working full time for Thrive before we officially launched. But, 10 months after we first started meeting as a small group, on October 6, 2013 we officially launch as Thrive Church with 155 people!
I was officially hired to be Thrive’s Pastor by our Management Team and my official start date was either September 1st or 2nd!
They have gone by quick! Especially years 1 and 2. Year 2-3 might just be the toughest year of ministry I’ve had in 20+ years of serving and working for Churches. But, even through the pain, there have been so many amazingly rewarding moments!
3 Lessons I’ve Learned about Planting and Leading a Church
I know, I was hoping my first lesson would sound super intelligent and ridiculously theological, but it’s me. I would simply pray more! I would devote large portions of my time to prayer. I would get up earlier. I would pray harder. I would pray for people more. I would have more prayer meetings. I would lay hands on people and pray more. I would teach people to pray BIG. I would take more prayer walks.
I would pray more.
TWO…Cast BIGGER VISION.
Oh my goodness, every leader that I’ve ever heard speak about vision is correct when they say…VISION LEAKS! It does! Every one’s vision buckets (like Bill Hybel’s says) has holes in the bottom!
I would read and re-read every book on vision that I could. I read every article and listen to every message. I would learn how to tell better stories and capture stories. I would cast bigger vision.
I would cast BIGGER VISION.
THREE…Right size my expectations.
I had a very incorrect assumption when we started and my expectations for everyone were pretty off. Honestly, it was pretty unfair of me. I assumed that every one would love Thrive Church as much as I do and want to sacrifice and give and see it grow as much as I did.
I have since learned a very valuable lesson…Thrive Church is not for everyone! We just can’t be. And everyone is not going to be as invested as I think they should be. And this is all ok! Doesn’t mean we won’t push people to grow in their faith or challenge them or encourage them to be in a small group. It just means that I needed to right size my expectations.
I caused myself hurt because sometimes I spent a ton of time pouring and investing into people who eventually left Thrive Church and it absolutely crushed me. It still crushes me anytime somebody leaves. Whether they talk to me or not, it still stings. I talk to Pastors about this all the time and I hear the same thing over and over, it always hurts.
But, the hurt is different now. Why? I have done a better job of right sizing my expectations.
I would right size my expectations.
It’s been 3 amazing years. Honestly, we’ve seen God do some things that have just blown my wildest imaginations away! There is a ton I would do differently! There are so many more lessons, but these three are the big ones.
I can’t wait for the next 3 years! I think God has done some amazing work in my heart and leadership and in my team’s as well this past year and I think and pray and believe that this next year will be our best yet!
We have a giant vision to reach the more than 70,000 people who don’t have a Church home in Central MI! We want to see marriages healed. We want to see kids and students passionate about Jesus and the Church. We want to raise up followers of Jesus who give their lives to Him.
It’s been a GREAT 3 years but they’re over.
I really believe…
The Best is Yet to Come!