A friend of mine, named Kaz Sekine, planted a successful church in the heart of Tokyo. He and his friends planted the church in a park.
Unable to find space to rent, he set up folding chairs and held services outdoors in Shinjuku Park, which is near thousands of coffee shops and nightspots that attract a myriad of young adults. On the first Sunday they were forced to worship outdoors during a typhoon. The church was born under umbrellas.
Eighteen months later, the congregation moved into a nightclub. However, on the last Sunday in the park, like the first, umbrellas were again necessary. This time they popped up to protect worshipers from a snowstorm. Flexible thinking allowed my friend and his congregation to prevail where others had failed.
Not everyone can plant a church. New ventures risk failure and demand a high level of operational faith. A journey into uncharted waters requires resourceful and flexible people with lots of team support. Sometimes it even requires umbrellas.
Before we started Hope Chapel in Hawaii, we negotiated an agreement to lease an entire floor of a new office building. Two weeks before we moved, the management reneged on its verbal agreement. My partners and I immediately flew to Oahu to make new arrangements. We searched public schools, parks and even a banquet room in a Chinese restaurant. Everyone turned us down. The new church was born under a tree at the beach. The litany of rejections simply made the task more exciting. We chose to be flexible and enjoyed watching God provide an innovative solution.
What would you do if you had to find new facilities on very short notice? How do you respond to unexpected changes? If you are flexible, then sudden challenges will not blow away your plans. Flexibility is a huge asset to church planters.
(Adapted from Starting A New Church by Ralph Moore)