In preparation for the next church plant, I am reviewing some of the mistakes I made during my first church plant. I am not doing this in some sadistic, depressive way, but rather as a way of correcting what I will do the next time. Also, this might help someone in the process of preparing to plant again.
By no means do I think a person can plant the perfect church with no mistakes. Everyone will make mistakes, and some of those mistakes will be HUGE!
But if by some chance some common, simple-to-avoid mistakes can be avoided then they should be...well...avoided!
One of the first mistakes, and one of the most common, is holding Sunday morning services too early. This is a mistake that is not easily, if ever, repaired. But the planter, working with a good coach, must evaluate and re-evaluate the appropriate time to begin holding Sunday services.
Those in the launch team will pressure the planter to go to service. And that pressure must be resisted. Spend time praying, evaluating, and with the advice of good counsel.
Several reasons planters begin holding Sunday Services are:
1. The pressure of the launch team
2. Expectation of more involvement-the planter thinks that if he/she holds Sunday services more people will come.
3. The planter is "hungry" to worship with the people
4. The planter is impatient.
5. The planter thinks things are moving along well enough to start.
I made the mistake of holding Sunday Services too early. I thought it would be a better time for the core team to gather and join in shared vision. Instead it created several problems:
1. Expectations of a "good" Sunday Service
2. No interaction between me and the core team
3. Visitor expectation of a Church
4. Lack of involvement on the part of the core team-they weren't prepared to take on their role in the process.
5. It drained time, money, and resources away from other, more valuable areas.
Yesterday, while attending the regional Vineyard conference, one of the main mistakes being discussed...starting too soon. I know if I had heard this warning I would have done what most other people would do...Ignore it! I wanted to get started. I have discovered that patience is really a virtue.