In the film “Jerry Maguire”, Jerry has an epiphany about how things should be and writes a memo called “the things we think and do not say”.  His radical manifesto costs him everything, and in his passion for what he believes, he commits himself to a vision.  As a church planter I relate to that movie more than most people will ever realize.

Church planters have been given enough faith to see something that doesn’t exist yet, and that faith produces bravery to follow the vision.  Jerry had an office girl and a goldfish after his stand at the office, but I had a room of people ready to trust God and see where it leads.

In the end, your core team will be looking to follow the leaders, like Cuba Gooding Jr. saying “Show me the Church Plant”.

Your leaders intend to…

Cuba’s reason for staying with Jerry is summed up in just five words.  “I believe in you, Jerry”. Your core team will have to be ready to leave good churches, stable programs, and follow the mission of the group out into the unknown.  You will never forget the faces of the first brave souls ready to jump alongside you, and you’ll be humbled by the faith of others

“Who’s coming with me?”

Your leaders will be grateful that it’s not just them and the goldfish…but they may still want to take the goldfish!

So How do you make sure that you’re not falsely expecting people to follow you while you’re raving and waving a bag containing a goldfish? Preferably, you’re not meeting on a Sunday morning.  Sundays mean that they’d have to ditch their own churches and it’s too early for that.  They’re just getting a feel for what you’re about to do.  Don’t worry if they don’t fully understand where you’re going overnight.  Look to Jesus and his patience with the twelve during their three years traveling daily with Jesus, gathering up the fragments of his vision, readjusting when they understood it, and questioning it when they didn’t.

Months into the game, however, your leaders will need to know who on your team is really on board.  Are they really on your team, or just along for the ride until something better turns up?  Your leaders will need to know if they’re in or out.  They’re on a need to know basis, and now they need to know because there is work to do, people to reach, and enemy strongholds to demolish.

This is like the time Gideon crossed the stream to conquer Jericho.  At this time, some of you will be drinking from their hands, while others will be lapping like a dog.  It’s cut off time.  Some decide not to come back; some don’t make the grade.  They vote with their feet, or you cut their feet out from under them  Your leaders have finished nailing your colors to the mast, and they need to know who is ready to take to the high seas before you leave port.  Losing people is tough at this stage but necessary.

For those of you who are crazy enough to throw their lot in with the team going forward, you’ll need to tell their pastors immediately.  I’m not suggesting that you have to go read Kissinger’s tome on diplomacy, but you’re going to have to pray for wisdom as you chat with your pastors in order to gain their support.  This is a sticky wicket, and you’ll need to approach them carefully. Remember that you’re not rejecting them, and make sure that they know that. Make sure that you thank you Pastor and tell them that it’s their ministry that made you want to go on mission. Give them a reason to share in the adventure with you, and own a little of it.

This means that your leaders will give you another speech that basically says something like, “Hey, if you wanna go the distance with us, then we’ll see you next week.  If not, thanks for joining us up until now.  You’ve been a great encouragement…we covet your prayers.”  You’ll be surprised how many people are like Teflon at this point.  They ain’t gonna stick and you’re gonna be as amazed as a 1950’s housewife in a housewares demonstration.  In my last point, only 10 of the original oscillating crowd of 25 – 60 actually made it to the launch date… but when those faces turn up reporting for duty, the team falls in love all over again.

You’ll look around the room at your team-mates and think to yourself, ‘I couldn’t imagine a more beautiful group of ugly people’.  They’ll be your stray pack now on, and you’ll be as loyal to them as any Pastor ever was. This is your new family. You’d better love them.

You’ll soon be bonding in like a high school football team on a road trip.  (Just no jockstraps in the face!)

Oh yeah…and don’t forget the goldfish!

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.


Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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