When my wife and I planted our first church, we went alone. We didn’t know any better. We thought that we just needed to go to the community to which we were called and start working hard. Thankfully, God knew we needed help!
So he sent us Gil and Susan. I met Gil at our “sending service” as we prepared to leave the church where we’d served for nearly four years. He approached me following my farewell message, introduced himself and told me that he had just been notified that he was being transferred across the country to the same community where we would be planting the new church. He said it was a temporary assignment, but that he and Susan would help us with the startup process as long as they were able.
Gil and Susan made good on their promise. They had kids about the same age as our kids, which helped both families navigate the emotions of the move. We were able to lean on each other during the early months of activity surrounding the launch of the church. I remember sitting on the back porch with Gil after an outreach event that didn’t go well. He calmly reassured me that God was with us and God would see us through to success. Gil and Susan were also generous financially which helped us through the thin times when our financial situation felt perilous.
Looking back, I have no idea how we would have made it without Gil and Susan. But, for whatever reason, in God’s divine providence, they were only with us for about five months. Gil got a promotion and was transferred again. But he continued to support us financially and called at just the right time with a word of encouragement or advice.
God brought Gil and Susan into our lives in spite of the fact that we didn’t know we needed them. But we did. God knew and He was gracious enough to put us together at just the right time and in just the right way.
Now, I pray for God to send people like Gil and Susan to come alongside every church plant that we work with. It’s true, that everything rises or falls on leadership. But leaders who are loners will not succeed. Starting churches is a team sport! Don’t be a lone ranger planter. Find the people God is calling to go with you and make them part of your team!