Establishing a New Church – Part Three: Get a Job!

ImageToo many people try to establish new churches for the wrong reasons. I mentioned earlier not listening to the experts who try to dissect who’s wired and who’s not for establishing new churches. Without contradicting myself let me give you the short list of who’s NOT ready (notice I didn’t say will never be able) to establish a church…

1) Someone who’s not happy at their present pastorate (or job) 2) A Youth Pastor or similar leader who is ready to ‘move up’
3) Someone who can’t seem to stay happy at any position in ministry
4) Someone who thinks “if only they’d listen to me” (I was once that guy) And most importantly…..
5) SOMEONE WHO’S NEVER WORKED A REAL SECULAR JOB

Why do I emphatically state the last one? Because, if you are going to establish anything of lasting value for Jesus, you need to be able to relate to those you are serving. Jesus was a carpenter for nearly all of his adult life. Paul mended tents. Despite his amazing education, he wasn’t afraid to carry his mending tools with him and utilize his hands to work hard to support his mission. Today, we have professionalized the pastor’s job and now many mission agencies provide a full-time salary for a family (maybe even two or three families) to go to an area and establish a new work. Can this method be effective? Yes but many will still fail and the cost of those failed works exponentially increases the overall cost for the one work that DOES succeed. In this way, the spread of the gospel will move at a snail’s pace compared to other ways of doing this same work…

How?

Well, as I’ve stated before, you must be unique. Uniqueness requires thinking outside the box and that will require you to get a job, maybe even a full time job, to fund your work as you establish your vision. There’s nothing wrong with this. I will admit that for nearly a decade, I worked very hard, put in long hours, and was paid a full time salary to revitalize a dead church (it had closed a few years earlier but was being held together by a group of about 8-10 people). There was a lot that needed done and I do not regret having gone down that road. It was necessary at the time but overall if I regret any one thing during those early years, it’s that I didn’t insist on working at least a part time secular job. I inquired about it at the outset but was told by my sending agency who was paying me that no moonlighting was allowed. I was emphatically told to focus only on the work at hand (which was substantial) and not to be distracted. Looking back, I understood and still do the reasons for this. The relaunch and reestablishment of this church was going to be very involved. It required focus. But still, I could have worked and lessened the burden on my salary. I should have. Now, by necessity, I’m working nearly full time at one job, part time at another, and receive gifts from my sending churches to help with our expenses. This is very New Testament and how I see the Apostle Paul establishing many new works over his journeys in Acts:

For you remember, brothers, our labor and toil: we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, while we proclaimed to you the gospel of God.
(1 Thessalonians 2:9)

You need to work for several reasons. The easiest one is, you need to meet people. Getting a job in a service industry puts you in contact with many folks who may be searching. It also gives you a platform to share with your co-workers. You cannot and do not want to abuse this privilege but if you serve Jesus in this job, he will likely open doors for you that you did not expect. I’ve been blessed in my secular work and you will be too. Another reason: You need freedom. Many agencies will pay you a salary but will also require (and they have the right) that you will do things a certain way and if you do not, then you risk having your salary pulled. You can and should be accountable for your ministry but you cannot and should not have to please even the most marginal of folks who many times will insist you do things a certain way using the very methods I’ve told you to avoid. This new thinking by necessity will force you to be bi-vocational but the freedom you will have to establish a life transforming movement for Jesus depends on it. are you ready? Good! Then go online, start applying for your part/full time job and keep dreaming and outlining the vision God has given you.

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