A couple weeks ago at our staff vision day, we were talking about how well our church reflects our values. One of the biggest values we carry is the desire to plant more life-giving churches - especially in Oklahoma and Texas. Then we asked ourselves, "What are we doing right now to reflect that value?" The sad answer was "Not much." Granted, we do give away a large amount of money to future church planting efforts, but that is given to organizations and is much harder to measure progress, especially in individual lives. So, it feels like we're not doing a lot to tangibly help local church planters.
Our church is just over a year old and we're still struggling to establish who we are and how we're going to go about expressing our unique calling by God. As we are struggling through these early stages, I can see how easy it is to get our eyes off any future vision.
When I think of planting churches, I think of personally discipling church planters, having them work on our staff for a couple years, building big vision inside our church and then sending them out with a bunch of people and a bunch of money to start their new church just as strong as they can. Well, we can't do all that right this minute. But, as we talked at Vision Day, we all realized that we can do something. We can share our experiences with future church planters, we can give away equipment to them that we may not be using any longer, we can ask our church to rally around them in prayer, we can introduce them to key people who can help them in ways we can't yet.
Bottom line for us and other young churches. You can't do everything, but you can do something. This week, I was able to give some equipment away to a local church planter who's launching in January in Owasso. It wasn't earth-shaking, but it helped him. I also got to spend some time with another planter launching in Broken Arrow and pointed him to a great graphic artist to do his logo design. The artist gave him such a nice discount that we told the church planter we would pay the bill for his new logo.
Feels good to be on the giving end. If you're in a similar spot to us (new church, struggling yourself), don't get tunnel vision and don't underestimate how much you can help new churches.