I don’t know about you, but sometimes these thoughts sneak into my head, “What are you doing in this role? Or “Who do you think you are?” There’s also, “You can’t handle this responsibility or juggle it all.”
The pressure of church planting, pastoring, mentoring and being a spouse and parent can be immense. If you’re experiencing this, you’re not alone. And if you haven’t yet, tuck this away in the back of your mind.
When God first called me into formal ministry, I went through six months of being Moses, if you will: “Who am I? Send someone else. I am not gifted enough.” I didn’t want to mislead others and fail in the responsibility my heart truly wanted to fulfill. I feared wounding people in the same way I had been wounded by a previous ministry leader. What if I preached something that was not true or accurate?
One day I was sitting in a chair in my living room, when God clearly impressed on my heart: “If you do not move forward beyond this point you will be directly disobeying me.”
This time the Lord gave me a Moses moment (Exodus 3) and drew close to reveal himself to me. In that moment, God gave me a glimpse of himself, a “passing by” of his intimate physical presence. I knew with everything in me that the Lord had gone before, was right beside and would follow behind me. I was in awe and trembled with fear and adoration.
At that moment, my fear of the responsibility of the call and my inadequacies lessened in comparison to my fear of displeasing the Lord. The difference was slight (read: 51 percent fear of the Lord and 49 percent fear of myself.) But it was enough to make me immediately pick up my computer and sign up for my first ministry class.
If you can serve in any other role in the ministry, then do that. But if you cannot not pastor, then you better.
When God began stirring the hearts of my husband and me to plant a church, the fear of myself took over once again. The thoughts of insecurity and what-ifs beckoned me. I hemmed and hawed, hands in my pockets, staring at my feet, avoiding eye contact with God like a little child not really wanting to hear what their parent has to say about a specific topic. I was sitting in my living room at 2:00 a.m., sobbing my heart out to God, grieving all we would have to leave to be able to follow the call to where God would take us to plant a church: letting go of my nursing career, moving away from family and a support system, selling the house we took two years to build and had lived in a year.
Through all of this, God revealed himself to me again. I couldn’t see the faces we would shepherd or the names of the lives we were hoping to introduce to Jesus, but I told God that if he promised me baptisms (even two!), then I would go. I was overcome with his presence and was in awe, trembling with fear and adoration. Through my husband (and co-planting pastor), he made it possible for me to bare to go. God moved me through that fear.
If you can do anything else than plant a church, do that. But if you cannot not do it, then you better.
A few weeks ago, I was driving in my car, heading to the building of our three-year-old church plant for a meeting to discuss multiplying our church into a microchurch expression. Once again, I experienced the presence of the Lord where he met me before. Covered in goosebumps, in awe, and trembling with fear and adoration. I felt this sense that if I never accomplished anything else on this earth, that my value in him alone was enough. That I was loved, regardless of fear, faults or failures. That if my husband and family passed away, if the ministry fell away, that Jesus was truly enough for me. It was a new depth of freedom and love I had not experienced before.
Let his awe draw you closer.
These moments with the Lord have pressed me forward. They have built my trust in him and given me strength to keep going. He has saved me from myself, faithfully walked me through his call on my life and has never left my side. He is with you. He goes before you. He will not leave you. Let your fear and adoration of him draw you beyond any fears you have of the Moses within. Let the awe of the Spirit who dwells in you be enough, be your all. And if you cannot not follow His voice, then you better.
Let his awe draw you forward.
Katie Lance serves as senior pastor at Thrive Church in Eaton Rapids, Michigan.