What I've Learned While Planting A Church :: Stephen Martin

Posted: May 02 2015

This guest blog post comes from our good friend Stephen Martin. In January 2014, Pastor Stephen and his family planted Vintage Church in Harker Heights, Texas. We asked him to share some things that he has learned during the church planting process, and he was kind enough to share some thoughts. Enjoy!

Some say that the greatest lessons learned in life are through experience. While I certainly understand where they’re coming from, I’d disagree. 

It was just 21 short months ago that I moved my young family to Harker Heights, a community of about 38,000 people just outside of Fort Hood, Texas to plant a church. Reflecting back, my experience has been very different from many pastors I know. Many church planters strike out on their own with a strong sense of what Pastor Bill Hybels calls “Holy Discontent”. They are excited to finally run things the way they were never allowed to in previous ministry positions. I’ve observed that many start off passionate and optimistic and end up discouraged, feeling alone and silo-ed from those they pastor and from older leaders who could help. 

After seeing this pattern, Kyla and I knew that God had called us to live another way. We didn’t just want to build a great organization but to build a spiritual family. We knew that in order to do this we had to drastically change the way we did life. 

Vintage Church has grown to over 500 people attending our weekend services in just 15 short months and the reason we’ve experienced this growth can be attributed to God’s Grace and a simple truth we’ve applied to our lives:

“The greatest lessons come from the experiences of others and the only way we can learn from them is to heed & honor their lessons in our lives.” 

Three practical things that have made the difference for us: 

1. We have a pastor. He and his wife shepherd us in every area, our marriage, our finances and our hearts. They also have legal authority over us and how we lead Vintage Church. We aren’t alone and we model for our members how they should live.  

2. We honor the past. You don’t have to tear down the past to build the future. In fact, we’ve learned from the mistakes and successes of others and surround ourselves with older, wiser leaders who have been where we are and know how to get to where we’re going. 

3. We embrace our limitations. There are expectations that others put on us that we just can’t meet. I’m great at being Stephen, I’m horrible at being God. We can’t do everything and that realization forces us to develop leaders that can hold weight with us. 

I hope this helps and encourages you. We refuse to live our lives any other way. 

--Stephen Martin
Senior Pastor of Vintage Church


Want to share what God is doing in your church? We'd love to hear from you!


Leave a comment

All blog comments are checked prior to publishing