THRIVING IN MINISTRY
Church Planting Planning
This content is written for Talanton Church Services. Church Planting Planning | Dylan Dodson
Every week on the Thriving in Ministry Podcast, we interview pastors on what it looks like to create margin in ministry. I am Kyle Willis, Founder of Talanton Church Services, and as always, I am joined by Dr. Dace Clifton of DailyPastor.com. Talanton Church Services exists to help church leaders create margin in ministry by providing church staffing solutions.
Kyle Willis: Dylan Dodson is the founder and lead pastor of New City Church in Raleigh, North Carolina. He obtained his BA in philosophy and religion from the University of North Carolina Wilmington and an MA in religion from Liberty University. He and his wife Christina have two children, and Dylan is also the host of the Practical Church Planting Podcast, which has become one of my must-listens for 2021. Pastor Dylan Dodson, welcome to the Thriving in Ministry Podcast.
Dylan Dodson: Thanks for having me. I'm excited for this conversation.
Kyle Willis: We’ re excited to have you on Dylan. Dace and I were talking beforehand and I was like, “Man, I really like this guy!” I mean his podcast is like one of the new things for me that has given me energy and focus and so I'm glad we were able to connect today. Hey Dylan, Let me ask you this. We want to get into church planting and really talk, as we go through this series of four questions with pastors, we're going to talk about things like creating margin, avoiding burnout, and leading effectively in ministry. But before we get into that…we are almost in March now as we're recording this. March Madness did not happen last year, it looks like it may happen this year. You live in North Carolina. Are you a college basketball fan and if so, which way do you lean?
Dylan Dodson: I'm not sure if I want to talk about this. I love college basketball. Raleigh, North Carolina, ACC - I mean that's just what do you do. I grew up in it. I'm a huge Duke fan. Never went to Duke - couldn't afford it, not smart enough. I just grew up liking them, watching them. This is a very down year for them. So, if you're going to be bad, this is the year to do it. But as we speak, their tournament chances are slowly climbing. So as of now, they're not in the tournament. Some wins recently, and so they're just barely outside, looking in. I think their chances are pretty good. But I love college basketball. It's been a big bummer with no fans, it's just not the same. March Madness is my favorite time of the year. And they cancel it right after UNC loss (which is great because as a Duke fan you don't like Carolina) but yes, I was very sad.
Kyle Willis: I'm with you I love March Madness. Dace, re you able to take off a couple of days and watch some basketball over the next couple weeks?
Dace Clifton: I'm totally a fair-weather fan. I don't really follow it.
Kyle: Do you fill out a bracket?
Dace: No, I don’t. I've got guys in the church to do that and the problem is they're a lot better at that than I am and I don't want to lose. And so, same thing with fantasy football.
Kyle: I just wasn't sure if you were allowed to do an office pool at the church?
Dace: Better not. My gambling business in crypto right now so I'm checking that. That's my gambling problem.
Kyle: Transitioning to more serious topics….Pastor Dylan Dodson. Interviewing him today on the Thriving in Ministry podcast. Pastor Dylan, tell us a little bit about how you got to church planting. I understand you kind of went through a process and now you're with Acts 29 Network and kind of did some residency. So how did you begin to have this desire to plant a church and then what did that look like practically for you?
Dylan: Yeah, let me try to do this super long story short. I grew up in the church, my dad was an elder of the church we grew up in, my mom was on staff. Became what is now the largest church in Raleigh; at the time it was like 200 people. So it was just really cool to see that growth, see people that are faithful. In fact, the pastor just announced that he's retiring. Yesterday, as we record this, so that's really sad.
I always tell people that I'm a success story. In other words, you can grow you can raise your children in church, and have them love Jesus when they're an adult. I never really had a rebellious phase (which you know a lot of that's outside of parent's control anyway) but I'm just saying, it was faithful church. Not perfect - there are no perfect churches - but I love Jesus.
