5 Lessons I Am Learning


Twice a year I attend the Church Planting Leadership Fellowship at Lifeway in Nashville, TN.  It has been a very beneficial time for me in meeting other leaders who have already travelled the road I am journeying on now.  Their insights have been helpful and just knowing that I am not the only one struggling to figure this church planting thing out is refreshing.  It has been amazing to learn that so many others are having the same struggles and the same conversations that my tribe is having.  I must admit I have known lesson #1 one a long time but feel that it needs to be said. 


Lesson #1  We are not the only ones with a burden and passion to reach the world with the gospel of Jesus Christ.  And God is using many to do great and amazing things!


The leaders I have met are godly men who love the Lord and are willing to share the lessons they have learned.  Our Dynamic Church Planting International training defines a mentor as, “Someone who has been where you want to go and is willing to help you get there.”  These men are kingdom minded and are willing to share their discoveries so that it might benefit others who have the same vision: a church multiplication movement in North America!  What I have learned from them has allowed me to develop systems much quicker than starting from scratch.


Lesson #2  We do not have to reinvent the wheel!  We can learn from others who have blazed trails to better prepare their church planters to succeed and not fail!


The last CPLF meeting was one of the best with the focus on what God is doing globally and what we can learn from them.  There were leaders from Hong Kong, China, Germany, Sri Lanka and several other Asian countries.  One of the speakers has been instrumental in helping to start a movement that has seen almost 2,000,000 receive Christ.  Missiologist and researcher David Garrison said when they began to study the numbers; they were actually higher than what was being reported.  When asked what titles they give to their trainers this leader replied, “We do not give them titles because when they get titles they do not work anymore!”


Lesson #3  The churches in North American are not the leaders in multiplication but are the learners.  We need the wisdom of foreign missionaries and nationals more than ever!


There are so many materials out there today, some great and some not so great, to help churches get back on mission for God.  Sometimes I wonder if we are closer to the church of the Laodiceans than we are willing to admit.  Rev. 3:17 says, “Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:” The mission of Jesus was to make disciples and we have been commanded to make disciples.  How is that going for you?  Disciple making is not about the transfer of information but the transformation of lives.


Lesson #4  It is not rocket science!  We must keep beating the drum to make disciples that make disciples that make disciples.  We need obedience based discipleship!


The longer I serve the Lord the more I realize how helpless I am without Him.  In Building a Discipling Culture Michael Breen says, “Growth must happen before fruit is produced.  And growth occurs from knowing how to abide.”  If I want my life to be fruitful I must first abide in Him.  You rest before you work and you abide before you are fruitful.  Michael Breen also said, “Prayer was as fundamental an element in the life of Jesus as breathing.  He inhaled His Father’s presence so He could exhale His Father’s will.”  There is no doubt that Jesus’ fruitfulness was because of His focused and intentional relationship with His Father.


Lesson #5  The importance of the work and ministry of the Holy Spirit is greatly underestimated.  Nothing of eternal value happens without God showing up!


God does not need me, nor is He dependent upon me, to accomplish His will but He has allowed me the privilege to participate in His kingdom work. When we are redeemed, God has placed everything inside of us to accomplish what He has called us to do.  We need to have enough confidence in God to believe that He meant it when He said He would finish the good work He has begun in us.  Strategies and plans are important but without God showing up nothing of eternal significance will happen.  The good news is that He wants to show up and He will when we cry out to Him!  

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