As promised last week, I’m going to keep working through a few of my favorite chapters in Rework – a great new book that takes a pretty down-to-earth look at startups. I’m reading through the lenses of my own context – specifically starting new churches.
The next chapter I want to highlight was only one page long, but so important – Start Making Something. Here’s the killer quote:
What you do is what matters, not what you think or say or plan… Ideas are cheap and plentiful. The original pitch idea is such a small part of a business that it’s almost negligible. The real question in how well you execute.
As in many start up situations, a new church looks great on paper. In the early days of vision and planning, when the church exists solely in your head and on the pages of your Moleskine journal, things are flawless – finances are solid, discipleship is happening organically, leaders are being multiplied… Revival is sure to break out!
But then you hit the ground, and things don’t go quite as planned. Church planting is a lot like marriage – no matter how many books you’ve read and seminars you’ve attended to prepare, it is never what you imagined it would be like. Sometimes it’s better. Sometimes it’s harder. But it’s always going to be different.
And so when the plan doesn’t look like reality, all church planters have a choice to make – will you stay engaged in actually doing what you know you should be doing (meeting people, sharing the Gospel, discipling believers, raising up leaders, praying fervently, etc.) or will you tweak the plan?
I’ll be honest – in the early days of Kaleo, I retreated to continually reworking the plan. Why? It’s a lot easier. You can sit in your office with a whiteboard and “dream”, “visioneer”, or whatever word you want to put on it. You can even tell yourself that you’re working “on the church, not just in it”. I know, because I did.
But in the early days, there is no church to “work on”. It becomes easy to spend 90% of your time without actually engaging people, which is about as backward as I can imagine. But I did it – and so do many others, I’d imagine.
The bottom line, particularly as you’re getting started – your strategic planning and brainstorming will pay far less return than finding ways to sit across a cup of coffee, a meal, or a living room with as many people as you can in order to talk about the gospel.
If you’re looking for more, one of the best resources I know of is a talk given by Kevin Cawley and Hunter Beaumont at last year’s Acts 29 Bootcamp in Houston. It’s an immensely practical session called People Gathering in Church Planting – check it out.