Whenever a church planter/leader’s blog goes silent for a while, you can bet that things are either going really well or really poorly. In this case, thankfully, my unintended blogging break is evidence of things going really, really well.
Now, to get the ball rolling again, I’d like to share some of the lessons God’s taught us since ClearView Church launched. I wish I could say they’re original, never-before-thought nuggets of theological brilliance. Alas, they’re not. Maybe next year I’ll come up with something catchier – The Unicorn Principle, perhaps???
1. There are seasons.
Remember when you were a kid and you’d hit a growth spurt? You’d be the same height for a while, and then all of a sudden your shoe size would jump, then your arms and legs would seem to grow independent of the rest of your body, and then – and only then – the rest of your body would seem to clue in, stretching and filling out accordingly.
Growing isn’t smooth and it rarely seems coordinated, though of course it is. That’s how it is with growing a young church too. A more congenial metaphor is the idea that there are different seasons of growth. One week there aren’t any babies in the nursery. The next week there are 6. You can’t predict it, but you try your best to be ready in anticipation.
We’ve been through a season where only young singles seemed to be finding us. Then a season where no one was finding us. Then a season where families with kids, etc., etc., etc.
There are seasons where everyone who comes your way needs help, and you wonder if you can serve that many needs. And there are seasons where everyone who comes is looking to help, and you wonder if you’ve got enough spots for everyone to serve. It’s funny. The key is to remember that a season is only a season – enjoy it or survive it because tomorrow could be different.
2. Risk is a good thing.
Starting from scratch, there’s no alternative but to risk. So we’re trying to make it part of our DNA that we stay risky, that we lean toward faith, not sight.
Has everything we’ve tried been a homerun? No. But a lot have been, and the lesson in that is that not all mistakes are created equal. It’s far better to swing and miss than to not swing at all. (Unless your church thinks faith is overrated.)
This personal lesson led to the teaching series “Hey Buddy, It’s Green!”
3. Choose health over growth.
Growth is a result of health. If you’re pressuring folks into roles of service or leadership because you need to fill those roles in order to grow, you’re actually limiting, not facilitating, growth. Ministries, programs, and groups are helpful only if they’re venues of health. More than once we’ve slowed down or scaled back to make sure that those leading in a given area were doing so out of a place of spiritual health. Church members should think of their involvements as joys, not obligations.
4. You’re only as good as your relationships.
I don’t have anything profound to say here. It’s just true. You need good relationships among leaders, among church members, with guests, within small groups, with neighbors, with unchurched folks, and with other churches, non-profits and community groups.
5. God is good.
Something that’s often repeated in Scripture and around ClearView is this: “Give thanks to the Lord for He is good. His love endures forever.”
I’m so grateful that in this first year, I’ve seen God’s goodness again and again. The more you see it, believe it, and hang on to it, the more you’ll trust, the more you’ll smile, and the more you’ll lean into relationships. This sounds lofty and nebulous, I know, but we’ve come to discover that it’s as practical as it gets.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve only got a year to figure out what unicorns have to do with church leadership.