When you are in church planting circles long enough, one of the words you hear repeatedly is vision. Church planters and pastors will spend weeks and months crafting a vision statement for their future church. It is an integral part of starting a church. In retrospect, I wish someone had told me I need more faith than vision to start a church.
I wish someone had told me I need more faith than vision to start a church.
Faith is almost impossible to capture or measure. A test cannot assess it, and you will never know you have it until you actually need it. We rarely want to be in those moments where faith is required. The need for faith usually means you are in a terrifyingly impossible situation. I have been in ministry for 14 years and a follower of Jesus even longer. I never imagined the impossibilities I would face as we began our church.
Give God a Chance
The first day of our journey was March 16, 2020. It was also the same day New Jersey started locking down during a global pandemic. The day before, we had lost all of our funding, our team, and every earthly security you would need to survive as a family of six. Yet, the impossibility of our situation started to sink in when I tried to file as a new church incorporation. In New Jersey, you need three signatures to create a legal non-profit religious organization. We had mine and another person who had done it out of courtesy. I just needed one more signature, but I could not find a single person.
On that day, we did not have a vision. We also did not have the people, the funding, or even the possibility of holding meetings with people. Oh, and we were on the verge of being homeless within a few months. However, we had faith. Although it was not a perfect faith, it was the kind that said, “I know this is foolish, but I know I have to give God a chance.” We gave God a chance that day, and he has proven himself to be faithful time and time again.
Beyond a Vision Statement
Anyone can come up with a catchy, conviction-filled vision statement. But the real question has to be asked—“Where is your faith?” I have been asked, “What is my vision? Who is on the launch team? Why plant in New Jersey?” However, I have never been asked, “Where is your faith?” We get hung up on assessments, personality profiles, spiritual gifts, and experiences while rarely being reminded how God wants to use the foolish ones.
We get hung up on assessments, personality profiles, spiritual gifts, and experiences while rarely being reminded how God wants to use the foolish ones.
I pray that the next generation of church planters will give God a chance. It may be the most foolish decision you will ever make, but I would rather be a fool with faith than a wise person without it.
David Cho is a Korean-American pastor and church planter. Born and raised in northern New Jersey, he has a passion to help people discover the worth of knowing Jesus Christ. David serves as lead pastor, alongside his wife Faith, at Mosaic Covenant Church of NJ.