The other day my colleague Ed Love told me there was a “classic multiplication book” about “Church Planting Landmines” by Tom Nebel and Gary Rohrmayer. Sounded like something I should have read before I entered the turbulent planting waters myself.
Turns out the book was published 7 years after I planted so I guess I’m getting kinda old! Ed loaned me the book and I’ve been engaging it the last month.
Let me confess to you which of these landmines I stepped on:
The first church planting landmine is “Ignoring Personal Health and Growth.” The authors say “finishing well as a leader is determined in the middle game” like a chess match and that things like mentoring, accountability, discipliners, coaches spiritual guides are critical for a church planter.
I confess that I stepped on this landmine for sure. I don’t know that I totally ignored my personal health and growth as a planter, but I didn’t seek out the mentoring and accountability I needed. I don’t think I GREW a lot spiritually in those years. I think part of my barrier here was arrogance. I was too full of myself to seek out those who had more experience. I sometimes viewed their experience as actually the problem and they didn’t have the fresh eyes I had (how silly).
I was a young minister and had the flock to tend, and people to reach, so I think I positioned myself as the discipler not the one in need of ongoing discipleship. So I eased into passive coaching relationships and surface accountability and mentoring—times where I would swap stories and “pick someone’s brain” not really get into the grit of why I was so stuck as a church planter.
As I reflect on it, I think this is also the season where I neglected core spiritual practices which were so important to me in most other seasons of life–like a consistent and meaningful day alone with God–and truly restorative vacations with my family.
This is one I wish I had seen coming.
How about you, are you in danger of stepping on this landmine? What are you doing to avoid it?