Leveraging Your Limitations

Episode 658: Each individual planter and every church context has a unique set of limitations and constraints. Host Clint Clifton discusses how those limitations can become strengths with Jessica Thompson, director of operations for the New City church planting network, and Colby Garman, teaching pastor at Pillar Church in Dumfries, Virginia.

In This Episode, You’ll Discover:

  • Each individual and every church context has a unique set of limitations and constraints
  • How God sovereignly uses those limitations to help us realize He is God and we are not
  • That individuals experience both categories and seasons of limitations
  • Why your limitations can be the very thing God uses to use you in a really significant way
  • How transience in the military community turned out to be a “cheat code” for Pillar Church and the Praetorian Project
  • The importance of finding joy in weakness and limitation
  • That a limitation also often has a strength associated with it
  • The values in “only being a small church” with limited financial resources

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Sharable Quotes (#NewChurches):

All of us are limited in significant ways that sometimes we’re aware of, sometimes we’re not. Every church context also has a set of limitations and constraints that make it unique. @ColbyGarman

Limitations are part of what God has sovereignly placed in us, put us in, as a way of realizing he is God and we’re not. @ColbyGarman

Perspective changes everything. Your limitations might be the very thing God uses to incredibly use you in a really significant way. @ClintJClifton

Your perspective on limitation is how you view it and what you tell yourself is possible. Challenge yourself to not see your limitations as weaknesses, but as an opportunity for God to be magnified. – Jessica Thompson

The Scripture teaches us that God’s strength is made perfect in our weakness. God actually is going to use our limitations more than He’s going to use our strength and our competency. @ClintJClifton

Our church and the Praetorian Project embraced the transience of the military community and saw movement as the method God is using to get people ready. It’s a lot easier to redirect a moving vehicle, than to jumpstart one. @ColbyGarman

Imagine trying to convince people in your church to move to another city to start a new church. What we did was put them in a spot where they were already going. The whole limitation just went away and became an advantage. @ColbyGarman

It has everything to do with looking at the situation differently than everyone else is. @ClintJClifton

I have a very lopsided gifting. I’m a one-trick pony: My trick is entrepreneurship or starting things. It wasn’t until I actually started to embrace that part of myself that I was able to make sense of what I am and how God made me and what I’m supposed to do with my life. @ClintJClifton

Clint described me as seasonal. I get on a campaign and I do a lot, then my energy is drained and I have to just wait for it to come back. @ColbyGarman

As a kid, I never knew what I wanted to be when I grew up, but I learned through taking StrengthsFinder that one of my top strengths is adaptability. I always felt weak in being able to have goals and dreams and thoughts. The other side of it makes me adaptable and able to go with change well. – Jessica Thompson

The size of church plants can seem to come up as a limitation. But there’s many things you can do at a small church that you can’t at a megachurch. – Jessica Thompson

In a smaller church, if you want to just go, “I want to work substantively to think about discipleship one to one or two to two,” you can go do that. To change that in a large church, it’s disruptive. The larger church gets, the more disruptive your change gets. @ColbyGarman

Twenty years ago, when we got in ministry, everybody was making things bigger and bigger. We were imitating the megachurch. When I’m with megachurch pastors, they’re talking about how to get smaller, not how to get bigger. @ClintJClifton

One other limiting factor is finances. Perhaps you’re in a community where there’s a lot of economic difficulties, or perhaps you’re just a broke church planter and and your ministry doesn’t have two pennies to rub together. That can be an advantage. @ClintJClifton

Jefferson Hernandez in Loudoun County, Virginia, found a way to make his side hustle missiologically advantageous. @ClintJClifton

It ends up inspiring other people, which becomes an advantage. Other people look at it and go, “Well, what’s my excuse? I don’t have an excuse. Look at Jefferson.” @ColbyGarman

In our early days, it pushed us to do things in a way that was reproducible. Substantive church is not that expensive. Reproducibility happens when we realize we don’t need resources, we need to develop people. @ColbyGarman

Published April 14, 2022

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