Podcast Episode #71: Erik Lawson - Church Planting

Posted: Jul 24 2017


Erik and Christy Lawson are the founders of Element Church. Erik is a 25-year ministry veteran noted for his innovative approach to communication.

Prior to pioneering Element Church, Erik was on the staff of Church On The Move, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, for more than twelve years under the leadership of Pastor Willie George. During this time, Erik served as Associate Youth Pastor and then as Lead Youth Pastor of Church On The Move’s nationally acclaimed youth ministry, Oneighty®.

As a published author, Erik’s book, "GOD, WHAT’S TAKING SO LONG?" is in high demand nationwide at major Christian retailers, online, and wherever Christian books are sold.

A devoted husband and father, Erik has been married to Christy, the love of his life, for more than 22 years, and he enjoys spending time with their three children Courtney, Brooke, and Wesley.



God will never promote you beyond what your character can sustain.

Church Planting

Birthing a church is like birthing a child.

Pregnancy- this stage is the planting and growth of God’s vision for the church that He wants to birth through you.  It is so important that this “pregnancy” is taken full-term, not birthed prematurely. During this time, it is important to trust the leaders in your life and their wisdom for timing.

It’s one thing to stand next to a leader and feel like you are carrying the weight of that leadership, but you won’t know the full weight of leadership until you get there yourself. 


Building a Team

It is important to surround yourself with people that can come alongside you and lift your hands, not hang off your hands. People that bring solutions, not just problems, are critical to supporting a lead pastor.

It’s a privilege to get close to the “spiritual nakedness” of your leader.  It’s in our brokenness that the light of Jesus shines through. 

How do you manage the general weakness of your leader? Do you cover for your leader’s weakness or expose it?

It is often a temptation to judge your strength against your leader’s weakness, and this can easily lead to a critical spirit. Your job as your serve your leader is to reflect their heart and protect them.

Church planting is hard. There are harder places than others, and there are unique battles with every one.

Don’t measure your growth based on comparison of other churches’ growth.

Success at the end of the day is “Did I obey Jesus?”

The focus should be on building something healthy that honors God. 


Ride the Natural Waves

There are natural waves that are built into our culture, how can we harness that momentum and ride it?

Example: putting a lot of energy and creativity into reaching the January crowd that naturally comes with the beginning of a new year.

This gives people a reason and tools to invite people. 


Learn from Your Mistakes

If you do enough of the right things, God’s grace is big enough to cover the wrong things.

Determine that your family & marriage are not options to sacrifice in the name of ministry.

Learning to say “no” to good things so you can say yes to “God” things.

The greatest sermons are lived out, not preached from the pulpit.


Top responsibilities of a lead pastor:

  1. Captain of the Ship: seek Jesus first
  2. Culture: set & create the culture
  3. Coach: pastor first, boss second
  4. Communicate: raise up other great leaders

You can’t please everybody, and that’s ok. 

Healthy growth takes longer and is harder, but it’s sustainable.




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