Ministry was never something I thought I would do, honestly. I wasn't sure what I was going to do….went to college as a music major, took a summer class in philosophy, and I loved it. Summer Session class and I did all the homework and all the reading. The professor was a huge atheist. But I was like…I actually was passionate about something. About a week after - I was 19, between my freshman and sophomore year college - my dad committed suicide. So completely unexpected, a lot of grief and difficulty. Our church was amazing; they rallied around our family so well. A couple weeks later, I thought maybe ministry is what I want to do and so I switched switch majors. I was like, maybe church planting….I don't know if it's because it was spiritual or because it's just a cool thing to do. When I was in college, it was really taking off so I'll just be completely honest….I don't know. But, I was like yeah I want to do ministry, I want to do church planting.
My wife and I got married between our junior and senior year. After we graduated, we were going to go to Texas, just to go somewhere else for seminary. Halfway through our senior year, we were part of a really large church. The college pastor, you know, I was doing some stuff with him and he was like I'm going to plant a church. I was like, “I'm gonna do that one day so I can read about it or I could do it. It's not that simplistic, but that sort of what I thought. And so I stayed in Wilmington, North Carolina where I was getting my undergrad, got my masters online through Liberty. Stayed there for two years, helped plant a church, learned a ton. It was just really good and, you know, being part of church by you get opportunities that you wouldn't have in other places, because they are just desperate for help.
And a few years into that, you know, we were like, maybe Raleigh's where we want to end up, we've actually both grew up right outside of the Raleigh area and so for various reasons we thought, yeah, let's go back to Raleigh. I got a job with Verizon for a couple years. I hated it, but it was good for me. It was really good for me; I keep up with friendships from that, from Verizon even to this day, which is really cool. About two years into it I was meeting with a mentor of mine every other week. He was the executive pastor at the church I grew up in, and at this point he was the executive pastor of another church and he was like, Well, you could do a residency. So I raised support, financial support, right after we had our first kid. Quit my job, raised support. Long story short, the residency was not good. It just was one of those churches that like to lot of talk about planting, but then having to actually resource it and spend time is another thing and so it wasn't a good experience, I learned a lot of what we would not do at New City.
Through that process eventually joined Acts 29, which is a great network for us. But I just tell people you got to have relationships. The thing about church planting is a lot of times people view networks, denominations or whatever they're connected to, like it's an assessment tool that you got to get past in order to plant. They don't realize the long game of ministry. Especially as we walk through COVID, you need relationships and accountability and friendship.
And so that led us to New City Church. We raised money, we built the team, launched four years ago in April, and all I can say is God's been more faithful than we deserve. With Practical Church Planting, I talk to a lot of planters, it's a passion of mine. I really love it. I look back at our journey and I tell planters there's things that we did that were good, you know, that might help us like not close our doors, but others things that it was just completely God. It was completely outside of anything I could thought, or I did.
We launched in a little office space. We were trying to do portable , but it wasn't working out so we found this office space. We were there for three years. We kind of maxed out our capacity. We were at two services, we tried to go to three but like 150-ish people. Because our space was so small, trying to do three services just didn't work. We found a bigger space right in our area, and we moved in a week before COVID. And so that's been a journey but again God's been faithful.
Dace: That's awesome. Well, there's a lot we want to talk about today, Dylan and so I want to jump in there and I want to ask you….obviously with church planting, you have been busy, brother. I listened to your podcast the other day, and you're really not busy. You're productive.
Kyle: What did you say? Can you repeat that….because I thought it was interesting. I don't want to misquote you - it may have been your co-host - but basically it was something like “busy can be a four letter word”, right? Sometimes we have this appearance of stress in ministry. There's going to be weeks probably that are stressful but as a lifestyle, ministry really shouldn't be, right?
Dylan: I would say it this way: there are seasons where there is a lot going on…but I'm not busy.
Dace: That's a great answer. I mean that's a good outlook, I love that.
Kyle: What do you mean by that?
