The temptations in church planting are endless, just as in the rest of life. Overall, I find that there are two that are the most common for me. One is the temptation to rely on my own strength rather than planting in complete reliance upon God; the other is focusing more on the worship service than on making disciples.
Don’t get me wrong: I believe in the priority of corporate worship, the preaching of God’s Word, and more. I would react equally against an approach that downplays corporate worship. When we planted, we began with an emphasizing the importance of corporate worship. We are not as down on this as some church plants who purposely downplay the corporate gathering.
The danger is that church becomes a weekly service rather than a group of disciples who are living on mission, and that church attendance becomes a greater metric than the making of disciples in everyday life. I wrote of this danger years ago, and I’m living it now. I’m struck by what Dallas Willard once said:
We must flatly say that one of the greatest contemporary barriers to meaningful spiritual formation in Christlikeness is overconfidence in the spiritual efficacy of ‘regular church services,’ of whatever kind they may be. Though they are vital, they are not enough. It is that simple.
I long for more of the ministry described in books like The Trellis and the Vine, which includes corporate gathering but a whole lot more discipleship taking place throughout the week.
What do you think? If you are church planting, what other temptations have you noticed?