How To Reduce The Stress Of Church Planting
Back in April, Entrepreneur.com posted an article titled, “How to Curb The Stress Factor At Your Startup.” This post caught my attention mainly because of the first point: “Work toward a higher-level goal.”
It’s pretty interesting how post after post on this website relates to church planting. But this particular one prompted me to dive into some ways that church planters can reduce the stress load for themselves and their core team.
1. Work Toward A Higher-Level Goal
I’ve worked with dozens of church planters, and am the daughter of a church planter. So I have seen how easy it is for church planters to get sucked into worrying about things like the next event, how they are going to invite more people to launch day, or how they’re going to pay their next mortgage bill. I can go on and on with reasons why it’s normal for church planters to stress out to the extreme. The most important thing planters and their teams need to do during these times, though, is to remember who they are working for (The Lord) and what their main goal is (to reach the lost and unchurched). Remembering that your task is not meaningless will provide a new motivation to keep working through those tense moments.
2. Recruit Relational Support
Apparently, the favorite spot for the weight of the world to rest is on the shoulders of a church planter. They (and their teams) often have the responsibility of starting a brand new church family while at the same time growing up their own family. To throw even more on their plates, most work full time in addition to starting a church. To avoid a complete meltdown, a church planter must recruit relational support. You can’t be in this alone.
This could mean you as a core group lean on (and make a commitment to) each other. Maybe babysit each other’s kids for date nights. If you haven’t already, I would also recommend joining a church planting network ASAP. Here is a list we recommend:
3. Recruit and Empower Volunteers
It’s not always easy to find a good volunteer, and people don’t often walk up to your welcome desk begging to help. So this could technically add on to your work/stress load now, but in the long run it’ll be worth it. This is the time to actively recruit. That’s right—be aggressive. Simply saying, “Hey, we need some extra help in the kids ministry; wanna help?” won’t get you too far. But by pointing out people’s qualities and traits and then nurturing those strengths to match with a ministry in your church plant, you’re showing the volunteer that the church not only wants them to help, but NEEDS them.
Let me emphasize again that it’s important to make volunteers feel necessary. For example, I am one of those weird people who actually does walk up to ministry leaders and ask to volunteer. I have a heart for helping at my church. But the moment I start to feel like I am not needed (happens more than you’d think), I start to reconsider, wondering if I’m really contributing anything.
So seek volunteers out and train them. More volunteers means you can focus on being a church planter instead of being a church planter, worship leader, setup guy, kids’ ministry coordinator, and event planner. One job title means a heck of a lot less stress for you.
If you are a church planter and reading this, I hope you can apply some of these suggestions. Or you may laugh because I’ve never planted a church. But true story: I did watch what the stress of church planting did to my dad and family. I think we can all learn from one another.
What else have you done to reduce church-planting stress?