6 years ago today, Katie and I, along with Ava moved to Arizona and began the journey of planting Revolution Church.
It is hard to believe that it has been 6 years. Here are some things I’ve learned in the last 6 years:
- Church planting is harder than I thought it would be. Church planting is sexy and everyone is doing it. It is also harder than anyone tells you. If you aren’t careful, church planting will eat your lunch. At every turn, church planters hear about the churches that baptize 2,000 people in a weekend, the churches that explode to 5,000 in 5 years. The comparison game is grueling, the guilt you feel that you aren’t doing enough, the expectations that others have for you, can all kill you. If you are thinking about planting a church (read this), make sure you are called to it, make sure your wife is on board with it and know that it will be one of the hardest things you attempt. But, if God has called you, it will be the most amazing thing you can give your life to.
- After Jesus, your marriage is the most important relationship you have, act like it. After counseling couples for years, watching pastors fall out of ministry for moral failures, hearing couples talk about the disaster it turned out to be because they put their kids before their marriage (here are 10 ways to know if you’ve put your kids before your marriage). Know this: your marriage is more important than any other human relationship. Schedule a weekly date night and protect it with your life. Schedule a yearly getaway for you and your spouse and protect it with your life. Make sure your wife gets time each year for just her, no kids. And protect it with your life.
- Can’t believe I have 4 kids. It is hard to believe that we have 4 kids. When we moved to Arizona, we had one with one on the way. Adopting was something we talked about, but was way off in the future. Now, we have completed one adoption. The task of discipling and pastoring my kids is overwhelming. Thinking about the people they will become and my part in that is enormous. I’ve learned to take this seriously. I’m learning to not sweat the small things. The things I think are a big deal, there’s a good chance that a year from now they won’t matter.
- Being healthy (physically, spiritually, emotionally, mentally and relationally) takes a lot of work. It isn’t anyone else’s job to keep yourself healthy. If you aren’t healthy physically, spiritually, emotionally, mentally or relationally, you have only yourself to blame. I know that sounds harsh, but after losing 120 pounds, hitting a wall emotionally and physically in ministry, all of that was on me. No one else can take care of you, protect your schedule, make exercise a priority or eat and sleep well. That’s on you.
- It takes a lifetime to see the fruit of a ministry. While there are seasons of growth in a church that are unlike other seasons. Some are tough, planting, pruning and weeding. At Revolution, that was 2012. 2013 has been one of those growth seasons that is exciting and you often feel like you are playing catch-up. If you are in a great season of growth in your church, enjoy it, savor it. Know it won’t last forever and it has very little to do with you. If you are in a hard season, know it won’t last forever. Remember, you gave your life to a church, to serve and lead her. When we moved to Arizona, we moved here with the intention and prayer that we would give our lives to the city of Tucson and to Revolution Church. That is our prayer to this day. Too many pastors take the short view, but the most effective and fruitful pastors in history have been the ones who gave their lives to one place.
- Work with people you love. This took me awhile to get right. As a leader, you need to surround yourself with talented people, but with people you love to work with. Some of my closest friends are on my staff or serve as elders. This is an amazing feeling. Life and leadership go to a new level when you around people you love.