1 Year In & 10 Lessons Discovered Planting a Church

June 15, 2018 marked one year since our family moved to Greenville, SC to start the journey of planting Greenville Community Church. One year ago we left friends, family, a church, and a city we loved to pour our lives into a new people, a new city, and a new church we would launch. It’s been a wild year to say the least.

On June 15th our family celebrated. June 15th will never be the same to us because this is the day each of us stepped into a challenge we could never understand apart of living and sometimes surviving it. Planting a church has been filled with ups, downs, victories, and challenges. Our family worked through them all together. Even as I share this we are just 6 months into the life of our church. GCC is in it’s infancy as a church and its fun and scary and exciting and messy all mashed together. Over the coming months I am going to share tons of insight we have discovered along the way but today I want to share 10 lessons we learned over year one of the journey.

  1. Celebrate the wins and acknowledge the pain. > Every win matters and every pain is real. Both need to be shared through the journey. Both lead you to learn more about who you are as a person and a follower of Jesus.
  2. You think you know your new city. You don’t. > When you choose to plant in a city you do all kinds of research and you think you understand where you are going. You don’t. You learn the heart of the city as you experience the city. We had a ton to learn about Greenville over this past year.
  3. You better be emotional and spiritually healthy before you plant because planting is bad for your health. > That sounds blunt but it’s true. Planting has been more difficult that we ever could have dreamed of. It’s different than anything I have ever experienced in 18 years of serving in the church.
  4. Where you live and where your kids go to school matters deeply. > You need to love where you live because the rest of planting is hard enough. We are so glad we were intentional about where we bought a house and where our kids plugged into school. We have older kids in middle and high school so God was so good to us when allowing us to be in a great location with great schools.
  5. Challenge will come. > We have experienced many unexpected challenges we never saw coming. We know this is the enemy at work. Trust me, step out like this and you will face spiritual warfare like you never have.
  6. God can and will do the impossible. > This is the fun stuff. We have seen God do things that are amazing. God has a plan and watching Him work ahead is unbelievable.
  7. Find meaningful relationships outside your launch team quickly. > We have been so blessed with friends here that are not connected to our church. We have needed those relationships just to process this wild adventure.
  8. My expectations and God’s plan are not always the same. > It’s not going to go like you have prayed for or imagined. Managing expectations has been our biggest battle. We have had to learn to see God at work and celebrate even if it’s not what we expected.
  9. Take risks today to set up risk taking down the road. > We are taking risks now early in our church plant because we want a church that is always willing to take bold risks. We are trying to put into practice today who and what we want to be in the future.
  10. Be present. > We have had to learn to be fully present with this church plant. These days matter. Every Sunday matters. Every person has a story and they matter. We just have to be present in the moment and watch God move!

Planting this church has been an incredible joy for our family. Thanks to everyone who has given, prayed, served, encouraged, supported, attended, and cheered us on. God did this. We are so thankful for the past year and the lessons we have learned.

If you read this and you still want to think about planting a church then feel free to email me from our contact page or check out ARC! Chelsea and I love encouraging planters!

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  1. So glad I stopped to read this when it arrived in my inbox. I’m not planting a church, but you brought up some timely points that apply to people like myself who are in transition.
    Expectations? “learn to see God at work and celebrate even if it’s not what we expected.” This is where those other relationships you mentioned are key, I think. We can be so close that we can’t see clearly, much less celebrate what is actually significant change.
    “Take risks today to set up risk-taking down the road.” Yes. Even small risks, which are easy to overlook but important in the long run.
    “Be present”. You and Chelsea are great models in being present. Thank you. God keeps reminding me–One Person Matters.

    Thanks for sharing with us, Michael!