This phrase has become me and Tim’s joke. Tim’s life is very unscheduled and he has his hands in a lot of different things. You could say that he wears a lot of different hats. One minute he’s having a phone conversation with someone about Sunday morning’s message and the next he’s grocery shopping and picking up diapers. His schedule doesn’t look much like a schedule and he pretty much flies by the seat of his pants. It’s a very flexible this thing he has going here, and at times hectic. Sigh! The life of a church planter.
To truly get a feel for what I’m talking about let me give you a rundown of my last two days. Monday, June 1: I woke up around 8:30 showered, made my bed, did my devos, had some breakfast, and watched a John Deere (or as the Mainers say it John Deea(r)) movie with the kiddos. Then at 10:30 Tim, Mike and I drove about 30 minutes away to a Tim Hortons where we met up with Steve. There we joked and talked about chocolate, food, and ministry. Our conversation revolved around a book entitled Organic Leadership, which happens to be the sequel to Organic Church. We discussed the role of the Pastor within the church and how we need to be careful not to spoon feed the congregation making them dependant but rather help them to be self feeders. We also talked about the importance of releasing control of ministry to God. Tim said that the Holy Spirit is fully capable to teach people without any help at all and told a story of his time in Bolivia where he ran into a man who was living alone outside of a village because he had been shunned. He had been shunned because he had found a New Testament and become a believer solely by reading it. This man was actually ministering to neighboring villages and cults and he had never been instructed by anyone. So Tim said that we don’t place enough trust in the Holy Spirits ability to teach, but Steve reminded him that God also chooses to work through humans. We decided that they were both right and the two ideas should be held together in cooperation with not against each other. We also discussed how Jesus made it difficult to follow him and how that should relate to the way we disciple and do “seeker friendly” services. Mike pointed out that in the Gospels when a large crowd starts to gather Jesus starts making things difficult. He either starts speaking in parables or says things like “sell all your things and follow me,” or “deny yourself take up your cross and follow me,” or “follow me and leave the dead to bury their own.” After Jesus said these things the crowds would dwindle and he would again begin to teach. We thought there was maybe a lesson in there somewhere. Finally we talked about the right process for planting a church which Tim said should be first making disciples; second, giving them a mission; third, doing service together and in the community and eventually the outcome is a church. After that 2 hour discussion Tim and I headed back home to watch the kids because his wife teaches Piano from 2 to 5 on Mondays and Tuesdays. So we picked them up and then went to the bank and Wal-mart. Ah, the life of a church planter. Then we made dinner, flew some kites, and had a camp fire. Good stuff! That was Monday.
Today: Well I went to bed yesterday at 9:30 to prepare for today. We left Tim’s today at 5:00 (in the a.m.). I tried to get up at 4 to shower and stuff but I may have shut my alarm off and so I ended up getting up at 4:55. We were on the road at 5. Ah the life of a church planter! We had to drive over to Gardener (Gadenea(r) again with the Maaaine accent.) for a small group at 6:30. It’s about an hour drive. This group is one of the simple churches. It’s a group of about 20 guys. It was a smaller crowd today. Richard and Chet are veteran believers and then Steve are three years new, Jeff is 2 years, and Randy and Pete are a little under a year. Tim and Steve were also there. We went through the 28th and 29th chapters of Proverbs. We joked and chatted about life and how the truths we read related to us today. We did theology. It was great. It was simple but life change is happening from it. I asked Tim afterwards where these men went to church and he said that they went all over, but for some of them this was there church. Good stuff! Pete and Randy (the new guys with the help of Steve) actually started another group that meets on Thursday nights in a Biodiesel plant that is similar to this. Less than a year old Christians started a small church! Steve (one of the pastors) has been there to be their Paul and guide and direct them, but they brought the people. They made more disciples from their circles of influence. That’s organic church being worked out. It’s all about simplicity and growing faith where life happens.
After small group, I went with Tim to McGee Construction where Tim is a “Business Consultant.” I soon found out that Business Consultant pretty much just means “Business Pastor” and “Conflict Resolver”. Steve (not the Pastor, but the three years old Christian who owns McGee Construction) hired Tim to be his, as he said, personal coach. So I sat in on a meeting with Tim and Steve discussing business management everything from personnel cuts to employees’ roles and responsibilities. It reminded me vaguely of my time as an intern under Nate last year where I would go into Nate’s office and go over what I was going to say at group that night or how to handle a certain situation. After that meeting I got to go sit in the truck for an hour while they had their staff meeting and confronted some issues. I used that time to do some reading and get started on my sermon in Ruth. Again, the life of a church planter.
Well I’ve been up from 12 hours now and it’s only 4:30. I’m about to have some pulled pork and then Mike is coming to pick me up to go to with him to his small group (at Tim Hortons, which I’m becoming quite fond of that place) where we are checking out John 20-Acts 1. After that I’m headed to a planning meeting with Mike and Tim to talk through Sunday morning. Then I’ll be back here to hang out with the kiddos, Tim and his wife and then probably hitting the sack early because we’re starting at 6 tomorrow. Oh joy! :)
The life of a church planter!