Expect the Unexpected
When it comes to church planting, my wife and I would first say that you learn to expect the unexpected. In some ways, at the beginning of our Church Planting Assessment (CPAC) journey, we had no expectations. Our experience there was unique due to the fact that the church we were on staff with at the time sent us down to CPAC just to get evaluated for the future, in the event that we would move on from being Student Pastors to becoming Campus Pastors. We walked into CPAC not even knowing who or what Stadia was, or the process that was ahead of us. But I would say we were blown away with what took place. To date, it has been one of the most beneficial and revealing things we have done in full-time church ministry. It has also helped us better understand some things about us ourselves outside of church planting as we move forward in our marriage and lives together.
Expect the unexpected. Before stepping into CPAC, we never expected to examine the very network of our lives and marriage, to dig into some areas or blindspots we might have – but we did. We never expected it to assess our abilities to lead and specifically church plant in a lead planter capacity – but it did. Being in ministry had prepared us a little to have our lives examined with a microscope, but what we didn’t expect was how life-giving the process and challenges of CPAC would be, not only to our ministry, but also to our marriage. First, some of the most life-giving relationships we have today as church planters came out of CPAC, friendships and colleagues alike. We didn’t expect to connect with others like that during the time, but it was a gift. But more importantly, the whole process, even though it was difficult, was like getting hit with a defibrillator (in a good way!). It energized us and gave us fresh eyes and passion for the ministry God had called us to. I have since told many of my friends in ministry that they should go and attend the process just to learn more about themselves, their strengths, and the challenges they would face moving forward in ministry, even if church planting is not on the horizon for them. CPAC as a whole sets you up for success, gives you healthy expectations, provides an outside (non-biased) perspective on your strengths and weaknesses, and gives you the tools to succeed in ministry and in church planting.
CPAC not only set us up for success as we stepped out in faith to plant Anchor in Toledo, but it confirmed and affirmed our call. It also gave us insight into the right timing for our family to launch out and take a step of faith to plant the church God called had called us to plant. In fact, that is the part that was most important: the timing. One of the most important aspects of CPAC is the fact that it helps planters understand the right timing to start planting, and also gives you the tools to navigate timing once that season has begun. CPAC helps planters understand if the timing is right to plant now or if they need to develop and work on some things before launching. That is an integral insight because there is nothing more damaging to a church or to church planters than planting prematurely or not fully developing the skills needed to plant strong. CPAC does that for planters and it did that for us. We began the process of planting our church, not only being affirmed in our timing and giftings, but also with some practical tools to better help us develop ourselves and our marriage. Being assessed through CPAC was a win and has been a win for our church and for our team. We are both grateful for Stadia and the whole team. By teaching us to expect the unexpected, CPAC equipped and set Anchor up for success, and the value it provided for us as we continue on our journey is truly priceless.