Part 2: things God has taught me in 5 years of church planting

The one scripture passage that God has used in my life the most during the last 5 years is 1 Corinthians 1:27-29 …

27But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29so that no one may boast before him.

I have said many times that I definitely fall into the “foolish & weak” categories. For some reason God has called me to lead this church. Since I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t know much about what I’m doing, I’ll boast in Him for what He has done here these last 5 years. He has saved many people and done some amazing works in families, marriages and individual lives. We’ve seen Him draw people to Himself in ways that only He can do. If God can use me, He can use anyone!

I’ve learned that all the marketing, great ideas, cool series, awesome events, fantastic music, different styles, don’t really matter unless God is working in our midst. I have watched God do things that I didn’t understand…some of which I may never understand. I’ve seen Him move people on from here…and I didn’t really like it. Yet He is in charge, so we’ll trust Him. I have seen God take some very unlikely people and mold them into leaders. HE is the one working. If I’ll just join HIM in HIS work, then everything else will fall into place.

I’ve also learned that the old cliche “where God guides, God provides” is definitely true. Jehovah-Jireh has always provided for my and my family’s needs. This has always been an attribute of God that I have rested in. However, I have seen Him provide for this church, not in huge ways, but in small ways that are no less miraculous than the “big” ways that some planters  testify about. Most of our provision has been in small, faithful gifts of a few. We have not ever received those $50,000 or $100,000 checks in the mail. Yet God has provided from day one, with the “widow’s mite” type of support. Literally, I have had widows supporting us with $20 monthly gifts and at times much larger gifts. God has also provided through some unlikely heroes. I’ve had a former student in my student ministry who serves in the military send tithe checks to The Ridge. Amazing! Even in times of economic uncertainty, when the budget has had to be cut as much as 40%, God has provided…week to week…and funded the ministry of His church. Just like the Israelites in the wilderness, God has provided “manna” week to week and day to day. I praise Him for His faithfulness and provision! I am glad that we haven’t had the big bankroll of some church plants, because God has taught us total dependance on Him. That has definitely stretched my faith and prayer life.

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