Posted by Tiffany Cooper
… The spring of 2001 is forever imprinted in my memory. I graduated from college, signed a contract to teach at the school of my choice and furnished the first home my husband and I purchased months earlier in Springfield, Missouri. Life was smooth, goals were achieved and future dreams were being formed. Then everything changed.
While driving home from speaking at a ministry event, God spoke to my husband about leaving everything we had built to start a church. Before this night, we didn’t feel like pastoring was a part of our future calling. Although I was surprised, I felt really excited. From that moment, we began seeking God for his direction regarding this new adventure.
What did the first year look like? Here’s a short list:
- Discovered our call to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
- Drove half way to meet with Brian and Alicia Rush (the couple that God divinely brought into our lives) about the future of our unnamed church. They are still with us 10 years later.
- Moved to Oklahoma City
- Officially named the church People’s Church
- Lived in an extended stay hotel for the first couple months
- Found a teaching job while my husband traveled and ministered across the country
- No salary from the church
- Began a small group with 6 people in attendance
- Started preview services at a local hotel conference room
- Had our 1st service in the AMC movie theatre on Mother’s Day 2002 (Don’t ever start on Mother’s Day!)
- A mobile church with weekly set up and tear down
- Total Commitment
- No turning back
- Weekly visits to 1st time guests’ homes, small groups in our home, dinners with church families, lots and lots of hours of connecting with people each day
- Many hours of Sunday preparation and developing children’s curriculum
- Community Outreach
- Exhaustion defused with excitement and hope
- Rookie mistakes
- Big learning curve
- Discovered I didn’t know as much as I thought I did
- Zealous and passionate
- Totally dependent on God
- Awed by God’s power
- One of the most memorable years of my life
- Privileged to have experienced my 1st year as a church planter
- Proudly wear my church planter badge with honor
Church planters, I can guarantee one thing. Wherever you find yourself on the journey, you are not alone. Starting a new church is like riding a roller coaster for the first time. You hold on tight, feel a crazy mixture of excitement and nervousness and hope for an overall good experience. There are ups, downs, unexpected turns and moments that make it all worth it. Then after it’s over you think, wow, it’s already over? My first year as a church planter felt never ending but looking back I think, wow, that first year went by fast.
Are you a church planter? Where do you currently find yourself on this roller coaster adventure?
(Join us again next Thursday as we continue our Church Planting focus with guest blogger Tricia Lovejoy.)