Photo by Waymon Mattison Jr
Yesterday, I had a conversation with a good friend who is in a tough situation. He asked me what I thought he should do, and I’d love to extend the question to you.
THE SCENARIO: My good friend is a part of a church plant in a small, academic college town in the Northeast. As a highly gifted worship leader, he has been a part of a number of new churches in the past. And so when a young church planter who felt called by God to plant a church moved into the community, my good friend immediately connected with him and volunteered to help in whatever way he could.
The planter is a good man. He may not have some of the outward charismatic gifts that one might normally associate with a church planting pastor, and he may struggle at times relationally, but he is a man of character who has risked and invested much to see this church become a reality. After moving to town, the church planter bought a storefront in town with his own money, and has been working to remodel the space as the home of the future new church ever since.
During this time, the core team has been meeting weekly for a time of teaching and worship in one of their homes. Up until now, the plan has been to grow in relationship with one another and to grow their team as they function more and more like a church and prepare to one day move into their storefront space. This has been going on for most of 2 years.
So, what’s the problem?
After 2 years, the team consists of just three couples…that is, 6 PEOPLE. By anyone’s standards, that is a slow start. Worst of all, aside from a little more drywall getting done and some occasional paint here and there, there is no sign of forward movement or change. New relationships aren’t being initiated. No evangelism. No fresh move of the spirit. No discernable life change. And despite a conversation about concerns here and there amongst the planter and my friend, there is no sign of anything changing.
In the meantime, there is another church in town where God is doing some neat things. They started an alternative service fairly recently where a new community is forming that is focusing its efforts on reaching the local college community. My good friend has become close with a couple key leaders at the church and they have expressed a need they have for someone to lead worship for this alternative service, and have personally asked my friend to consider stepping into that role.
He is really torn. He and his wife have grown in frustration over the past 2 years. His wife is ready to call it and move on with their lives, and if he is really honest, he’s getting there. But he cares about this church planter. He recognizes the sacrifice he has made to plant this church, he recognizes the planter’s sincere heart for God, but he seriously questions whether the planter is gifted to do it. If he leaves, the planter will essentially be losing both his music leader and 1/3 of his church.