I think one of the areas God keeps growing in me is in the area of dependence and contentment. It’s so easy to ride the roller coaster ride of emotions from day to day when you start something from scratch. Especially a church. That big service you were planning for doesn’t quite have the turnout you were hoping for. The church you were hoping was going to partner with you financially decides it’s not a good fit for them. You don’t have the number of leaders you need to start that ministry or group. The list is endless, and if you let yourself, you can be completely guided by your emotions. Your bad days are really bad, and your good days are really good. Psalm 1:3 says, “He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.” This verse is talking specifically about the man who delights in the Lord. This man is not swayed by the wind or the elements around him. He is planted, and if you are not planted, you will not survive.
Someone who is planted looks a lot like this.
1. Being able to remain emotionally steady through the ups and downs.
Emotions are a funny thing. We, as men, like to pretend that emotions don’t exist, but they do. Try playing me in some competitive endeavor. Emotions can very easily get the best of us. Pride, bitterness, anger, hurt, etc. When emotions get the best of us, it’s hard to be a good pastor.
2. Not taking out your bad days on those you love the most.
Unfortunately, the ones you love the most often receive the brunt of our bad days and emotions. They become collateral damage affected by friendly fire. That is unfair and unhealthy for your family. Someone who is firmly planted still needs to deal with their bad days but in a healthy way. Taking it out on your family is not healthy. Have a network of friends and trusted people in your life you can confide in.
3. Trusting God and not blaming Him when times are tough.
We often want to ask why is this happening to me when times are hard. We question God instead of trusting Him and His character. Instead of blaming God, try trusting Him.
4. Persevering during trouble.
One of the best ways someone demonstrates that they are planted is their ability to persevere. We live in a culture where people quit left and right. Instead of quitting, persevere. Continue fighting.
5. Keeping a Cool Head And Not Making Rash Decisions.
One of the effects of emotions getting the best of you is making rash decisions. When we are hurt or our pride has gotten the best of us, we can make dumb decisions. Decisions that we will later regret. Many times, we can’t take back some of the damage done from making those decisions. One who is planted does not respond based on fear or other emotional responses but the call of God and sound grounded wisdom.
6. Learning to live on little.
Someone who is planted realizes that it’s a marathon, not a sprint. They don’t need all the luxuries that money can buy. Planting a church is not a lucrative profession, and it’s not supposed to be. One who is planted firmly will not freak out at every financial woe.
7. Being proactive and having plans in place.
When I was in college, I operated by the fly by the seat of my pants mentality. I studied as little as possible and just got by. When you live in survival mode, you wait until disaster strikes to drive you to action. Being proactive means having plans and contingencies in place. This is not a lack of trust in God but being a good steward and a good manager. Pastors are overseers as well as preachers and shepherds. They are to lean on the Holy Spirit’s guidance, but that doesn’t mean they are to fly by the seat of their pants. Work at planning and preparing.
8. Not having it all figured out.
With all that was said about #7, you still need a high degree of flexibility in planting a church. You have to be a planner and also a plan changer when the plan doesn’t quite work out right. That’s okay. You’re not going to have it all figured out. If you’re so type A that you can’t be flexible, church planting will eat you alive. It seems that every Sunday something new happens and we have to change our plans. Being planted keeps our eyes on a solution to change for a future but also allows us the flexibility to pivot when we need it.