Trust God

April 18, 2024

I didn't want to plant a church.

I'd been part of a church plant in Denver, CO in the late 1990s, and those were the three roughest years of my life up to that point. So when I felt like God was telling me in 2008 He wanted me to plant a church, I said no. I loved my role as the young adult pastor at a growing church. My family was in a great place emotionally and spiritually, however I feared church planting might disrupt that. On top of it all, I didn't think I had what it took to be a lead pastor.

With Riverwood turning 10-years-old this weekend, you know the end of the story. But it is a story fraught with hurt and struggle.

One of the hardest things for many church planters is raising enough funds to not only put food on the table for their family, but for things like rent, sound systems, advertising, and more for the church they are seeking to start. Having a sending (or "mother") church helps tremendously!

When I finally took the step of faith to begin this journey by stepping off staff in 2010, I asked the church where I had served for 8 1/2 years for financial support. The Elders replied, "Go ask the Missions Committee," and the Missions Committee said, "We only support overseas endeavors." On top of that, the church was in the midst of a capital campaign, so I was instructed by the Elders not to approach any individuals for financial support either. People from the church could only aid our church planting efforts if they approached me for support.

Trust God • Riverwood Church

I won't lie - that hurt! Badly. This was a church family I had loved and supported 110%. I was bought in on the mission. In fact, I saw my "call" to church planting as merely an extension of the mission we'd been living as a church the previous 8 1/2 years. So I didn't understand the lack of support.

I vividly remember a moment which occurred shortly after I was told the church would not support us financially. I was in our kitchen putting clean dishes back in the cupboards. As I did so, I was thinking about the words of rejection I'd heard, and tears were forming in my eyes as I cried out to God. I had been obedient to take this step, and yet this was how He rewarded me? I had no idea how I was going to raise the money needed to care for my family and this yet-to-be-seen church.

Yet, as I was putting a glass away, I sensed God's inaudible voice. All He said was, "Trust me."

A Steward Trusts

Last week, we saw from 2 Corinthians 9:6 that a steward of God's resources is generous. But if you generously give God's money away, how will you have enough for yourself?

That's where trust enters the picture.

Rather than be plunged into poverty because of generosity, verse 10 of that same chapter tells us...

"He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing."

2 Corinthians 9:10a (ESV, emphasis added)

Just as God gave you what you initially could give away, He is able to keep giving you more to not only "supply your every need according to His glorious riches," (Philippians 4:19) but so you can continue to "sow bountifully" His riches. So even if things are really tight financially for you right now, or you are trying to raise money to fund a church plant, trust Him as you continue to seek to be generous. As it says in verse 8 of our key passage for this series...

"And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work."

2 Corinthians 9:8 (NIV)
Erin Bird Lead Pastor - Riverwood Church

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Riverwood Church, Waverly Iowa

We are on a mission to help people love like Jesus loved and live like Jesus lived.

It doesn't matter to us if you:

  • are a Wartburg student or a grandparent,
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  • or fear your past mistakes make you unlovable to God or others.

No matter where you are in your spiritual journey, we want to help you become who God has created you to be.

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