NEVER GO IT ALONE
By Mary Beth Bradshaw
A couple weeks ago when I was a guest with one of our Virtual Community Groups we talked about something my husband always put into practice when we were planting our church way back in the early 90’s. Each one of them said it was just what they needed to hear. It’s rather simple, really.
Never go it alone. Don’t do ministry, clean bathrooms, visit the hospital, plan the nursery schedule - whatever it is - by yourself.
Whenever my husband or I went to visit someone in the hospital we would take a leader from the church. Then, when he felt that leader was ready, he would send them and they would take someone else along. If I was planning the nursery schedule, I would meet either by phone or over coffee with someone I thought would be able to eventually take over the nursery. If I was planning kids church, women’s ministry, or even cleaning the toilets, I would call other ladies and ask for their help and their input in that ministry. Even if they didn’t pan out as leaders, they would proudly take more ownership of that ministry because they felt included and valued.
One goal in church planting is to raise up leaders and one of the best ways to do that is to let them walk beside you, see you in action, and learn from experience.
Some would say to the planters and their wives, “If it is not your gift and calling, then just say no. Don’t do it. How will someone raise up if you do it all?” My experience is there are seasons in planting when we have to step up and take on roles that are out of our giftings and comfort, but if we do it right we won’t have to stay there forever.
In a perfect world we would all start our church plants with someone to oversee every ministry and need, but in the real world there are certain seasons it falls on the planter, his wife, and even kids to get it done. Our six-year-old son’s job was to spray Lysol up and down every aisle in our church because the chairs were old and smelled very musty. He owned it and was proud of the job he did every week. Our four-year-old daughter had to be there early every week because she had to help the ushers get the offering envelopes and pens stocked for each row and entertain the babies of worship team members who were rehearsing. The few times I just went to the second service she would be so upset she wasn’t there to do her job. That was her responsibility. Her joy. Those small things helped my kids feel that we were truly in this thing together. It was their ministry.
So many times doing it yourself is easier, faster, and gets done your way, but that is not what we are called to do.
Who knows? You may have someone attending your church who loves to clean and is good at it. By all means, hand over the toilet brush.
Mary Beth Bradshaw is the Team Leader for CMN Wives. She and her husband Steve planted their first church in 1994 and presently they work as the Church Planting directors for the Assemblies of God Michigan district.
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