I've been wanting to write this post for a long time. Problem was I didn't have the full list - until now. Helping start a church has been one of the most rewarding and difficult ventures I've experienced. Recently, I've discovered the lack of material for people about joining a church plan. So I created a quick list myself.
Before getting too far, I want to mention that this list isn't an encyclopedia about church planting nor is it perfect. I also want to point out that I've always believed that you should run toward something and not from something. Leaving your church because you're not happy isn't the best idea, but feeling called to step out of your comfort zone to help grow God's Kingdom is a GREAT place to start. Here's the list in no particular order:
1. Experience Church In A Simplified Way
Churches can have a lot of red tape. I can say this because I've been going "9 months before I was born." Simple doesn't mean boring or plain either. It does mean a clear focus without too many "things." I think this happens for two reasons. The first is because most church planters want to spend the majority of their time on issues and work that matters. The second is because church plants have limited resources and leadership, which forces them to be intentional.
In most cases, you won't see the greatest equipment, venue, programs etc. But last time I checked, Jesus didn't comment about having a great sound system. He did say "feed my sheep."
2. You Want To Reach Unchurched People
Before I began planting at Gratis, I was part of two large churches. Both were fantastic and helped me learn things far beyond my years. Yet, in both cases I found almost all of my time, talents and resources were being focused on church folks. I didn't know many people who were unchurched. The worst part was that it didn't bother me.
Now that I've been part of a church plant, I've found myself surrounded by people who are unchurched, de-churched or to be honest could care less about God or Hillsong United. God started teaching me about true discipleship. Only God can change someone's heart, not creative or witty one liners from a speaker. Something else I learned is that unchurched people care more about people than most church goers. Did I say that right? Yes! They genuinely care about you and me.
I was blinded in my pursuit of the right things to say, that I was missing the opportunity to love - to be a great friend, neighbor, coworker. Genuinely loving your neighbor as yourself is what the church is all about. You see this in full form at a church plant.
3. You Want To Disciple Young Christians
I'm not talking about kids. I'm talking about fully grown adults who recently became a Christian or have been without someone to personally disciple them. I'm going to warn you - true discipleship ain't easy! Jesus only discipled twelve people, and He's Jesus. It's a simple task, to show God in everything and share life together. You shouldn't be scared about walking through life with someone; they won't bite. But it does take time, and shouldn't be taken lightly.
4. God Wants You To Test Him
You may not have been expecting this on the list. Truthfully, neither did I until I, but God wanted here. So here it is. Someone out there has been feeling God stirring them to step out of the boat. What are you waiting for? What's holding you back? Trust me, I've had my fair share of jumping the nest moments in my life. The jump never gets easier, but the faith grows knowing God will do His part. I believe Batterson said "God will never call you to do something that you can do yourself."
5. See God Do Something Fresh In You
Joining a church plant puts you in places you thought you'd never go, meeting people you thought you'd never meet, making a difference that you thought you'd never make. I can say that this statement is 100% true. I never dreamed the impact that God would have by my decision to help plant a church.
While the results may not be instant, the feeling of being part of something bigger can be. I immediately started to feel God moving in a fresh and exciting way in my life. Sometimes, it takes a little stirring of the pot to make things different. Nothing is more exciting than seeing people experience the greatness of God for the first time. At Gratis, we always say to treat every day like it's the first day and last day of your life.
That's it! You made it through the list. Hopefully, you will find this list encouraging or at least eye opening. If you live in the Monroe, GA area, we would love for you to "experience the difference" at Gratis Church. You can check out all of the info around our site. Where ever you are, make a difference.