Dylan: Well, I have it written down for one of the questions that we'll talk about. For me, what I have found is we're not productive with our time. We don't say yes and no. We're too afraid to be honest. So we have all this going on, we check our email way too much, we’re on our phones three hours a day, we can tell you the last three shows we binge on Netflix, and yet we somehow are busy. And that's just, that's not a thing. Now there are seasons of life, like if you're a single parent, you are busy. If you've got young kids, you can say you're busy. You've got young kids, but just as this default “busy” you can't argue with and everybody's busy. It's like, well, it's kind of like a budget with your finances. If you don't have any money, but you don't have a budget, how can you say you don’t have money if you don't know where your money's going? So for me, I refuse to be busy. Sometimes I have a lot going on. And it's interesting too…what's really sad is even our church isn’t large, especially with COVID. We're in the hunt, you know, 100-something on a Sunday right now and Raleigh’s still pretty restrictive and so that's kind of part of it, but people oftentimes say, “Hey can we meet?” and “I know you're so busy.” And I am like I'm not busy. I'm not busy; this is my job. The thing is, we want people to know that we're not lazy. So I get it. We're not lazy, so we have a hard time saying we're not busy because we don’t want people to think, “Well, what do you do all week?”, but I think the trade-off is worth it for me. For me personally, busy is lazy. If I'm busy, it's because I'm not managing my time well, I'm doing too many things. But I have control over that and I think oftentimes we feel like we don't and that's what gets us into trouble.
Kyle: I totally agree. Dace, I'd like to hear your feedback and then I'm ready to ask the first question. But, Dace, give me a little bit of feedback of what Dylan was talking about there.
Dace: I don't know if this is feedback or confession, I guess I would say when I feel busy, one of the things I do is say, “I'm not going to check the news”, because I'm a news junkie and that practical step is amazing. And I have a deal with a buddy of mine that basically, like if something major happens in America, you know, epic, will you please call me because I'm not checking the news next three days? It's amazing how much time….I feel more productive when I just take that simple step. I think we're in a culture right now where you can be absorbed with media, screens and things that are really not having a significant or a good impact in your life. People wonder why they're stressed and they wonder why they're down and depressed. And I think there's something to that. So kudos to you, Dylan, that's awesome.
Kyle: So I appreciate you sharing that initial one. And so as we're talking about the business of life or the business of ministry, sometimes we can struggle to put first things first and have margin to do what really matters in our lives and that is to make disciples. That is all the different mandates that you have from a pastor. So let me ask you this, what do you do to create margin in your life and in your ministry?
Dylan: Yeah, so this is a good, I could talk about this for a long time. We all have strengths and weaknesses. I mean like this is something I'm passionate about. But there’s things that I'm not good at, and I want to be clear on that. Our podcast, Practical Church Planting, is all things that you should do or could do, and I even say on there from time to time your context may be different. So these are just my thoughts on it.
You know we talked a little bit about busyness and that's kind of the part of the problem. I'll give you two resources that are a couple things I do, and then we can go to the next question or you can follow up on it. One resource is Deep Work, a book by Cal Newport. If you haven't read it, I would say that book has increased my efficiency by double. Not that efficiency is the goal so we can work 80 hours, but when I'm working, I want to work and then when I go home, I'm not working. The thing about that book is, for those of us in ministry, we're doing what's called knowledge work so we're not necessarily working with our hands, so it can be hard to know did I accomplish anything, especially ministry. It's like, did I even do anything today? And if you're like me and you like to feel productive. So that book just walks through how to focus, what are some practical things you can do. So I'll just say, just read that book and do it.
Then another resource, if you're interested….Carey Nieuwhoff. He's a pastor outside of Toronto, he's got a leadership podcast. It's my favorite podcast. He's got a bunch of resources on his blog. A couple years ago, he has a course called the High Impact Leader. So I went through that. I'm not sure how much it is; it's not necessarily cheap but basically what he talks about is how to structure your time, how to prioritize your time, how to schedule your time. Like doing what you're good at when you're at your best. A lot of times, things that we're good at….if you're a preacher you'll just like do sermon prep whenever because it's like, oh I can do it, instead of like, we should focus on what you're good at, and so those things are helpful, But one of those things that they do is help with focus, help with scheduling, and so here's some things that I do to help me create margin.
