I have been a long time reader of Chris Elrod’s blog, and he recently announced his departure from the blogosphere. To say goodbye, I am posting one of his final posts below that all church planters (and all who are followers of Jesus), should read. I strongly encourage you to also go and browse his archives (which are still active).
You will be missed Chris! (2014 Update… It looks like he’s back)
You Gotta Love that Sh*t
by Chris Elrod
Curse words are just words … but oh what a tapestry of division they can weave.
Recently I was meeting in a restaurant with some other church leaders. Sitting near us were two truck drivers that were cussing up a storm in their conversation. In between f-words and a-words one of the guys said REAL LOUD… “You gotta love that sh*t!”
That was the final straw for one of the pastors at our table and he asked the waitress if we could move to a different location … because he was offended by the language of the men.
That’s when it hit me … some people are offended by cussing … but it’s music to my ears. When I hear cussing … I hear people far from God. When I hear people far from God … I hear an opportunity to make an impact for the Kingdom of God.
I seriously don’t understand “leaders” that plant churches that appeal to themselves. I don’t understand “leaders” that plant churches to reach other church people. I really don’t understand “leaders” that plant churches with no real heart to reach people far from God.
Don’t get me wrong … reaching people far from God is messy.
They cuss … they have serious issues … they smell … they drink … they live lifestyles that are at times really repulsive. Reaching people far God also means going to places that church folks have been taught not to go. People FAR from God do not hang out in Starbucks or Junior League meetings … they hang out in bars, porn shops, downtown streets, bowling allies, courtrooms, emergency rooms, and R-rated movies.
It’s not easy … it’s not pleasant … it’s not always rewarding.
However, reaching people far from God with the Gospel of Jesus Christ is what the Father called us to do.
I know that quite a few potential church planters read my blog so let me say this to you:
If you don’t want to do ministry that is messy … don’t plant a church.
If you just want to “feed the saints” … don’t plant a church.
If you just want to stop having to take orders from your current pastor … don’t plant a church.
If you just got fired, let go or laid off from a ministry position … don’t plant a church.
If you are still trying to impress seminary professors with your preaching skills … don’t plant a church.
In fact, if you think planting a church is cool … don’t plant a church.
If you think those things, it’s probably going to be best for you to get a job in your state denominational office … where it’s safe, there’s a steady paycheck and you only have to interact with other Christians.
On the other hand…
… if you love the smell of vomit and beer
… if you love to hear about people’s addictions
… if you love hearing the f-bomb dropped by every member of a family (including kids)
… if you love people wearing halter tops and Budweiser t-shirts in the Sunday service
… if you love people putting three dollars cash in the offering plate and crossing their arms during worship
… if you love getting 3 a.m. marriage counseling calls
… then by all means … plant a church.
I’m not talking about you liking that stuff … I’m talking about … you gotta love that sh*t!!!
Church planting done right is messy … and attracts messy people.
If you don’t have a passion for the mess … if you don’t hear someone cussing and think, “That person is a potential guest for my church” … if you don’t wake up every day with an unquenchable thirst to see people far from God come to know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior … church planting is going to be a miserable experience for you!!!