Church planting is sort of like learning to ride a bike, especially if you are coming out of a mega church. Like training wheels, our ten years on staff at Radiant allowed us to gain the strength and confidence we needed for the journey ahead.
When we taught our children to ride their bikes they never wanted us to let go. They didn’t mind taking off the training wheels as long as we were holding on and running right beside them. Eventually we did let go. In much the same way, our training wheels have come off, and we are learning to ride on our own. Things are a bit scary when you look around and realize your support is gone. There is no safety net. The road is shaky and the future uncertain, so we just keep pedaling.
When learning to ride a bike there are a few components that are critical in the process: generosity, encouragement and faith. Fortunately, in our experience as new church planters we are experiencing all three.
It’s hard to learn to ride a bike if you don’t have one to practice with. It’s also hard to start a church when you are beginning with nothing. However, God has placed many generous people in our path that have given so selflessly to support the vision God has placed on our hearts. They have contributed financially, purchased supplies we needed, blessed our children, and given of their time. Their generosity gives us the courage to keep moving forward.
Riding a bicycle can be a little intimidating because you’re on it alone. If you fall you’re the one that will get hurt. Many have warned us that church planting can feel very lonely at times, because we are on the bike alone. So far, we haven’t felt alone, because God has surrounded us with friends, local pastors, and church planters all over the state of Arizona that have blessed us in so many ways. They have cheered us on, given us advice, prayed with us and poured into our lives in countless ways.
Faith is often defined as believing in something we cannot yet see. We cannot see the future or know how this will all unfold, but we are choosing to trust God. Perhaps faith is like riding with no hands — letting go completely despite the risk!
Albert Einstein once said, “Life is like learning to ride a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.” We know the risk, we’ve counted the cost, and it is worth it. Jesus is worth it, so we will keep moving forward. It is in that moment of surrender we realize that God is holding on and running right beside us, making sure we do not fall.