Number one is I schedule out my day. All of it. Like, all of my work day. I have some things that I do at the same time every week and then, I have a shutdown routine at the end of my workday where I'll fill in any gaps on my calendar for the next day. Of course, you can be flexible, things get moved around, it's not like it has to be super rigid. I know some people think that it's really rigid and I would just say try it first. If you feel like you're busy, just try it and see what happens. But what I found is that when I say on my calendar when I'm doing what, I actually get it done quicker, because it's like, this is the time I had to do it. And if things get moved around, they get moved around, but it just it keeps me on track. I think one of the our problems, not just in ministry, but just in general is we have a task list and we don't know what to do. So we spend 10 minutes trying to figure out what we want to do and then we pick the thing that's like the easiest to do because we were just like doing it. But when you're already told here's what you're doing, you don't have to make a decision, you're just on to the next thing. So that's really helpful. I schedule out my entire day. It's not always perfect, but it's a really good helpful thing for me. I also have these time blocks - time blocking is what they call it in Deep Work - where you try to get about three to four hours a day of focus and, that for me is the morning time until lunch, So most days, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, I won't schedule anything in the morning, unless it's something that I want to do. I'll have sermon prep for example will be Wednesday morning for me until 830 to 12. I don't check my email, or do anything. It depends on what the day is but I like…no email, no social media. My phone in my office is on the couch, on the other side of my desk. I throw my phone over there. It's on Do Not Disturb. The only person that can call me is my wife. The world will go on. It's just really efficient.
And then the other thing that's really helpful for me is inbox zero, and again people are different, so I'm not saying you have to keep your inbox at zero. For me, I'm not the most organized person. And so I often would have 20 to 30 emails in my inbox so they became like a task list for me. And your inbox is not a good place for a task list. And so every time I checked it it's like all of these things coming up on me. So I scheduled when I can check my email. Just a couple times a day, but I keep my inbox at zero, which is a whole thing we could talk about if we want. But those are some things that are helpful for me to schedule my day.
Then lastly, as we talked about the whole busy thing, I'm not knocking at other people. It's just for me. I have found that for me when I say I'm busy, it means I'm lazy because I have not scheduled my time well. There's a really good book by John Mark Comber called The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry. And it is so good. You know I'm like a Type-A go-getter, so it is just so good. Basically the premise of the book was Jesus (maybe this wasn't the premise, it’s just one things I took away from it) had the most important mission in the world. Had people after him all the time, and you cannot read the gospels and say, “this man was busy”. Like you'd can't. And it's not like a Jesus-juke. It's just like that's what I want to be. And so I try to avoid saying I'm busy. I am productive, and i do schedule my time, but for me if I say I'm busy. It means I'm lazy, so I'm like, I don't want to go there. So I try to create margin in that way.
Your question is how do you create margin. You might say, “Dylan, it doesn’t sound like there's very much margin.” But I will say this: I get more done. At night, I don't check my email, I’m not on my phone. On Saturdays - that's my day off - like I don't do anything. I’m with my family. Very rarely, I mean people like to move a lot in Raleigh, so sometimes I feel like I should have done something to help people move, but other than that it's like time off is time off. I work hard when I'm working, and let it go when I'm not.
Dace: Man, I wish that I had taken the same course three years into ministry instead of learning some of this ten years in now. That is such great wisdom there and so a lot of takeaways for our listeners. I'm interested in asking about the only thing I'm not familiar with, what you said that was Inbox Zero.
Kyle: Dace, I think that means zero emails that are unread.
Dylan: Here’s what I do and part of it depends on your job. Like, if you have a lot of tasks… I'm a lead pastor but if you’re like an executive pastor, that might be harder for you. If you're an admin, certainly, but for me, every time I check my inbox, I leave it with no emails. So I have a folder where some of them go, but most of them are applied to our archive. If it's a task that I need to do something with I will take it out of my inbox and I'll put it on my task list. So I check my email, two to three times a day. Every time I check it, it's zero, which is good because it forces me to reply to things that I'm like, I'll do it tomorrow and then it’s the next day, then it's a week and then you just like, forget about it. It makes me stay on top of it.
Kyle: What happens is, you have to come back to it multiple times, and so you read it, then you're like you, oh I don't I don't want to reply to this one right now so I'll click it back to unread. I will not show you my screen, and how many unread emails I have because I do this, I struggle with this. In a former life I may have had, like, 20,000 unread emails. But at some point you get to this, where you can't even do anything with it now.
Dylan: To be clear, people are different. To me, it's just stressed me out and it paralyzes me, and so I have to do something with it. I would say it's not as hard as it seems. On my site, www.dylandodson.com, I mean it's a shameless plug, but if you're interested in it, you can search Inbox Zero Article I have a post about it, and it takes some work to get started but it's not terrible and I'm at a place now where it might sound like while I’m really disciplined, but it's like, I have to do it.
