over the past twelve years.
Twelve years ago this week, we launched weekly worship services at
Mountain Lake Church. Wow. What a ride! God has used me despite my
stupidity, and I have learned so much along the way. Here’s the first
part of my top twelve lessons I’ve learned in the last twelve years.
1. Having a vision is easy. Sticking to the vision takes extraordinary
discipline and effort.
is Biblical. However, even most church planters get sidetracked form
their visions within the first few years. We have stuck to our guns.
We’ve been “mean about the vision.” It’s made all of the difference!
2. Conviction and Courage is more important than strategy.
course is more important than any brilliant strategy I could come up
with that no one has ever done before.
3. No plan’s perfect; so work your plan!
year the last twelve years, and every year, we’ve gotten better at
what God has called us to do. We don’t have “vision flavor of the
month” or “small group method of the year.” We’ve worked our plan.
We’ve been consistent in our ministry approach. It’s made all the
4. People come. People Go. Go with the Go-ers.
see the mission through and experience the fruit of mission
accomplished! When one leaves, God will bring five to replace them…if
we stay focused!
5. God does things the way He wants.
that’s the precise thing that has kept us dependent on Him! Proverbs
16:9 (NIV) says: “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord
determines his steps.” Prophetic verse in my life these last twelve
years! So many times, what I deemed as a failure was God’s sharpening
and sovereignty at work in my life and church!
6. In God’s Story, ordinary matters.
God loves to use ordinary people. I am one. The very reasons or
excuses I might use to disqualify myself from being used greatly by
Him make me the perfect candidate for extraordinary ministry! What are
your excuses as to why God can’t use you? Those are the very reasons
God wants to use you, because you’ll know it’s not about you!
7. Change the way people think about church.
do, we’re going to seek to change the way people think about church.
This is so much bigger than the type of music we do, or our dress,
even though they are parts of the equation! It affects everything we
do. Examples? Folks don’t have to be “Christians” to go on a mission
trip. They might become one by going! They don’t have to be a
“Christian” to volunteer at our church, much less, be a member! Our
small groups are always not only open to new people, but are going
after people who don’t go to church and inviting them to be a part of
their group! Every group is responsible to “get off the couch” and
serve and care missionally for people groups in our community. Just
small simple example of how we’re changing the way people think about
church both inside and outside our church in our community.
8. Go after unchurched people.
Christians. If they want to join our mission to reach the lost, great.
If not, great. We are here to help as many people as possible find a
relationship with God through Jesus. That’s our laser beam focus. Take
us or leave us! We’re here to reach people who don’t like Jesus or
9. Be careful what you ask for.
probably won’t be a three-month process, either; probably more like
three years! Unchurched people smoke and curse in the parking lot, and
maybe even in the sound booth! All of these things really happen in
our church. Being a hospital for sinners is messy!
10. The right team in the right seats makes all the difference
for every one of them, however, the right team members with the right
gifts and skills, in the right seats, in the right seasons of the
church, allows a church to continue to breath and grow and reach
people for Jesus Christ. The wrong team members on the wrong seats for
too long will put a lid on the church’s effectiveness.
11. I must measure success God’s Way
God has called me to do. I am so tempted to measure success by this
week’s attendance. However, I’m never as good as people think I am
when we’re exploding numerically; and I’m not as bad as I think I am
when we’re not. My role is to be obedient to the call and stay sane,
centered, and happily married in the process. That is success!
12. God is faithful.
God never gives up: on me; or on my ministry! He hasn’t given up on
you, either! Don’t give up on yourself. We only fail when we give up.
God never gives up. He is faithful!
Shawn is the founding and Lead Pastor of Mountain Lake Church,
Co-Founder of churchplanters.com and author of shawnlovejoy.com. In
the last 10 years Shawn has led his church to go multi-site, plant
churches, and into some of the most challenging places in the
world.Churchplanters.com has become one of the most influential church
planting ministries in the world, and he gives Jesus all the credit.
More from Shawn Lovejoy or visit Shawn at www.shawnlovejoy.com/