by Adam Solorio
SOME OF THE BEST advice my wife and I received as new church planters was, “Start where you are, use what you have, and do what you can.”
START WHERE YOU ARE
The thought of moving to a foreign land or a new and distant city is no doubt exciting for some as they consider the direction God may be calling them to in ministry. The reality is that the mission field is all around us, right where we are. You do not have to look far in order to find an opportunity to spread the gospel.
North America is severely under-churched. I believe every major metropolitan area and small town in North America deserves a Jesus Name, Holy Ghost-filled church. We have plenty of work to do and countless opportunities right in our backyard. There is a city, a neighborhood, or a community near every church in North America that is ready for a preaching point, a daughter work, or a church plant. So start where you are!
USE WHAT YOU HAVE
When God began to prepare Moses for his mission to stand before Pharaoh and lead Israel out of Egypt, He asked Moses, “What is that in your hand?” (Exodus 4:2, NKJV). When David faced Goliath, he conquered him with a sling, the same weapon he carried every day. Use what is already in your hand, what you already know how to use. Granted, you should never stop stretching, developing, and growing as an individual, but neither should you wait around for the things you want or wish you had before you begin. Look at what’s in your hand and get started.
It is so easy to become envious and allow covetousness to take root in your spirit when you see friends or neighboring pastors experiencing miracles and blessings you wish would come your way. Don’t worry; God has provided you with everything He wants you to have right now. When He wants you to have more, He will provide more and nothing will be able to stop it. Until He does, however, keep using what you have and trust God to fill in the gaps.
DO WHAT YOU CAN
You should consistently do all you can do with what you have at that moment. Not what you wish you could do, not what you see other people doing, but rather what you can do. What has God gifted you with? What has God called you to do? That is what you should be doing.
A great temptation pastors – especially church planters-face is that of staying busier than they should, which often leads to exhaustion and burnout. Many church planters are bi-vocational and as a result find it necessary to capitalize on every spare minute, often at the expense of physical and mental health. Those who are not bi-vocational may feel the need to justify the privilege of being able to be full time in ministry. Pastors can be passionate about the kingdom of God and lose sight of the bigger picture.
It may feel virtuous to stay busy and distracted all the time, but in reality it is not. God created man for seasons of work as well as seasons of rest. Mark 2:27 tells us the Sabbath was made for man; God wants you to rest!
Serving the church to the neglect of your family may feel virtuous, but it is the worst kind of vice. It is a vice that we have inappropriately sanctified in an effort to appease our ambition and pride. Be sure to identify your priorities of service and never neglect them. God has called hundreds of men into the ministry and has anointed tens of thousands around the world to preach the gospel and lead churches and ministries. If you were to die today, He would raise up someone to pastor your church. The first and most important congregation you are called to is your own family. Biblically, it is a man’s private ministry to his home that qualifies him for public ministry in the church (I Timothy 3: 1-7). Serving your church should not displace serving your family. You are the only man called of God to lead your wife and children to glory, so steward your priorities well.
“Start where you are, use what you have, and do what you can.”
With that in mind, do what you can without overdoing it. Make sure to schedule regular date nights with your spouse and protect them jealously. Be intentional about leaving some evenings unscheduled to spend quality time with your family.
Start where you are, use what you have, do what you can, and leave the rest up to God.