And then one other thing I would say, I just want to say this about creating margin. I think as pastors, we can feel bad, especially if you're pastoring a smaller church or church plant where anytime somebody needs something, we're like, well, I have to talk to them, I have to help them. What I would say is your job is important, preaching’s important and you have to be healthy, your family has to be healthy. Most people are totally fine with you saying if they reach out to you, if someone wants to meet with me, I'll reply by saying here are three times. 95% of time they will take one of the times that I offer them. And so don't feel bad about it, because you’ve got to be healthy. People will be fine. Most emergencies aren't emergencies. So if someone's like, “Hey, I'm been struggling with porn. Can I talk to you tomorrow?” “How long have you been struggling with porn?” “Three years.” “Okay, maybe two days from now….?” There are exceptions, but it's about being healthy, and so it's good for you to kind of have restrictions about when you can and cannot meet people, by and large, will respect that.
Dace: That's great, great counsel. Well, that's a good transition to ask the next question and that is how do you stay healthy and avoid burnout?
Dylan: Yeah, so that's a great question. I think we should caveat this by saying I'm 30 years old. So, this is probably better for someone who's 75 and has been faithful and succeeded so I'm not the best person to ask. All I can say is, we're four years into it, I'm still excited and I'm still feeling good. I would say two things have been helpful for me.
Number one is being proactive with my schedule, so like we just talked about. Doing those things, it's just been really helpful. I'm not working all the time, like I'm on and I'm off, and I know when I'm scheduling things, this is really helpful because in ministry, things can be all over the place and people have issues, which is legitimate, and needs, which is legitimate, so it's can be it can be hard to know, when can I do things when can I not do things. Also, our church is awesome. I mean we're a church plant so it's a little bit easier. In a church that’s been around for a while traditions and expectations creep in over time, but they've been really good as well.
The second thing, kind of with the first question, is that when I'm off and I'm off. At night I don't check my email. On the weekends, I don't check my email. I let things go to voicemail. I mean, if somebody has a need, I’ll answer. I'll talk to them for sure, but I'm not working all the time and I don't really feel bad about it. And so I think that's just important, especially in ministry, you feel like you always have to be doing something, I do think part of it is we want people to know that we're not lazy, and so I understand that. But you know when you read books about people who have burnt out….,you know, I want to be someone who like hated their counsel and didn't actually do it and hopefully it doesn't happen to me. But things like when you're on vacation with your kids, you're with your kids you're on vacation you're not working. So that's from coming from me is that when I'm off, I'm off and just have a day, stick to it and create that rhythm. It's easier to do when things are smaller than when they get more complex.
Kyle: You mentioned, Carey Nieuwhof a minute ago, and I was at a conference (this was pre-COVID, maybe 18 months or two years ago.) We were sitting there talking and he was sharing (sorry, Carey and I weren't talking; we're not best buds. He was sharing from the stage). There were probably 1500 people, pastors and ministry leaders, in the room. He put up this survey and it was live. It basically polled them and said, “How often have you experienced burnout in the last 12 months?” And it was like 92% had experienced it more than twice. And he was like taken aback. I actually went through a season when I was 30 a few years ago and it rocked me hard but I did some of those things that you're saying don't do. I mean I was always on, I always had my phone when I was with my family, I was mentally checked out somewhere else. I didn't schedule very well. I didn't put my big rocks in first, so those time blocks, that three or four hours that you mentioned. Yeah, I didn't do that. And Dace I know you're a big fan of these, and even from our conversation with Pastor John Wilkie, a few weeks ago, He mentioned some of the exact same things that Dylan's mentioning here.
Dace: Absolutely. And, I'm a slow learner so I can tell you that it was about seven years of operating in this unhealthy pattern, I guess you would say, where I was almost always switched on. So it took me longer, you know. So Dylan, you're like an outlier or a Jedi or something, You've figured some of these things out. I'm serious. I don't believe that the typical pastor at 30 years of age understands these things. I don't believe the guys in their 50s, that have been doing this for 25 and 30 years, understand this. And, you know, in retrospect, and then also from the outside it's so clear. It's so clear how they get this way because you know they're not turned off, they're not designating their time or scheduling their time and all of these unhealthy things. “Well, I just have to do this”, and the truth of matter is absolutely no, you don't. You know there's a lot of things that could be said about misplaced priorities.
