Wednesday is for Prayer
One of the challenges for every pastor and church planter is to bring his will in line with the will of God. We have our visions, we have our dreams, we have our perspectives, we have our likes and dislikes and sometimes we convince ourselves that what we want is what God wants.
We learned an interesting lesson in planting 6 daughter churches in nine years. From Bolingbrook, we sent three people to Florida to plant a church when we were less than a year old ourselves. Then we sent five people to Jakarta Indonesia, ten people to Redmond, WA, forty people to Joliet, IL (only 25 minutes away), eight to the Philipines, and seventy to the west side of Bolingbrook, IL to plant a church on the “richer” side of town.
Each time, we challenged the entire church to pray about leaving and going with the new church plant. And in each instance, we had a commissioning service for the people we were sending away for the new ministry. However, in the last instance, the church we were planting was only four miles away and over the next year, we saw another 49 people switch to the new church. In the other five plants, no additional people left after the initial commissioning with exception of the Joliet plant (the next closest) that saw 4-5 others leave mom for daughter church plant over the next three years.
What did we learn?
When you daughter-plant a church there are five categories of people who might potentially go with the new church.
- Those that God calls.
- Those who have friends going.
- Those who will find the new location more convenient.
- Those who are looking for a new adventure.
- Those who might be complaining about something and want a fresh start.
Most church plants have people from every category. But, here is the critical point,
the less sacrifice involved in going, the harder it is for people to truly discern the call of God.
People aren’t bad people because they have a hard time discerning the will of God. It is just a reality. When the cost of something is low, discernment is often low as well. The higher the cost, in decisions like these, the more likely it is that someone will count the cost seriously rather than whimsically or haphazardly.
If you want your core group to pray, really pray, ask them to make some great sacrifice for the cross.
Ask them to do something that will require some significant inconvenience of some length of time.
They will be much more likely to pray hard and search the Scripture hard over their decision.
Up the ante on their prayer life (and yours). And make sure you follow the same pattern yourself.
What the praying man does is to bring his will into line with the will of God so God can do what He has all along been willing to do. Thus prayer changes the man and enables God to change things in answer to man’s prayer.
—AW Tozer; The Price of Neglect, p. 52