Welcome to this week’s Church Leader Insights. We’ve got a ton of excellent reading for you this week.
Many people share in the success stories of their church plants. Many church planters are quick to tell you the great things happening at their current campus. As encouraging as those stories are, it’s equally as important to hear about the mistakes that people made in their church planting so that we can learn from them. Here are five mistakes and the lessons I’ve learned as a church planter.
1. Don’t underestimate the difficulty of church planting, and don’t overestimate your own ability.
This point is a two-in-one, because there were really two lessons learned here. Don’t overestimate your own ability. Sometimes it’s easy to think that success from your current position at a church will carry over into your new idea. Some people even have the idea that they are God’s gift to church planting and will be able to succeed simply because they want to. It’s crucial to humble yourself to yourself, to the church, and before the Lord. Remember why you are church planting in the first place. Be faithful, be fruitful, and listen to God.
Don’t underestimate the difficulty of church planting. Ministry is hard, but, in some ways, church planting is even harder. When there is no building, no money, no resources, and no people, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the impossibility of the task at hand. However, it is in these moments that you find your true hope in the gospel. Church planting is difficult and hard work, and the more you prepare yourself for that, the better off you will be.
That seems to be the underlying question being asked in a disturbing article by the ABC, and the corresponding story on the ‘7.30 Report‘.
Reporters Julia Baird and Hayley Gleeson write:
Research shows that the men most likely to abuse their wives are evangelical Christians who attend church sporadically. Church leaders in Australia say they abhor abuse of any kind. But advocates say the church is not just failing to sufficiently address domestic violence, it is both enabling and concealing it.’
‘Enabling’ and ‘concealing’ domestic violence is about as serious a claim as you could make. Their article contains disturbing accounts of women who were horrifically abused by husbands who claimed to be Christians, and were then shown a lack of care by their churches.
It’s not a read for the faint-hearted. I felt sick in the stomach reading what these women had to endure. It made me angry. And so it ought.
But what should Christians and churches make of all this? How do we care for the victims of DV, and how do we respond to such serious allegations about Church failures? Does Evangelical Christianity somehow cause DV?
Here are some thoughts:
1) Churches Must Support The Victims Of DV, and Take Action Against The Perpetrators
I’ve worked hard to narrow down this list of the best church websites I’ve seen in 2017 to just three.
That’s right. Not a long list of the best websites. Just three.
But three church websites that I think are for very different reasons rise above the rest.
Your website or mine probably isn’t in this short-list either. Call me ruthless. That’s okay.
The websites are listed in no particular order. Just click on the picture to go to their site and check them out.
Hope City Church
This is a video-driven, mobile responsively activated landing page. It moves quickly and with alot of vibrancy. The branding screams high energy and younger generation. It’s a large church that has been able to communicate a unique difference to what you can expect from a church very quickly.
Instead of ‘Once church, many locations.’ which has a corporate feel to it.
It says ‘One church, all over the place.’ which says relaxed, not corporate at all.
For some, the video might be completely over-powering, but if that is the case, like me, you won’t be the target audience.
Let’s use the word HOPE as an acronym and draw four principles out of the story of Elijah for finding freedom from depression.
Honour Your Body
The first step in dealing with depression is to honour your physical body. Let’s keep reading.
Then (Elijah) lay down and slept under the broom tree. But as he was sleeping, an angel touched him and told him, “Get up and eat!” He looked around and there beside his head was some bread baked on hot stones and a jar of water! So he ate and drank and lay down again. Then the angel of the Lord came again and touched him and said, “Get up and eat some more, or the journey ahead will be too much for you.”So he got up and ate and drank, and the food gave him enough strength to travel forty days and forty nights to Mount Sinai, the mountain of God. There he came to a cave, where he spent the night (1 Kings 19:5-9).
Remember, there is nothing in the Bible by accident. Elijah had recently had a mountain top experience but was now depressed. In fact, he was so depressed that he wanted to die. God did not show up, but he sent an angel. The angel recognised that Elijah was totally exhausted. He was emotionally and physically worn out. He had been through an amazing high and now he was in this deep low. He was in despair. Notice that the angel first began to attend to Elijah’s physical well-being.
It is interesting to note that when we are depressed, we tend to neglect our physical body. If we are going to come out of depression, there is a great benefit from honouring our physical body. The word “honour” means to value, to respect, and to look after.
The angel let Elijah sleep and get some rest. Sometimes when you are depressed, you need to sleep, you need to rest. The average person needs seven to eight hours sleep a night. Life is meant to have a rhythm where we alternate between being engaged in activity then disengaging for rest and recovery.