About two months ago I sat down with my counselor. (By the way every church planter should have a counselor) and was telling him about some of the “stuff” that was just nagging me.
I found myself a few months into planting Freedom Church starting to worry every Sunday about who would show up. I would sit in the back room where I pray and prepare to preach and rather than praying and preparing I was peeking. Peeking out of the window to see if any cars were coming!
Then finally I caught myself. What was I doing? To combat this craziness I decided to do some self-talk and self-convincing. “I don’t care how many people come”, I told myself, “I need to be completely satisfied if God chooses not to use this church to reach thousands of people”, I thought.
So on a Thursday afternoon I told my counselor about this. I was proud to report to him that I had identified and conquered this deal…without him! That’s when he surprised me. “Shawn”, he said, “That is a lie.”
“I’m sorry what? What is a lie?”, I stammered.
“Why did you plant a church if you don’t think God wants to use it to reach people?” he asked. Good Question. In fact that was the only reason I had planted a church.
Then he looked me in the eyes the way a counselor can without making you feel creepy and he asked me a question I had never been asked, “Why did God want YOU to plant freedom church?” he said.
“So people far from him could find Freedom in Christ” I rattled off our vision statement.
“No”. He said.
“So that the people on the Dream Team would be able to be a part of a great vison”, I tried again.
“No”. He said.
After about three more tries I said, “I give up – you tell me, why?”
“Because he loves you” he said in a way that made tears well up in my eyes.
“Say that outloud” he said.
“God loves me”, I whispered.
Then I had this thought. If God loves me then don’t you think he loves all the people of Berkeley County that don’t go to church. And if he loves them don’t you think he loves our Dream Team and if that is the case I am betting he wants to use us in a mjor way and that we will be amazed at what God is going to do through us and yes, that includes Him building a BIG church out of all of these folks he loves.
So why am I worrying? It’s God’s idea. It’s God who started this thing. It’s God who is going to make it grow. It’s God who takes my simple inviation to a friend and has them say, “yes”.
For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
Philippians 2:13 ESV