I was talking to a church planter the other day who is in the hard season of planting. He told me (something I have felt and heard other planters say), “It seems like nothing we are doing is working or growing. But it seems like Revolution is going gang busters right now.”
A few thoughts I shared with him:
- This season is coming. If you are a pastor, leader or church planter, you will feel like this at some point. Whether it is because it didn’t go as you expected, people leave your church, giving goes down, no one responds to a sermon, you lose a place to meet or have a fight within your leadership or a hard season with your spouse or kids. Either way, it is coming.
- Let’s admit that from our perspective everyone has it easier and better. It doesn’t matter if you are a pastor or not, everyone has it better. Everyone has the bigger church, bigger budget, better marriage, better situation, better staff, better worship leader, kids pastor, student pastor, bigger blog or twitter platform. Everyone else is a better communicator, leader, pastor, better everything. It isn’t true, but it seems that way and because it seems that way, it becomes true in your mind.
- Don’t waste the pruning season. Pruning is brutal. Whether personally or as an organization. Everyone needs it and everyone gets it. The question is if they use it or waste it. Every leader from Moses, David, Jesus and Paul went through the desert and were pruned. Everyone of them came out the other side and while no leader wants to go through the desert, after going through it, they wouldn’t trade it. For me and our church, 2012-2013 was a season of pruning. It was hard. I grew a lot in those years. God did a lot of work on my heart and in our church. During that season, our church didn’t grow a lot. I think sometimes God protects our churches from growing so he can work on the leaders. Bottom line is this, if you are in a season of pruning personally, as a church staff or as a church (and you know if you are), lean into it. Grow in it. Don’t waste it. Those seasons tend to last until God is finished with us so you might as well dig into it.
- Enjoy the harvest season. Right now, Revolution is moving from the pruning season (we are still in it) to a season of growth and harvest. This is what every pastor and church dreams of, and it is fun. This is when things work, things grow, MC’s grown and multiply and people get saved, sermons have life and connect. It is easy to miss this season and not enjoy it. That doesn’t mean sit back and be lazy, but thank God for this season. It is his grace on you.
Regardless of the season you are in, it doesn’t last forever. Spring does come and winter ends. But the summer harvest also moves into a season of fall which becomes winter. Nothing lasts forever, no matter how much we want it to or how much it seems like hard difficult season won’t end, it will.