One of the highlights of the Exponential Conference was Bill Hybels. Even when I know it is coming and no matter how many times I hear him say it – when he says, “the local church is the hope of the world” I get an adrenalin rush! This guy is trading his life for all the right stuff. I’m a big fan!
Bill made a special stop in Orlando before flying off to interview President Jimmy Carter so he could address the 1800+ church leaders at the Exponential Conference. He said he still remembers the day that he had to (literally) sign away in the presence of attorneys his share of the family business so he could pursue the dream of starting a brand new church! He reminisced about how Willow had it’s first service on October 12, 1975 and to this day he has no regrets! Bill said that his greatest horror is “what if I would’ve given my life to a lesser dream?”
Bill finished his talk by telling us that after 31 years this would be his advice to church planters:
- KNOW THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A “HANKERING” AND A “HOLY DISCONTENT”. A “hankering” is thinking that you might like to try this someday; but a “holy discontent” is something that if you don’t do it you will implode! Church planting can not be a “hankering” it has to be a “holy discontent” that you have to do.
- KNOW WHO HAS WHAT GIFTS. You need to know not only your gifts, but also the order of your giftings. Most people have 3 or 4 gifts and you need to know which is first, second, third and fourth. You also need to know the gifts of your team and the order of their gifts as well.
- KNOW THE CONNECT BETWEEN LEADERSHIP AND FAITH. Faith is what allows you as a leader to continue to move forward even though what you hope for is not yet in sight. Faith is essential for a spiritual leader.
- DECIDE TODAY THAT YOU WILL TAKE THE “HIGH ROAD”. There are too many church planters who have ditched their efforts because they compromised in the area of sexuality or financial impropriety. If you are going to plant a church decide right now that you are going to take the moral high road.
- ASK GOD TO LET YOU FINISH WITH A FEW OF THE PEOPLE YOU STARTED. Don’t start this new adventure on your own; do it with a team. Create a community that feels more like a family than it does like a profession. And then ask God to let you finish with some of the same people with which you started this church.