Written by Brian Bolt

“Below the belt,” “blow-by-blow,” “a glutton for punishment,” “killer instinct,” “on the ropes,” “punch-drunk,” “roll with the punches,” “saved by the bell,” and “throw in the towel” are all phrases used in boxing. If you’re going to plant a church, get ready for the fight of your life, the greatest highs and the greatest lows; defeats and victories. There is a cost but the rewards are life-changing. The rewards are eternal. The rewards are men and women saved, set free and following Jesus Christ. That is worth every hit we take on this church planting journey!

COUNT THE COST

Planting a church is a calling. This commitment must be prayed through, discovered and realized deep down before the decision is made. Energy is needed because you’re constantly going, empowering your team, meeting with people, and trying to fundraise. Sometimes you will have to practically crawl through the mud to help someone experience the life-changing power of Jesus.

UNCOMPROMISING FAITH

Planting a church is a faith journey and faith accepts no compromise. Politics compromise. Many religions compromise. Tens of thousands of pastors preach what they know people like and want to hear. Faith knows no compromise. When you get into a feeling of compromise, you are not in faith. You’re in doubt and fear. Faith knows no fear!

So let the waves roar because Jesus says, “Peace, be still.” Let the demoniacs scream because Jesus says, “Sit down. Give him a coat. He’s naked. It’s all taken care of.” Faith moves without compromise. It knows the truth and lives in the truth. And faith knows no limitations! You are not limited to what you can receive through the power and force of faith. When God calls you to it, He will provide every need.

THE RISK IS WORTH THE REWARD

No church planter is ever fully ready for the difficulties of planting a church, but they also aren’t fully ready for the rewards. The joy of starting a church is beyond words. I could share story after story about the miracles God has performed while on this journey. From addicts set free to children reunited to their parents, from marriages restored to diseases healed; but my favorite is when someone experiences the love of Jesus for the very first time.

When a man or a woman encounters the living Jesus, it is evident and it is powerful. A domino effect of life-change takes place and they begin telling everyone about Jesus. This ripple effect has such an eternal impact; we can’t even measure it. To get the best fruit, you’ve got to go out on the thinnest limb. The risk is worth the reward.

NEVER BE THE SMARTEST PERSON IN THE ROOM

I can’t emphasize enough the importance of surrounding yourself with people who are also passionate about building the kingdom of God and are smarter than you. I have made it one of my personal missions to surround myself with people that know more than me. God meant for us to do this together and He gave us individual deficiencies so the body of Christ could work together. Trying to plant a church alone is like building a pyramid upside down. Surround yourself with people that have gone before you, people that empower you, people that encourage you, people that coach you, and people that cover you spiritually.

THE ULTIMATE STRATEGIST

Jesus is the ultimate Strategist. There is nothing wrong with strategy and systems. Many people have gone before us and have found and shared useful strategies and systems. I love that we have systems in place to help grow our churches. We need on-ramps for people whether they’re first-time guests or a regular visitors to help them understand what their next steps are and how they can make a difference and fulfill their God-given destinies.

Jesus doesn’t ask us to make converts. He asks us to make disciples. If you don’t have a process to help people go from being a first-time guest to someone fully involved with your church, then I encourage you to discover and use what works best for you. There are so many great, free resources available. Our churches are encouraged to focus on 4 major areas with strategies and systems in place for each: weekend services, small groups, growth track and developing a dream team of volunteers.

DEPEND ON THE HOLY SPIRIT

I’m sharing this point last because I believe it is the most important. The battle, the boxing match, the fights of our faith, must be conquered in prayer. The battle is the Lord’s. The Holy Spirit will empower you to fulfill the call of God placed inside you. Every hit, every victory, every defeat and every unknown carry lessons and establish your faith. Planting a church requires full dependency on the Holy Spirit. Take the limits off and live in the rewards of a radical, risk-taking life of faith.

Acts 1:8 says, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

CityReach Church Pittsburgh- Brian Bolt

Brian Bolt is the founder & president of CityReach Network, a church planting organization with a vision to aggressively reach cities with the hope of Jesus. Brian and his wife, Natalie, lead their church and cast vision for CityReach Network.