This week I had the privilege of encouraging and sharing my church planting story at Stadia’s Church Planting Assessment Center. I got to speak to a room full of potential church planters, campus pastors, pastors and ministry leaders. 5.5 years ago, I was sitting where they were. It’s so surreal to think about that.

Here’s what I shared…11536033_828233293938653_9206090676087772390_n

Church Planting is worth it!

The miracles and the life change are worth it.

It is worth the pain, the pressure, the anxiety, the worry, the stress, the fear, the fundraising, the late nights, the recruiting, the vision casting, the asks, the study, the research, the agreements, the launch team meetings, the preview services, the launch, the set up and tear down, all the prayers, the sleepless nights, the heartache. 

Church Planting is so WORTH IT! 

Church planting has changed me. It really has. I’m a whole lot grayer, that’s for sure! But, it has literally changed my heart and my soul. I was a youth pastor for a long time and I loved it. Stepping into planting and leading a Church has been a whole different kind of leadership for me. My dependance on God has grown. My trust in Him has deepened. The way He’s made Himself known to me has been incredible. 

 Church planting has changed my family. 360 Sunday’s ago, our family dove into the crazy world of Church Planting. We did it as a family. For the first 3.5 years, our entire family, all 6 of us, loaded up in the mini van at 615am every Sunday morning and went and unloaded the trailers, set up our church, did Church, tore down and then loaded the trailers. We gave and still give our kids a voice in our Church and asked their opinions and their thoughts. We served together. Our family is in a small group community together and we love it. My parents sold their house, moved 2.5 hours north, found new jobs all because they were called to plant with us. My mom started a counseling center out of our Church. My dad leads teams of people.

Seeing my kids plant a church with their grandparents has been the greatest gift ever.

the raitz men prayingIt is so worth it! The life change and miracles are worth it.

Church planting has changed my wife. Church planting gave my wife her voice. We partnered together for 17 years in ministry before she came to assessment and found her leadership voice. The night all the paperwork was due for the assessment center, at 1130pm, she said, I’m not doing it. She was not going to do it. It was too overwhelming. Guess what? She did. She came CPAC. Actually, our first CPAC I got off the plane in TN with a 105 fever and had to stay in a hotel and come back again! It was crazy. And, at the time, I was traveling full time as a speaker and so the wait was killer. Going the Assessment Center changed her life. She realized she was just as called as I was to plant a Church. She found her leadership voice. To see the leader she’s become has been worth it.

Church planting has changed my kids. My 18 year old has been leading adults since she was 13. She has discipled more teenage girls than I can even keep count. She lead our youth group. She has learned how to be resilient when other teens have come and gone. Just last month, she took the mic on a Sunday morning, which she is hesitant to do, but she has a gift, and she shared her story with our church and people cried. I cried. She cried. It was powerful. 

Church planting has changed me. I have seen God provide in ways that I can’t even begin to process and imagine. Like ravens feeding prophets kind of miracles. Like fire coming down from heaven. Like rain ending droughts kind of miracles. We were given a 2013 Town Country Minivan a few years ago. It’s been an amazing blessing to our family. This last summer, we used that van to travel 5200 miles this past summer and speak at 4 churches and 3 summer camps and encourage so many people to find and follow Jesus.

It is so worth it! The life change and miracles are worth it.

Church planting has changed people from my church. I have a friend by the name of Korey once who told me he probably wouldn’t be back at Church. He visited on a Sunday that we called Dad Fest. He was pretty quiet and honestly, kind of intimidating. We started praying for him. He trusted in Jesus. He was baptized with his wife. It was the most astounding day ever. Since then, he has started a Cars ministry at Thrive and has fixed dozens and dozens of cars. It’s unreal! 

Church planting has changed our area. When we started Thrive, we wanted to start a Church that would be FOR THE COMMUNITY, not just in it. So many Churches, in our opinion are just in their community. We always wanted to be a movement. That’s what we started the Shoe Project. In the course of 5 years, we have partnered with 5 schools and have distributed 2100 shoes!! So many kids have told our volunteers on Shoe Day that they have never owned a brand new pair of shoes! Just unreal! 

Church planting is worth it. Yes, the pain has been so severe and intense at times, I have wanted to throw in the towel. The relational pain alone has caused a few mini depressions. Being misunderstood and gossiped about and spoken about poorly on facebook has taken me to the brink.

But, it is so worth it!

The Life Change and the Miracles are so worth it! 

We must plant more churches! We must move forward and invest our lives into starting new communities that will love the least, the lost and the last. We have to love in such a way that the people in our communities who have given up on God and given up on Church will want to be a part of what we’re doing!

Church Planting is worth it. The life change and the miracles are worth it.

 

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