It’s Personal: Surviving and Thriving on the Journey of Church Planting

Anyone who has planted a church knows that it can be hard. It can be tough on your spiritual life, your marriage, your kids, your health. It can, if you are called to it, one of the most rewarding and exciting journeys you will ever take. Brian and Amy Bloye have written an incredibly helpful book for anyone who is thinking about planting a church, in the process of planting or have done it called It’s Personal: Surviving and Thriving on the Journey of Church Planting.

I’ve already shared a few things from the book this past week in posts on the 4 types of friends a pastor should have and 3 distinctives to a vision based on building God’s kingdom.

While the book covers a lot of ground and seems to largely be written for people who are thinking about planting a church or are just at the beginning of the process, there are a ton of things to learn from this book, regardless of where you are.

The reality, church planting is incredibly personal. You pour your time, energy, blood, sweat and tears into it, often with the potential of financial ruin if the church plant fails. As much as you want to think it, when someone leaves a church plant, it is hard for a pastor not to take it personally. When people lash out about decisions on the budget, starting or killing a ministry, or passing on a ministry idea, it is hard to not take that personally. When you counsel someone and they don’t listen to you and their life implodes, it is hard not to feel emotionally involved. For a pastor’s wife, when people tear her husband down, say nasty things about her or to her, it is hard to not take that personally.

That’s what this book is about, when ministry becomes “to personal,” becoming an idol that we serve instead of serving Jesus and allowing Him to build the church instead of thinking we do.

Here are a few thoughts that jumped out at me:

  • There is a sense in which a church plant is a reflection of your personal relationship with Christ.
  • Why is church planting so personal? Because God meets your needs in a highly personal way. He requires you to come up close, to push your faith to a new and uncomfortable level. And the greater your need, the greater your joy when he meets it – and the greater he is glorified.
  • Jesus said he would build his church, but he leaves it up to us to build our families.
  • In marriage, it’s far too easy for us to load each other down with so many hindrances and extra burdens that our steps become slower and we finally stumble. Our insecurity and negativity are weights. Our failure to find significance in Christ, demanding it from the relationship instead, is a weight. Chaos, busyness, discontentment – all weights.
  • There are times you are going to have to disappoint someone; make sure it is not your kids.
  • Satan doesn’t have to destroy you; he just has to distract you.
  • Parents today are focused on giving their children everything they themselves never had that they forget to give them what they did have – the simple things in life, principles and values that were instilled in them as children, things that are far more valuable than the latest smartphone or video game.
  • Not every church is called to do every ministry.
  • For what’s at stake, you must do whatever it takes.
  • Check your egos at the door because only God gets the credit here. It’s not about me as the pastor. It’s not about staff members either.
  • Our best hires never even asked about salary until the very end of the hiring process.
  • You want the kind of team member who are drawn to a compelling and exciting vision rather than a salary and benefits package.
  • I can’t do something for everyone, but I can do something for someone.
  • If you reach out to broken people, you’ll always have an audience.
  • When does church planting become too personal? It becomes too personal when you lose sight of the fact that it is God’s church.

If you are thinking about church planting, in the middle of it, this is a book worth picking up.