You Probably Shouldn't Go
By Matt Funk
I could’ve listed hundreds of reasons not to do it. Literally. I could have.
The idea of leaving the community, jobs, support, friendships, family, and just the overall stability of our lives to plant a church across the country seemed ludicrous. I mean, God has blessed us with stability, right? Our ministry and life here is already pretty effective, right? Why would God throw a wrench in the system? If it isn’t broken, why pursue church planting and accidentally ruin it all in an insane attempt to fix it, as they say.
The list of reasons not to do it wasn’t just about what we would be leaving behind. What about what was ahead? We don’t know much about Colorado or the West in general. We don’t have friends there. Housing is incredibly expensive. Plus, there are the hurdles of moving, finding a new school for our kids, learning a new culture, and building friendships and relationships from scratch. Would we have enough money? Where will we live? Who will be our friends?
Then there are the personal, introspective reasons. I mean, who do I think I am? Do I really think I’m cut out for church planting? After all, the first section in just about every church planting book ever written is pretty much trying to talk you out of it. You have to be ambitious, confident, entrepreneurial, driven. You have to build everything from scratch. You have to be an evangelist, disciple-maker, teacher, preacher, leader, leadership-developer, janitor…the list goes on and on.
Even more than that, there is the ever-present nagging reality that failure is definitely an option. What if I fail and not only disappoint my friends and family? What if I have to return home with my tail between my legs and rebuild.
Even worse than that, what if I take this leap and fail in front of my kids?
All of these reasons and more definitely led to some much-deserved side-eye from some family and friends, as well as some introspective brow beating of my own. If you ever consider being involved in church planting, especially cross-culturally, I imagine your experience will be similar. There will be a list in your mind of a thousand reasons (good reasons!) not to do it.
But, you may find there is more. There may be other voices in your life gently (and sometimes not-so-gently) pushing you toward that next step. There may be respected mentors and peers who are invested in you, who pray for you, that tell you that they feel God has been preparing you for something. They may point out qualities that they see in you that you never knew you had (likely because they are a new development, thanks to the Holy Spirit). They may ask you to take on more leadership or responsibility. They may even point you toward training, development, and resources. Don’t ignore those voices.
There may be an inner voice as well. You may, at times of introspection, wonder what God might do if you let go of all the reasons to say no. You may, in a moment of God-given faith, imagine a less-tethered life of reckless obedience. You may have a moment or two in which you hypothetically think through what it would be like if all the anchors keeping you where you are weren’t a factor, and you took the leap…and that moment might actually make your heart race. You might even find yourself Googling housing prices in different areas of the country, or spending way too much time looking at maps online, or even assessing what it would be like to sell your current home. That inner longing, that nudging of the Spirit, that growing inner voice that asks “What if…” should not be ignored.
Finally, you may find yourself, as I did, burdened by the Scriptures. It is likely, if God is calling you to something new, that He first directs you to what is old…that He leads you to change by His unchanging Word. You may find yourself more keenly aware of the reality of lostness in our country and our world, and simultaneously be reminded of Matthew 28 and Acts 1. As you consider the faith of men, not entirely unlike you, who, upon receiving the call of Jesus, dropped everything to follow Him…men and women who followed him not knowing what was next, who fearfully gathered together to pray after their teacher was crucified…people who, after experiencing the Risen Jesus, were so consumed by the greatness of their salvation that they boldly and obediently risked everything to go to unknown regions so that others may know Him…those passages may begin to stir your soul.
Your Savior is the same. Your calling and commission the same. Your world still broken by sin and desperately in need.
And you, being filled with the Holy Spirit and driven by God’s Word, may feel the urgent desire to obey. The whole list of reasons not to go, whether it’s a list of a hundred or a million, will grow smaller and smaller in the light of the one reason to do it: Obedience and allegiance to our great Savior.
Jesus has called you to a mission, and He isn’t intimidated by your list of reasons not to go. In fact, one of the really beautiful things about going is how Jesus graciously and skillfully obliterates the list of reasons not to go as you faithfully and obediently follow Him.
You will tell yourself there are too many reasons not to surrender yourself and your family to missional living and church planting, and you’re right. There are lots of reasons not to go. But there is one reason to go that outshines them all. Surrender to Jesus. Risk. Go. And you will find that the Savior that sends you goes with you.
Matt Funk and his family are currently church planters in Parker, Colorado. First Baptist Covington had the privilege of being the sending church for the Funk’s and continue to support and resource him. Check out his church’s brand-new website at http://www.aspengrovechurch.org/