Several years ago, my wife and I decided to make one of the biggest decisions of our lives – we moved to the other side of the country to start a church. When we say we started from scratch, we literally started from scratch. We didn’t know anyone in the city where we moved. We had no potential prospects of who might attend our church or be on our launch team.
Our closest family and friends would be 2,000 miles away. We weren’t sure it would work. In many ways, we had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. Starting a church across the country has been one of our greatest privileges and greatest challenges.
Here are four questions to consider before moving across the country:
1. How strong is your marriage?
Your marriage will be tested. You will have to depend on each other in ways you never imagined. All you have is each other. Is it enough? Are you both called to move? You shouldn’t have to convince your spouse to do this. You must BOTH be all in. Date each other. Enjoy the journey because the destination is a mirage. Make memories. Pray together every day. This is the single greatest help to sustaining our marriage through stressful seasons of starting a church across the country.
2. How big is your faith?
“What we now see did not come from anything that could be seen.” (Hebrews 11:3) It takes a rare breed to move thousands of miles away to start a church. It isn’t better but it is different. It is unique. Your faith will be tested. Do you have what it takes? Are you willing to DO whatever it takes? Get a side job, work extra hours, leave the comfort of family and friends, etc. God never said it would be easy but it’s WORTH it.
3. How deep is your calling?
There will be many days you’ll want to quit. The lies from the enemy will start – “think how much easier this would be if you moved back to where you were from?” Or “Wouldn’t this be so much easier if you were near a community where you already knew a ton of people?” The reality may be true but the calling was to deep to ignore. There will be days the only thing you will have is your calling to keep you going. Remember where you were when God first called you. Record His faithfulness each step of the way. Remind yourself of the calling God has on your life and your specific calling to that city.
4. Do you have a supernatural love for the city?
Does this sound like a “cool” idea or do you genuinely love the people of the city where you are moving? “Cool” will wear off and reality will set in. It is only a genuine love for the people that will sustain you. Can you see yourself raising a family and planting your life there? You aren’t just planting a church. You are planting your family in this city.
You can’t have a back up plan. True love doesn’t have a back up plan. You go all in and all out to reach and love people like there is no tomorrow!
It is hard but it is worth it. We’ve had our share of ups and downs along the way. We’ve had our share of joy and pain. But at the end of the day, we couldn’t imagine being anywhere else or doing anything else.
If you are considering starting a church across the country, go for it! There is nothing like it.
Before you make the move remember what it will require – keep a strong marriage, have big faith, make sure your calling is deep, and let your supernatural love for the city fuel you to do whatever it takes to see the vision become a reality!