No matter where or how a church is being planted, obstacles are part of the story. Obstacles come in all shapes and sizes.
A planter called me one day seeking help with a financial obstacle. He needed money and he wondered if I could give him a list of people who would be eager to give it to him. I told him to write down the names of everyone he had ever known and he would have his list. He was a little baffled by my response until I reminded him that God had ordered the days of his life and meeting all those people over the years was not an accident. As we talked, he began to realize that his job was to exercise his faith and begin to pray for them and invite them to partner with him to create a financial foundation for the new church. He followed my advice and discovered that God had provided a solution to his obstacle through the relationships he already had. If I had tried to help him by giving him a list of generous people and organizations that I knew, he would have missed out on the opportunity to directly experience God’s provision.
Back in the 70’s, Andre Crouch penned an unforgettable line in one of his songs. He wrote, “If I never had a problem, I’d never know that God could solve them.” One of the great paradoxes of planting a church is that the challenges we face serve to build up our faith and trust in God and prepare us for the greater challenges and obstacles that are still to come. Ironically, situations that feel like threats and cause us to fear end up making us stronger and preparing us to take on the next giant that stands before us! We’ve all heard it said, “No pain, no gain.” Physical muscles grow stronger when they are used. Faith muscles grow stronger when they are used.
So here’s the point of this post. Every church planter will face obstacles. Healthy planters view the obstacles they face as opportunities for the Lord to show himself strong on their behalf.