This will be kind of an odd post but … This morning we had a team visit that’s about to plant a church in North Carolina. I think this is the fourth such group we’ve had in the last month. I’m also getting to fly to Nashville this week to do some sessions for a Church Planter’s Bootcamp.
So here’s why I mention this: Back ten years ago when we were in the dreaming stages of planning a new church, we prayed about and put down on paper seven core values. One of them was that we were going to be “Pacesetters.” That we would partner with, and teach and inspire and equip other churches whenever possible. Why? I’m not sure. Part of it was that there seemed to be so few churches we could look at as an example of what we wanted to do. We searched all over, but there were almost none. And when we did find a few, I loved being able to study what they were doing and learn everything I could. So we felt like it would be cool to be able to inspire churches that wanted to be really different and reach people who were really far from God. (I don’t think it came from any bad, or egotistical motive; this is one thing that was really altruistic.)
What was funny about that core value was that we had four people at the time! In fact, for the first five months of our church’s existence we had four people. (Well, six if you count kids.) So at the beginning we had four, and five months later we still had not added one new person! It was pathetic. But still, we put down on paper that we were “Pacesetters.” It was laughable. Pitiful really.
But God has honored that desire. From our earliest days we have had people looking at what we’re doing. And we’ve had this happen way disproportionate to our size or level of “success.” Even in our first year (when we still had very little size and almost no “success”) we received phone calls from a famous church-growth author, and a pastor in Australia, and many others who said, “We’ve heard about what you’re doing and want to learn from you.” Every time I was stunned, and then laughed. And I continue to be surprised every time a team drives hours to be with us, or we get those phone calls, or I get invited to speak at something, etc., etc. Especially because we have never (and still don’t) do anything to “promote” ourselves. (In fact, this blog is definitely the closest thing we’ve ever done to self-promotion, and I fought against doing this.)
So why do I tell you all this? Well (and this especially goes out to you church planters still in the dreaming stages) – I believe that the reason we are (to some extent) pacesetters is because ten years ago we wrote down on paper that we wanted to be, and we had good motives, and God has honored that. And if you’re in the dreaming stage, I would encourage you to ask God to reveal passions He’s put inside you, and to dream big, and to check your movites, and then to put on paper things that you will be, even it seems laughable right now. God loves to use “pitiful,” “foolish,” “ridiculous,” “silly,” “pathetic.” Trust me, if Forefront can be pacesetters, you can be whatever God has put in your heart to be.
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