Over the years, New Breed asked a bunch of planters if they could do something different, what would it be? Without any hesitation, almost all of them will say that they wished they’d reached out better to the pastors of established churches before they’d launched. In dealing with criticism with other pastors, I’ve found this to be the case as well. I’ve unintentionally hurt Pastors whom I’ve respected and were like Fathers to me. I’ve scoured an area and absent-mindedly missed a guy there who started a campaign in my honor, complete with effigy’s and piñata sticks.
I would have to agree that reaching out to the pastors in your area is the best thing that you could do. Most of the people that we spoke to were gracious and understanding, even if a little nervous. Once, I had a guy start in on me two years after we started up, but I found that we were simply misunderstanding each other on the phone. He practically called me a liar, and I told him he was carnal. In the end, it’s never worth stooping beneath the level of graciousness even if the person on the other line should’ve known better. The truth is, they don’t always, and neither do I. You will always regret making a carnal response in the face of the relentless volley fired head-on into your visor.
There was a Pastor in Swansea whose father, who was also a pastor, failed to hear from me regarding my intentions to plant in the very beginning. Rather than picking up the phone to courteously ask me about it, he gossiped to the other pastors in the city about me. His son followed suit. I let it lie. I had a policy from Nehemiah 6:8, “I’m building a wall, and I’m too busy to come down and talk to you”. Unfortunately, the guy kept circulating vicious rumors. Again I let them lie, until one day I received a phone call. After attacking me for some time, I humored him, answering graciously, and pointing him back to the cross, the grace of God, and the love of mercy, to no effect. Our second round, I felt that he needed to be rebuked for his lack of graciousness as a minister of the gospel, and after he’d avoided a face to face meeting, I let it go. I’ve learned over the years that there are simply people out there that will either feel threatened by what the Lord is doing in your neck of the woods as they curiously defend “their patch” with a pitchfork. I’d imagine that when this post comes out, he’ll continue to speak about me from his pulpit. When you plant a church, you have to be prepared for the pettiness of other ministers. They will have their blind spots as you will have yours. After one or two attempts to live at peace with all people, you will approach the threshold of what Paul expected, “as far as is possible with you”.
Don’t be surprised if there are arrows in your hide, and knives in your back. Just as in any war, you must expect a certain degree of ‘friendly fire’.
On the other hand, don’t be surprised if you end up finding new partners in the work who’ve been praying for somebody just like you to parachute into their territory. They’ve been outnumbered, outgunned, and outmanned, and now you show up as fresh reinforcements to turn the tide of battle.
Buy Peyton’s newest book “Reaching The Unreached: Becoming Raiders of the Lost Art” over on Amazon.com. You can also download a free chapter and watch a cool trailer for the book HERE or click the image below.