Kyle: Dylan, let me ask you this and transitioning to the next question. The third question we have for you today, which is how are you leading yourself your team in your church, more effectively?
Dylan: One of the things that I think has been helpful for us, especially in COVID when everything's kind of been crazy, is really clarity on decisions, and how you explain them. So one of the things that pastors can get frustrated with, understandably, is when you have dreams and desires and decisions that you make, and then you bring it before your church and you tell people and they're upset about it, they don't like it. But remember one thing, oftentimes staff and elders have been praying about this for six months and so you've had time to process it. Your people haven't. Allowing people to disagree and ask questions is fine. Don't expect anybody to always be excited about what you're doing; give them space just like you had that space. But I think just being clear, here's what we decided and here's what we're doing and not wavering on that when people disagree. People, even if they disagree, they appreciate the clarity. I'll give a really practical example. We, because of COVID, moved into a bigger building the week before COVID. And so now we're only doing one service at the time of this recording. Now, in North Carolina, and Raleigh in particular, things are pretty COVID restrictive and so there's a lot of very strong opinions on what you're supposed to do in terms of masks, social distancing, online, don't even meet. And so we have only one service. Some churches have multiple services and are doing various things - we can't do that. And so we've told people, here's what we're doing. We've invested in our live streams to make it as good as we can for a church our size. We understand you might not be comfortable but we're not wavering on that. I would say the same thing on theological questions, particularly in church plants. People might want to know like what you believe or why. I tell pastors: give them the best answer you can. It's okay if they still don't agree or like it, but you have to be clear. So I would just say, clarity on decisions, here's what we're doing, have grace in space when people disagree, but don't change your mind just because one or two people don't like it. Most people will go with you, they just won't say anything, so it might seem like there's heavy disagreement when there's not. So be clear, and then the second thing I would say in terms of leading well is to don't be all things to all people. Run your play, whatever your whatever your discipleship process looks like, whatever your membership or partnership (as we call it) looks like. Whatever it looks like for you to be the church that you are. Just do what you can do. It can be hard when you look at, for example, really large churches and they have all these different ministries and all these different discipleship programs and all this stuff and you don't have it and you feel bad and you end up doing a lot of things terribly. Just do a few things. At New City, we do a few things, and that's all we do. Maybe one time when we're bigger and we have larger staff, we could change that up. But, do what you do well, and it's okay when you go to conferences and hear what other churches are doing, and you don't do all those things. Don't feel bad about it. I mean learn, tweak and get better, but be clear on your decisions, and do what you can do well.
Kyle: But isn't it amazing how sometimes we can have this mindset as leaders that we need to be here. That the bar is here and everything else below that is not okay. I love the Craig Groeschel Leadership Podcast, I love Carrie Neuhoff and Andy Stanley. A lot of these guys have really helped me to be a better leader. However, I think sometimes the things that they're talking about is so advanced, so far away from where I'm at. Or you go to, like you said, a conference and all of a sudden you're looking up and, and you're thinking, I'll never get there. Or, you see it, it shimmers and you're like “Hey, let's sprint towards that.” And so you go for two or three months, you're running full speed, and then eight months later, you're like, why aren't we there? So I think it's a hard balance, right?
Dylan: And I say one thing, too, that I think that's really good especially because the podcasts we listen to…the pastors are larger and so their context is not normal for most of us. And so while it's super helpful, I do think some of the things that they say sometimes are not as helpful to most of us just because that's not our vein. So for example, one of the thing Carey Nieuwhoff said on his podcast through COVID is that he thinks the future the church, more people will watch your stuff online than in person. I disagree. I think that is only true for mid-size to large churches, like probably 500 people and above, because those are the only churches that have the resources have a really good live stream. And, those are the churches that actually have communicators that are good enough to hold people's attention when they don't know you. For most church plants and smaller churches, people are not going to watch your live stream beyond who goes to your church. I’m not saying don't do it, but I'm saying don't assume that if you have a live stream, people are going to watch that and come, because your live stream is not going to be good enough, and your strength as a church is your community. I mean, churches of different sizes have different strengths and so like you're saying, it can be hard sometimes to listen to really large churches because their context isn't quite what most people's is.
