Welcome back to this week’s unSeminary podcast. We’re talking with Brian McMillan, from CenterPoint Church in Long Island, New York. Brian is talking with us today about how pastors can keep their souls healthy by being generous and Kingdom-minded toward church plants coming into their area.
- Challenges of church planting. // When planting a church, many pastors quickly discover that other pastors in the area may be territorial or fearful about a new church in town. When Brian was planting CenterPoint Church on Long Island, it was before there was much church planting support and resources available. As a result, Brian sought the help of five other respected pastors in the area, assuming they would welcome his efforts to reach the unchurched on Long Island. Instead Brian was met with rejection, loneliness, discouragement, and even slander. Sadly these experiences are not uncommon because of the deep brokenness, insecurity and fear that many pastors are living with.
- Bringing beauty from pain. // After so much rejection, Brian and his church planting team had nothing but faith to go on. God often takes pain and rejection and redeems it, making it into something beautiful. In the end CenterPoint developed a strong desire to be the kind of church that raised other churches and ministries in the area up. By being Kingdom-minded they saw church planting to be about much more than simply starting a church. Instead it’s about seeing Long Island come to Christ.
- Blessing other churches in the area. // A large part of CenterPoint’s budget goes to local church planting. They make sure that any church plant, no matter how close by, is supported by them. Support can be financial, offering opportunities for another church’s teams to shadow their teams, or giving a new church stage time in some way. CenterPoint even lets the people in their services know that if God is calling them to help with a new church plant, then to follow where He leads. CenterPoint also lists on their website over 20 reputable churches of different denominations and personalities so that if someone visits their church and doesn’t find it to be a good fit, they have some other solid options in the area to consider.
- Be generous and openhanded. // Staying Kingdom-minded isn’t easy. Brian admits that losing people to other churches is hard and it can be easy to get jealous of other churches and the amazing things they are doing. But if you want your church to grow and be healthy, you need to get the blessing of God. And God blesses people when we’re openhanded and put His Kingdom above our own kingdoms. When we’re generous, God will do immeasurably more than all we can ask or imagine.
- Keep your soul in check. // Generosity keeps the souls of church leaders healthy too. Without it, fear creeps in and affects decision-making. It becomes based on self-preservation or bettering ourselves for our persona or church brand. But being really generous and willing to give away the people in our churches is a soul check. It shows that this movement is all really about God and not about a person or a brand. Give as much as you can to bring life to other churches in your area without bringing pain to yourself.
- Build connections with local leaders. // ReviveLI, a group that Brian started, brings church leaders on Long island together to support one another. Currently it includes about 50 pastors who get together every two months. They pray and eat together, building relational connection and supporting one another. As Brian puts it, when you can be life-giving to other pastors, you are racking up some serious treasure in heaven.
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Thank You to This Episode’s Sponsor: Medi-Share
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