Lessons From Home Building for Pastors and Church Planters

Yes, I know it has been a while since I have posted anything.  For the past year and a half my life has been consumed with work, school, family, moving and church planting.  But I am going to make the effort to do more writing, both here and for a book I have been thinking about.

Just to catch everyone up and kinda lay out the background for this post, my wife and I completed our move from Tulsa, our city for the last 13 years, to launch a new church in a new city, Phoenix.  We have been renting a house for the last few months, trying to get the lay of the land and figure out where we wanted to buy a house.  A few weeks ago we were looking at housing communities.  Long story short, we signed paperwork and are currently having a house built.

As I began to reflect on the process it will take to build our house, I saw some parallels with leading or launching a church.  I want to share those with you today.

I’m not actually the builder

Even though you will hear me say that I’m building a house, the truth is…I’m not.  I’m not out there hammering, sawing or measuring.  There is a team of people that are out at the lot every morning, working from a plan that was designed a while ago.  The workers are out there working on a design that has already be measured and shown to be structurally sound.  But in reality, the workers are not the builder either.  The builder is the one that put the design into motion and prepared a place for the building.  The builder found workers that could carry out the plan and structure that he envisioned and designed.

As pastors and church planters, when we say that we are building/establishing/etc. a church, the truth is we are not.  We are simply the workers that are carrying out the design by God.  His plan for the church has been put into motion and we are simply putting together His design.  Remember, “Except the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain that build it…” (Psalms 127:1) The ultimate design of the church and its structure belong to the Master Builder (God).

Clear the lot

When we signed our paperwork for the house, we were excited and found ourselves driving past the lot each day looking for the to start the building process.  Each morning we would drive past and see…nothing.  Well nothing except a big trash can.  It seemed as if there was no progress.  However, in actuality, progress was being made.  The workers were clearing the lot of any debris.  They had to go through and remove any trash or large rocks before they could proceed with the next steps.  They also had to even out the ground to ensure that the house being built would be done on solid and secure ground.

As a church planter, I recognize that part of the process of planting a church required that I remove the debris from my life.  I had to check my motives.  I had to ensure that my marriage and family was ready for the task at hand.  I had to remove anything that could be considered a barrier or obstacle.  I had to ensure that my life, theology, thoughts, etc were solid.

Lay the foundation

Two days ago, the workers laid the foundation.  It was exciting to see the concrete trucks at the lot pouring the foundation for our new home.  As I dove past, it really hit me that my wife and I were actually moving forward with a house.  Aside from the paperwork, this was a clear signal that the home building process was underway.  The thing about the foundation is that once the framing goes up, the brick and stucco are added, and paint goes all over, no one really gets excited or moved by the foundation.  However, everything else regarding the house depends on a solid and secure foundation.

In this process of planting a church, we have recognized just how important our foundation will be to the future success and stability of the church.  Yes, i would love to start Sunday services and just get going, but in doing so I run the risk of having a shoddy foundation.  Therefore, take the time to lay a foundation for what God has called you to do.  Take time to pour into the men and women around you not just to cast vision, but to let the vision settle in them.

To Be Continued…

There is so much more to share about this process.  So, yeah, I am breaking this up into at least 2 posts.  Stay tuned for part 2!

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