By Dave Page
I was once asked, “What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?” That was easy, I would plant a church. God had clearly called me to start a church but I was scared to death!
“Imagine a world where your greatest fears become reality.” This is the opening line from the TV show Fear Factor. Welcome to the world of church planting. I experienced an acute case of the fear of failure. What if I didn’t succeed?
My biggest concern was that I was going to move us into a new community to start a church with no money, no building, and no people! What kind of husband would I be to my new bride? How could we have children if we didn’t have a steady income?
The fear of failure is an irrational fear that we will not succeed. This was very real for me. It can lead to a sense of paralysis, which in turn can lead to procrastination and an aborting of the goal.
After God revealed that it was time to start a church, I began to waver in my faith. I had put my house up for sale, but was not taking the steps necessary to begin a new church.
One morning during my quiet time, I read Matthew 6:25-33. In the passage, Jesus describes to His disciples how God the Father would take care of them and therefore they did not have to worry. Since God took care of the birds of the air and the flowers in the field, how much more would He take care of us? The next statement cut me like a knife -“O you of little faith.”
I knew that God had called me to start a church and that I needed to step out in faith and go but I was afraid. Church planting is a journey into the unknown. The fear of venturing out alone into new territory is a scary proposition.
The reality is you are not alone. God is there. Jesus said, “And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” God’s Word says, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you. So we can say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.’”
Overcoming fear is by far the biggest obstacle for most church planters.Faith is the antidote to fear.
Stepping out in faith and trusting our faithful God is the first step to planting a church. “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.”
We started the church four months after we arrived on the field and in the next few years saw hundreds of people come to know Christ and saw the church grow beyond what we ever imagined.
I wish I would have known then, as I do now, how faithful God would be in the midst of my fear.