I remember realizing, a few months into planting a new church, that I was definitely not spiritually prepared for the work. Since then, I’ve become obsessed with the time I put into listening for and seeking after the voice of the Holy Spirit. Here are a few things that have helped me to maintain my spiritual life on this church-planting journey:
In recovery, the real work begins when the inventory starts. This is a time to be honest with yourself about where you’ve been and where you are now. This tilling work can be an effective tool for anyone who is serious about going deeper spiritually. Honest self-examination can help you uncover unhealed wounds and character issues that can be dealt with in the presence of Jesus. Be honest with yourself about where you are now in your spiritual life. Someone has said, “Healthy people develop healthy congregations. Healthy congregations develop healthy people.
Examination of the call
Count the cost of this venture and make sure you are committing to something God is leading. You are an agent of God sent to serve the Body of Christ. Is this is your identity? Are there unholy ambitions wrapped up in there that need to be dealt with before you move forward?
Oswald Chambers’ My Utmost for His Highest became a second Bible for me in my first year as a church planter. Chambers had the heart of a missionary, and his words seemed to resonate deeply day in and day out with the work of planting a new church. Find a wise devotional voice to speak into your life, who will remind you to stay in the deep end spiritually.
I suggest you read Exodus and Nehemiah early on. Listen for the principles of community-building and leadership development.
Keep one. This is your personal expression of faith in God’s ability to complete the work.
Fasting has provided for me some of the most dramatic spiritual break-throughs over the years. I practice it especially when I have unanswered questions, as a sacramental way of expressing my hunger to God. I teach it to my leaders, and encourage them to fast regularly, with deeper seasons of fasting annually.
This has been a great source of healing for me, and a great way to hear from the Lord. I used to journal in a notebook. Now, I journal on my computer. I make it a conversation with the Lord, and have often received answers to prayer through this practice.
The most important thing you can do to create a healthy congregation is to live the gospel in front of people. A regular diet of spiritual disciplines will help you to do that.