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A college friend named Mitch Corn recently commented on a post where he used an adjective that about sums me up... "tenacious". He's right.

Asking myself why I may be that way I came to this conclusion:
I've seen far too many quitters.

Let me be transparent for a moment. We've had many many reasons to quit. I've had several job offers each year since we started... but God hasn't freed me to move on. So I won't.

Church planting is difficult. And? It's also difficult to Pastor an established church (If you are actually trying to do anything) or transitioning an established church. It's difficult to lead, it's difficult to follow.

The only thing that isn't difficult is laying around on your blessed assurance while taking orders from people who have no clue and no calling. I'm sorry... I may have less stress in my life and a bigger paycheck but that would be a boring existence for me. I'm not called to be a babysitter.

Church planters... at every level of ministry there will be problems for you if you are busting your tail to rescue the lost. We have to quit crying about our situation and get to work. I LOVED being around Robb yesterday because his story parallels mine in so many ways. Faced with the option to keep people and give up the vision or to keep the vision and lose people, Robb chose what countless other planters choose. As a result it's tough... but do you know what his message was on? Getting it done! Moving forward. Changing the world. Rescuing those far from God. Church planters can't be quitters.

Why people quit because things get difficult makes me scratch my head. It's confusing to me. Somehow many of us have bought into this idea that God is only in something when it's easy. Well meaning people have come to a place to believe that when the Holy Spirit is present there is no difficulty. "Smooth sailing when the wind of the spirit is in your sails." That's crap.

I've learned that anything worth achieving is difficult. If you get into church planting because you thought it was easy you are stupid and you should get out now and quit dragging your family though an ego-driven lie. Unless you're called by God to do it and you have counted the cost you will be in for a surprise. Most plants fail for a reason.... it's a hard task. If you're not a planter and you think I'm out to lunch... go plant a church. Heck, even some successful church planters I know are Pastors who left other church plants or who shut down a failed plant before starting work on their current (and gloriously successful) one. This successful one isn't their first rodeo. My point is that they didn't quit planting... they learned from their mistakes, got mentorship and got back to work.

I think it's sad when people look with ignorance to successful church stories without having the background knowledge of these men. Every one of them have unique stories of providence, failure, difficulty and a life of relative obscurity to back up their current success. Church planters would do well to recall the lives of obscurity led in scripture before God poured out his bounty on their faithfulness. God doesn't normally give snot nosed and inexperienced men what they long for... it would drown them. But he does bless the faithful, the strong... the tenacious AS LONG AS they are dependant on Him.

I read something by Oswald Chambers the other day where he said "God wants your reach to be further than your arms so that he can make up the difference." That to me describes what a man of God should strive toward. We can't stop reaching just because our arms are tired... we can't let doubt overwhelm us to the point of failure. We must be faithful and tenacious.

I've heard of too many church planters who quit far too soon. They believe that they aren't doing anything of value. They start to believe that the Holy Spirit is leading less than he once was. These planters are not helped at all by denominational agencies who use them in photo-opts for magazine stories and then pull the plug without much notice. They certainly aren't helped by larger churches who assume because a church hasn't grown to a certain level that the Pastor must not be worth much... They aren't helped by the larger church who comes in and offers the Pastor a job without ever first working to see how they as the larger ministry can help the church plant succeed in areas in desperate need of a healthy and growing church community.

So... yeah I guess I'm tenacious.... but I like to think of it as faithful. If you're considering church planting... be tenacious. Why? Because the Holy Spirit doesn't produce anything less...

"For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline." -2 Timothy 1:7

Mitch, thanks for the encouragement and the healthy reminder.

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Monday, January 08, 2007


At 11:39 AM, Anonymous Mark H said...

Thanks for writing with such brutal honesty. You've fired me up no end. Needed it.

At 1:11 PM, Blogger Jennie, Mitch and Jones said...

Glad God used my sincerity to encourage you.

When i was writing that comment I was thinking back to the LU days.

Man we had some good times! BTW have you checked out our new curriculum Elevate yet. It's amazing. If you haven't I'll send you a demo.

At 9:00 AM, Anonymous Bill LaMorey said...

Great post...if it had a soundtrack, I think it would be "The Eye of the Tiger!" :)


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