Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Four Lessons I've Learned at the Ten-Year Mark (Part 2)

This is part 2 of a four-part series. PCC is now ten years old, and boy have I learned some things along the way.

LESSON ONE: (Posted March 27th 2008)

LESSON TWO: Those Who Started With Us Don’t Always Stay

In every church plant there are two kinds of people – many who are there just for a season, and a few who stay there long term. This was a vital lesson for me to learn because it is easy to get caught up in nurturing temporary people while overlooking those who are long-term people.

Most often these temporary people are already believers when they arrive (at a new church plant) and usually they come from another small church. While attending, these people provide an invaluable service to the church plant; often they give of their finances, and even serve. But caution is the word here - they are temporary.

My own experience has been these people have unrealistic expectations about what our church was going to be like for them, what I would be like, and what my relationship with them would be like. But when they ran into the full force of our vision and the decisions necessary to accomplish it, they decided it was not their vision. They said “yes” to the vision when they first arrived, but deep down they didn’t mean it. i.e., The journey got to them. There was too much change, too many challenges, too much vision, too much something.

What’s the answer? I focus on who stays. It is unfair for those who stay to keep focusing on those who leave. Just writing this point today makes me so thankful for all those people who have been with us over the long haul. They’ve endured change, transition, vision, new people, new policies, and even some bone-headed mistakes made by me. Yet, they’ve hung in there. They caught the vision and stuck with it. You guys are awesome!

To be a part of an ever-changing, growing church requires growing members who expand their vision and their capabilities as the church expands. People who can do this will stay. The others don’t.

People who get the vision, are the ones who will stay with us forever (if they can). Maybe they are people that we won to Christ, or perhaps they found Christ among us, or maybe they were already believers that God genuinely called to our church. Whatever the case, if they get the vision they will stay. They buy in, serve, give, pray, sweep the floors, invite their friends, follow their church leaders, and take care of the babies when no one else will. They have our DNA.

To everyone who has helped us out along the way – I say thank you.

To all our members as well as our former members – I say thank you.