Our church has been building a new church building. We broke ground last October and are about to have our first service this Sunday. There are some crazy stats out there about what happens to many pastors after a building project. Many end up quitting due to fatigue, being jaded, the stress, disappointment or whatever. That said, I vowed that would not happen to me, and because of some amazing people in the process I have been shielded from quite a bit of what could have taken life from me.
With all that said, building a new structure and moving from being a portable church of 1200 in weekly attendance to a new building is stressful and challenging. It is an incredible privilege and opportunity and one I would not trade. I have been looking and asking about what I could learn along the way.
Here are some things I’m learning:
- It is not always easy to define trusting God – Over the course of this project, I have certainly felt a fair amount of pressure and stress. I have even lost my fair amount of sleep. And as I have worked through this, many have said to me “just give it over to God.” The question is: What does that look like? It does not mean stop leading or stop working. Or just keep praying. Even God told Joshua one time to stop praying and get up and go do something. I have wrestled with this throughout the process.
- People will step up if asked and given an opportunity – When you create space and opportunities for people to work AND you ask, something happens: people step up. I have been blown away by the efforts of certain volunteers and staff as opportunities have been created and then shared. A key leadership principle is always to make the big ask. I have seen that play out so clearly during this time.
- Some people you expect to step up, do not – While I have been blown away by so many who have stepped up and owned the process of helping in this journey. I have also seen many that I thought would step up, who have not. There were some that I thought would give a great deal financially to the building and some that I though would show up to volunteer more. And it did not happen. Managing your disappointment is key.
- Your spouse is huge – I have been known to say that I believe who you marry is the second most important decision you will make in life (behind choosing to follow Jesus). This is so true when you are ministry. But in a situation like this, my wife has been invaluable. She prays, serves, helps, forgives, just all around understands the circumstances. She has been in my corner in a profound way
These certainly are not the only lessons learned, but these do stick out in the midst of the unique, challenging and awesome journey.