Kyle: Here's what I'm starting to think about is that, you know those larger churches that are doing, communicating maybe much better….I mean, that's not, I hate to use the word “competition” here….that's not what I'm struggling for, but the uniqueness that a normative church in America, a church plant, a church under 250 people, the unique positioning that you have is that you have community. And so I think the question is, how do we lead effectively at this size and not try to be, as you said, all things to all people and have this slick presentation. So I think we're talking about a little tension.
Dylan: The answer is to listen to your podcast.
Kyle: Hey, and yours as well. Right? I mean, check the links below. Well, I'll take Dace’s fourth question, which is what is one thing that you wish you knew earlier in ministry?
Dylan: The first thing is this, and this is just true. So, the Practical Church Planting podcast is all about things I would do differently. So, I mean, like just a ton of stuff; I would have planted the church differently, I would have done so many things, so that's maybe a cop out. Now I'm still early so what do I know, but I would say this, even just four years in, knowing that things will be okay. They might not turn out the way that you want. But God is faithful, and I'll give an example. So we just sent out our first church plant a few months ago, they're launching in March this year, and it's been COVID so it's not been what we would want and what we had planned. In talking to our church planter, especially with COVID, God's been faithful. He's been doing a great job and seeing his struggles about like finding his space and just a lot of the stuff that I went through. Again, I'm not in his situation so it's easy for me to say it'll work out because I'm not experiencing that. But I've just seen it. At New City and other guys that I've talked to and other churches, we just want to know everything's going be okay, and we can't know that, But I would say God is faithful, and for people like me that are like a go-getter, you want to figure everything out from Day One….God is faithful and it will be okay. You just need to be as faithful as you can be, and that's all God's asking us to do.
Kyle: Well, Dylan I appreciate all the stuff that you've shared with us today and as I'm sitting here I’m thinking about this and Dace and I are talking. You know ministry. If it is hard, If you're listening to this and you're a pastor or a church leader and you're saying, ministry is difficult. One thing that I would say is, it doesn't have to be. I'm not sitting here trying to say from a Yoda position that it's all in your mind but busyness and as Pastor Dylan Dodson shared just now, business is one of those things that we have control over. We also have control over our schedules, over our inboxes. If we want to avoid burnout and lead effectively in ministry, we're going to have to learn from our mistakes and that's kind of where we close today. Let's take a step back, and I would encourage you guys to check out Dylan's podcast - The Practical Church Planting Podcast. He's got a lot of practical tips, check out Dailypastor.com and some of the articles that Dace has out there as well. So, Dylan, bring it home for us. What did we miss as talking to pastors and church leaders on how to create margin, avoid burnout and lead effectively in ministry,
Dylan:I want to end with this. Ministry does not have to be miserable. I'm passionate about this. I think we go to gatherings and conferences, hang out with the pastors and ministry leaders and there's a just like woe is us, everything is awful, everything is bad. And I get it. There are times where things are awful and bad and sad. But ministry is not meant to be. When you read the New Testament, I don't think the apostles and the early church leaders were miserable. They had difficult lives, they were so excited and they were following Jesus and loved him so much that it was worth it. And so I would say nobody's forcing you to be in ministry. It doesn't have to be miserable. It can be hard, but it does not have to be miserable.
Kyle Thanks again to Pastor Dylan Dodson for sharing with us today on the Thriving In Ministry podcast. Pastors and church leaders, we want you to be fulfilled in ministry, and have that joy, that happiness, that passion, back in your ministry. And so if you've got questions, if you want to be a guest on the Thriving Ministry Podcast, you can email us at TheDailypastor@gmail.com. You can go to www.dailypastor.com. And once again, you can check out some of Dylan Dodson’s stuff by going to www.newcityrdu.com or check out the Practical Church Planting podcast. Thank you for joining us today, stay in the fight. We'll see you next week. This is the Thriving in Ministry podcast, brought to you by Daily Pastor and Talanton Church Services.
Written for Talanton Church Services. Church Planting Planning Tulsa | Practical Church Planting | Dylan Dodson