From a Good Friend

(This was taken from the blog linked to in the title)

1. Expect substantial and relentless spiritual obstruction, confusion and attack from an adversary hell-bent on derailing God's Kingdom initiatives, especially in places of long-established demonic strongholds. Planting is a fight on spiritual, emotional, relational and physical/practical fronts; sometimes all at once. Chaos will show up in surprising ways and create setbacks threatening to wear down your resolve. The pain of the fight is real.

2.  Expect to have your faith tested beyond what you have experienced in the past. Church planting requires a strength of faith and trust equal to the Kingdom weight it must carry. You need to believe when the money is not there; when the people are not there, where the way is frequently blocked, problems cascade and you are spiritually, mentally and physically drained. It could all fall apart, but you must hold fast to God no matter. He will make a way where there appears no way. In the meantime, it feels like muscles being stressed and strained to be ready. Sometimes they tear.

3. Expect God to expose and work on your weaknesses through trial. Character flaws, relationship tensions, unhealed wounds and areas of spiritual immaturity will be brought to the fore so God can create a pure heart ready to produce Kingdom fruit. It will take time and is a critical part of the planting process: God plants his Kingdom more deeply in you so you're more fit to do the same in others.No one likes having to look into a mirror of sin and weakness. It hurts, but is necessary.

4. Expect the re-tooling of your expectations about what your mission is going to look like. The vision may or may not reflect where you end up. What sparkled off the page on the drawing-board may evaporate when real life takes over your days on the mission ground.  Again, he's focusing your effort around his will for what he's called you to do. We see in part; he sees exactly as he desires it to be. You might experience frustration as God goes to work. No one likes having to re-do what seems a winner.

5. Expect periods of second guessing and questioning. As you run into delaying obstructions which persist, you very likely will ask questions about whether God called you to do this in the first place. You might wonder if you are the right man or woman for the task. You may question your gifts or spiritual fitness. You might feel you are disappointing God because you're not making more headway. Questioning is good if it brings you to your knees and opens you to God's wisdom. This kind of suffering can be excruciating because it calls your sense of value and competence into question. Confidence in God gets built there.

6. Expect periods of discouragement even disillusionment. There are countless stories of missionaries and planters suffering great long, dark nights of the soul where it feels all has failed, God has disappeared (or worse yet is really ticked), and its might be time to abandon ship. Sometimes it will be accompanied by excruciating stresses and strains physically, financially, relationally, emotionally and spiritually. Being overwhelmed for an extended period of time can produce disillusionment also. These periods will come. You are being tested and made durable like a marathon runner. It hurts because you feel let down or you are letting down others who put their confidence in your mission.

7.  Expect training in humility where much of what you stood on in the past is removed so you have nothing to toot your spiritual horn about. If anything happens of any real import in the mission you've been summoned to it will be God's doing and his alone . . . period. Humility is prized by God. Suffering creates humility because it puts us in God's hands with only him to hold on to. Pride puffs us to blindness and missional impotence. Our initial, grand designs for God need some cutting down to size. Suffering gets the job done if we keep our eyes on him in the ordeal he fashioned for us.

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