When it gets hard… (The Church Planters Journey)

There is no shortage of warnings about the difficulties of planting a church. Folks in the Church world and especially those who have done the work of planting a church are quick to share war stories. It’s easy to think much of this is hyperbole, pastors are good at that sort of thing. But about a year into this thing, I would give credence to the collective witness of lament for the difficulty of church planting. It’s not without its joys and excitement. However, there are stretches in my experience so far, of dry and difficult terrain which needs more wisdom to navigate than I am cable of and more skill than I possess myself.

Our church plant has been given the opportunity to occupy a historic chapel near the heart of our city each Wednesday for morning prayer and hopefully in the new year, a mid-day Eucharist service. This morning, because the ground of life and ministry seems a big desolate the following bits from morning prayer really stood out to me. I thought I would share this with the hope that you, who might wander upon this humble little blog, that is itself pretty desolate and seldom given much attention; that you, a church planter or pastor might read and be encourage and feel the prayers of the Church rising up to the Lord like “the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints…” (Rev. 8:4)

From Daily Morning Prayer Rite Two
beginning on page 75 of the 1979 American Book of Common Prayer)

Opening Sentence
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Philippians 1:2

Jubilate, Psalm 100
For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; *
and his faithfulness endures from age to age.

From the Psalm appointed for the day
Psalm 72:7
“In his time shall the righteous flourish; there shall be abundance of peace till he moon shall be no more.”

From The Lessons: Ecclesiasticus 43:26-29
“Because of him each of his messengers succeeds, and by his word all things hold together. We could say more but could never say enough; let the final word be: “He is the all.”Where can we find the strength to praise his works. Awesome is the Lord and very great, and marvelous is his power.”

Canticle 9
The First Song of Isaiah Ecce, Deus — Isaiah 12:2-6
Surely, it is God who saves me; * I will trust in him and not be afraid.
For the Lord is my stronghold and my sure defense, * and he will be my Savior.
Therefore you shall draw water with rejoicing * from the springs of salvation.
And on that day you shall say, * Give thanks to the Lord and call upon his Name;
Make his deeds known among the peoples; * see that they remember that his Name is exalted.

The Lord Prayer
(All of it but…)
“Give us this day our daily bread.”

Suffrages A
V. Show us your mercy, O Lord;
R. And grant us your salvation.
V. Clothe your ministers with righteousness; R. Let your people sing with joy.
V. Give peace, O Lord, in all the world;
R. For only in you can we live in safety.
V. Lord, keep this nation under your care;
R. And guide us in the way of justice and truth. V. Let your way be known upon earth;
R. Your saving health among all nations.
V. Let not the needy, O Lord, be forgotten;
R. Nor the hope of the poor be taken away.
V. Create in us clean hearts, O God;
R. And sustain us with your Holy Spirit.

A Collect for Grace
Lord God, almighty and everlasting Father, you have brought us in safety to this new day: Preserve us with your mighty power, that we may not fall into sin, nor be overcome by adversity; and in all we do, direct us to the fulfilling of your purpose; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

A Collect for Guidance
Heavenly Father, in you we live and move and have our being: We humbly pray you so to guide and govern us by your Holy Spirit, that in all the cares and occupations of our life we may not forget you, but may remember that we are ever walking in your sight; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The General Thanksgiving
Almighty God, Father of all mercies,
we your unworthy servants give you humble thanks
for all your goodness and loving-kindness
to us and to all whom you have made.
We bless you for our creation, preservation,
and all the blessings of this life;
but above all for your immeasurable love
in the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ;
for the means of grace, and for the hope of glory.
And, we pray, give us such an awareness of your mercies,
that with truly thankful hearts we may show forth your praise,
not only with our lips, but in our lives,
by giving up our selves to your service,
and by walking before you
in holiness and righteousness all our days;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit,
be honor and glory throughout all ages. Amen.

Closing Sentence
Glory to God whose power, working in us, can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine: Glory to him from generation to generation in the Church, and in Christ Jesus for ever and ever. Amen. Ephesians 3:20, 21


May you be encouraged today to do the wok you’ve been called to do!