- Be careful of church planting scientists. Learning everything everyone else has done has benefits, but this can also be dangerous. God is calling you to begin a new work....so let it be new. Walk in faith and be very careful of those that will pressure you to walk in presumption.
- Only say what you are doing and explain why. If you do things differently churched people will ask you why you're not doing what you're not doing. Don't fall into the trap of answering that - it creates a lot more work and confusion.
- Be prepared to have people you thought were with you, leave. And don't be surprised if they don't leave quietly.
- You will have to take massive steps of faith if you want to see God work out the vision He's placed in you. If you are not at a point where you can take these, rethink planting.
- Plant a church in a community, not your head. Every community is different and thus will require you to live out eternal truths in unique ways. If you move to a new place and try to force everything into a structure in your head, you will probably fail.
- Invest in a few rather than seeking to attract many. You are building a culture and in order to do that it's far better to have a few people really get it than a mass that sort of do.
- There will be times when you will wonder if you're the only one that actually believes in what you're doing. People will come along in time and will ultimately help shape the vision, but some need to see and be a part of it for a period of time before they'll understand.
- Learn from criticism. You will be criticized, people will question you and will even leave with wrong assumptions about what you are doing or what you value. Learn from this. Don't get bitter at them, God uses these situations to sharpen your vision and especially how you articulate it.
- Give people you trust a voice into the vision. Your vision will shape over time and these people will help shape it. Plus, they will have better thoughts than you.
We all know how divided our world is. Not surprising for anyone. But how to navigate this context does seem foreign for most. I have many thoughts on this, but here I will issue one in hope of providing help for someone. For now I will simply say this: put a face on the person. It is so easy to talk about people that hold a different position than you do as some sort of "category." But these are real human beings we are talking about. People who have a history that informs and shapes their views - just like you and me. These are people who are created in the image of God and loved deeply - regardless of belief or creed - and therefore have dignity and deserve respect. It's funny. The people that tend to criticize others over an issue tend to be those who don't have a loving relationship with someone holding the view being criticized. This means there is no empathy. It means the practice of listening is almost impossible. With no relational contact the argument