Babies are so expensive. Now, if you have had a baby, then you know this, and have experienced this for yourself. If you have not, let me tell you that it is very difficult to calculate how much they are going to cost, how much you are going to need to do for them, how little sleep you will get, or how many trips to Walmart you are likely to make after having one of these little rascals.
Having said all of that, let me say this… THEY. ARE. AWESOME. I mean, they are fun to be around, to play with, and to teach new things. They are daily coming up with some word that they learned to say, or some new “trick” that they have figured out. They are typically quite photogenic, and they love being the center of attention. Especially that first one. That first one is usually a happy baby, because the novelty of having this tiny person that looks very much like you just makes it hard to resist staring at them to see what they are going to do next! Kids love it when you focus on them.
The amazing thing is that people ever actually overcome their fear and decide to have one. They are costly, super time consuming, and they really DO believe that the entire world revolves around them! They also have a special knack for embarrassing you in front of friends and family, or even complete strangers. A new trick that they will do 1,000 times at home, they will refuse to do the second a new person looks at them. They will also pick the worst times to have a melt down, refuse to take naps when you travel, and as they get older seem to have a Nostradamus-like ability to ask for within $1 the amount of money you have in cash at any given time. Seriously.
So, why do people do it? Why do they commit to all that it costs to have a baby?
Because it is a chance to change the future. If we are blessed enough to have children, we then have an opportunity to teach them about what really matters in life. We show them how to live. We teach them how to be content, happy with what they have. We are able to touch a generation that we will never see, through the lives of our kids and grandkids. It is an awesome plan that God made to cover the world with His children, and affect that world for the better, to teach it about Him.
Church planting is about sacrificially giving to provide for the next generation, and many generations to follow. It is about the future.
Just like parenting it is expensive, difficult, and often requires more work than you thought it would when you began. It sometimes seems like it may be just awful, right before it gets really good. It can also make you tired and cause you to wonder, “What were we thinking?” But, it produces exciting growth.
Some of the biggest changes that occur due to parenting is the change that actually happens in the parent. If someone had told me this truth before we had children, I might have challenged them on it. Now, I can see how true it really has been. Children go through many changes, and for periods in their life, you can see new changes happening almost daily.
But parenting forces us, the parents, to change the most. We have to grow up. We have to stop putting ourselves first. We have to put plans that we had on hold. We have to work long hours, and sometimes stay in tough jobs because it would be too tough to move our family. We forego fancy trips and grown up toys because of what the kids need. We do all of this, and learn to love it, because that is what good parents do. We think of our children before we think of ourselves.
In the same way, the Parent church that helps “birth” a new church plant has to do much of the same growing up. They stop just thinking of themselves. They start to consider what is best for their “child” and make special allowances and plans to take care of what is needed. The Parent church can’t stay focused on what it wants – it is forced to think of the church plant and what it needs to grow and flourish. Sacrifices will be made to be sure that the new church succeeds, and many of those sacrifices will change the Parent church and cause it to be different. More mature, more focused, more of what God would have it to be.
Church planting often revitalizes the church that does it because of what it really offers an older, more settled church.
Church planting offers new purpose to an older church. A purpose that you can see and that is easily understood. It is a reason to live and to grow once again. Someone is depending on me.
Why plant a new church? For the same reason that it is fun to go by the window and look at all of the babies at the hospital – it is new life.
Consider supporting new life and the excitement that produces in the church. Support church planting any way that you can.
I hope you will consider it and pray about it this week.