Planting in a Pandemic, Part 1

Seedlings

You started something new.  You got it going, I mean really going….  It was gathering momentum, and looked like it would be successful.  But then something leaped up, and seemed to threaten everything you put your heart into.

What do you do?  You can’t see how this is all going to end – you can’t predict that.

So what do you do with what you’ve got?

I am planting a new church – Foundation Presbyterian Church – with a super-talented team, alongside an amazing mother church, and an incredibly supportive Presbytery (the group of pastors and church leaders who oversee our work).

But now we are planting a church in a pandemic.

The seedling we put into the ground – that just started to open up to the Sun, and slowly stand on its own, seems like it might stop.  I don’t believe it will.  I know the God we worship.  But I would be lying if I said I hadn’t woken up in the middle of the night with this thought: “It could all end…”

You may have started your own business.  Or started a new, better road to mental and physical health.  Or spent the year loving, serving, and helping your students to grow.

But now it looks like all your hard work; your good intentions; your good, strong, early results are threatened.  Or they actually are under threat – you’re under overwhelming pressure for results that you can’t create.

What do we do?

  • Talk to people who’ve been through something ‘like’ this before: I have an amazing coach, who planted a church in the way that we’re planting Foundation Presbyterian Church (a Mother Church sends a Daughter Church to start up, and become self-sustaining).  She started her church right before the 2008 housing crisis, so she’s seen something like this – something that seemed to threaten the existence of a work that she and her team had poured themselves into.  Her wisdom has been a word from the Lord that I and my team need in this season.
  • Take this time of reduced productivity/activity to discover what’s essential: Foundation Church was running at a fast, hard pace.  I am very proud of all that we accomplished until COVID-19 changed our world: We had to “set the pace” in order to get as far as we did.  But now we have the opportunity to step back, pray, and answer this question: “What is the essential thing(s) that we are called to provide?”  It’s the vision question.  Time to get back in touch with the vision, because it will determine what we do today, tomorrow, and in the weeks ahead, to put ourselves in a position to be used well by God.
  • Lean into the handful, basketful, or barrelful of relationships that make what you do worth the effort:  Every worthy endeavor is built on relationships.  Word of mouth – far more than sleek advertising – drives success or failure.  And word of mouth only comes through good relationships, lovingly attended to.  That’s especially true of a new church: We are reaching out to our members and to people we hope will join our little family.  Week by week, we are checking in; praying with; and mourning with the people God has sent us to love and serve.

If you started something, shortly before the COVID-19 pandemic, and are now wondering if there will be a future for you, please know that we are praying for you.

What are you going to do with this ‘down-time’, to make the most of the very bumpy road ahead?  I would love to hear from you in the comments, below.

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Would you like to stay in touch?  I would love for you to subscribe to Foundation and Fire: If you’re on Desktop, the FOLLOW button is at the top, right corner.  If you’re on Mobile, it’s at the very bottom of the page.

Please join Foundation Presbyterian Church for our weekly LiveStream opportunities:

  • “At Home with the Rev”: 10 minutes at 10am on Wednesdays: A short devotion, followed by prayer.
  • Sunday Worship, 10:30am: 30 minutes.

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3 thoughts on “Planting in a Pandemic, Part 1

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