The time just before your church plant launch can be an exciting but stressful time. So why would you want to pile up more stress on top?
I’ve seen church planters weather some tough life events in the first few years of a church plant. I think some of the hardest are those less than about 30 days before (or after) a church plant launch.
Some life events, of course, can’t be avoided. You gotta do what you gotta do. But some are self-inflicted.
Ever seen one of those stress inventories where you add up points for different life events? To see if you’re at risk of a health breakdown? By my quick review of the list, planting a church gets you halfway to ‘at risk’ even if everything goes perfectly.
So I offer you here my top pre-church-plant-launch no-nos:
Not Within a Month of the Church Plant Launch
Maybe your landlord is moving back into the house so you have to move out. Things happen outside your control. But if you’re shopping for a new house or apartment and it’s getting close to launch, just wait until things settle down a bit. If your plans include buying a new home, don’t pursue it if the closing date is within about 6 weeks of launch. There are always delays, which will push you right into the 30-day window.
Also, don’t set yourself up for a crisis when you first move to town. If you sign a home lease that will expire about the same time you’re targeting your church plant launch, you’ll wish you hadn’t.
Already a homeowner? Maybe you’re forced into an involuntary kitchen remodel because of an appliance leak. Been there. But if it’s a voluntary remodel, just wait. “Major change in living conditions” actually ranks higher than “new residence” on the stress inventory.
3. Get a Puppy
Seriously. They’re a bundle of joy and ton of work, even if you are a professional dog trainer. Then there’s the inevitable replacement of furniture, tech gadgets, clothing, etc. while the puppy learns its boundaries.
Just wait until about a month after launch for this extra assignment. There will still be puppies for sale then.
4. Send Your Oldest to College for the First Time
This one might be a little harder to manipulate. But you’ve been planning for them to go to college for, like, 18 years or so. It shouldn’t catch you by surprise. If at all avoidable, don’t pick a launch date that’s within 30 days of moving Johnny into the dorms.
An Honorable Mention
I almost added ‘Have a Baby’ to the list, but it seems like that’s just going to be what it’s going to be. Blessings!
Especially Not Within a Week of Church Plant Launch
5. Host Out-of-Town Family or Friends
It’s cool that they want to come celebrate the grand opening with you. Just tell them that they need to get a hotel. And tell them you won’t be available to spend a lot of time with them. They can have your attention some other time.
6. Hold a Management Team Meeting
Your Management Team may want to celebrate and debrief the launch with you. But you need the week leading up to launch to work with your teams and get last-minute things in place. And you need the week following to hit guest followup hard.
So send them an email with highlights. Or shoot out a group text. Just don’t try to get everyone together and run an official meeting so close to launch.
And for heaven’s sake, don’t host an on-site, in-person meeting with your Management Team on launch Sunday afternoon or evening!
The short season leading up to your church plant launch will be memorable. For one reason or another. Let it be for a good reason – don’t volunteer for extra stress at launch time!