Church Plant Hijack

 

Week 15 - December 23, 2015 - Church Plant Hijack

 

God gives you a vision for what to do, where to do and when to get started.  You are filled with awe and wonder as you consider the opportunity.  You get started and pour your heart and soul into serving Him on your new mission field.  You celebrate as others come along and hear the vision and get excited.  Yet others may not be as resolute on the vision as you are…this is natural since God gave it to you…but it is dangerous because that precious vision can be hijacked if you aren’t careful.

In the early church, generosity and complete surrender was a big part of the vision.  Towards the end of Acts 4 you hear of this things.  Then, a couple came along that had a vision of partial generosity and conditional surrender.  You can read about them here:

[1] But a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property, [2] and with his wife's knowledge he kept back for himself some of the proceeds and brought only a part of it and laid it at the apostles' feet. [3] But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back for yourself part of the proceeds of the land? [4] While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not at your disposal? Why is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to man but to God.” [5] When Ananias heard these words, he fell down and breathed his last. And great fear came upon all who heard of it. [6] The young men rose and wrapped him up and carried him out and buried him. [7] After an interval of about three hours his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. [8] And Peter said to her, “Tell me whether you(1) sold the land for so much.” And she said, “Yes, for so much.” [9] But Peter said to her, “How is it that you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord? Behold, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out.” [10] Immediately she fell down at his feet and breathed her last. When the young men came in they found her dead, and they carried her out and buried her beside her husband. [11] And great fear came upon the whole church and upon all who heard of these things. (Acts 5:1-11 ESV)

Peter could have been ecstatic that ‘some people’ where getting ‘some of the vision’.  He could have celebrated this gift with this couple.  He didn’t.  He saw it as a hijack to the vision of the church to surrender and support ‘all’ the work God wanted them to do.  What do you do when it appears that God’s vision for your work is being hijacked?  I mean, you can’t really strike people dead in their tracks can you?  Here are some thoughts to consider as you carry-out and protect the vision of God:

First, don’t be naive…it will likely happen early and often to you.  It may even happen before you launch/start.  It will likely even come from within your Core Group of leaders whom you are closest to…possibly even people with deep and abiding convictions about Christ…probably from someone whom you agree with on most of the ‘close-fisted issues of the faith’.   This does not make them enemies to fight.  We already have one of those. 

Next, understand that the greatest catalyst to vision hijack is poor communication.  When we do not cast and re-cast (ad-infinitum) the vision then we can’t expect others to grasp it therefore they will have their own visions.  Pour vision into every meeting you have with others.  Just when you think ‘they must be getting sick of this’ they are likely just beginning to hear it.  Keep it up!

Compromise and adapt on nonessentials.  Your vision does not include carpet color.  Your vision is about accomplishing much for God’s Kingdom.  Hold firm to that and hold loosely to other things.  Allow tons of input.  Make changes to methods but stay resolute to the message and vision of God for the work of God.   Your vision may never change but the way you accomplish it will be an ever-changing thing.  At year two of our church planting adventure, we have now seen so much change compared to how we started.  Many of those changes are of things that I thought were essential at the time but later learned they were just vehicles to drive the essentials home.  We found other vehicles that drove faster so we switched.  Don’t assume its a hijack when it may just be an insight of a better vehicle.  

Be prepared to deal with it.  When a hijack comes your way you will feel great tension.  It may cause you to lose people…people you care about greatly!  Friend, you will lose many more if you allow God’s vision to be hijacked.  Handle these things with grace but deal with them in urgency.  It may be that you can thwart a hijack by recasting vision and everybody is ok…it may not.  Consider this…if you are doing something new and a person (or group of people) want you to do it a different way, it is likely there is another organization that is already doing that.  Bless them and send them to that organization if they cannot adapt and embrace the vision of God for your organization.