The Littlest Church Planter

Okay, time for some vulnerability up in this piece.

So Duff and I are planting a church. To some of you, this is as normal as burgers and fries, but I'm guessing that for some of you, that is totally weird. And it may not be weird because you think what we believe is weird (although that's totally possible too), but more so because you don't know what a church plant really is, or why we're doing that rather than going on staff at an existing church.

I'm not going to get into all of that right now, but I will say this: sometimes it's weird for us too.

And more than that, sometimes it's hard.

This is our life, and our livelihood, and we're bringing our kids along for the ride. Church planting is part of their childhood. Sometimes I worry that this somewhat unconventional introduction to the church will give them very complicated feelings about it later. But often I think (and hope) (and pray) that they might walk away with a healthier view of things.

Because so far, they can't confuse the church with a building.

Or with wearing certain clothing.

Or with various and sundry other things we're tempted to identify as church.

For a long time, both girls were in bed before anyone came over for our meetings on Sunday nights. I often thought that one day I'd write the story to them under the title While You Were Sleeping: The Story of City Church.  But now, Liv goes to bed later, so we let her stay up for part of our gathering. Here's what she sees:

Her "friends," each of whom have at least twenty-something years on her, trickle in. She is delighted to see them. We grab food, and gather around the table, then overflow into the living area. She eats dessert, then hops down to go watch a show in our room. We start our meeting, and she peeks out. She picks a seat; sometimes with me, but often on someone else's lap, or in her own chair. We sing songs, and she rocks slowly, watching us quietly, but with interest. Sometimes she makes up words and sings along. When we're done with the songs, I scoop her up and take her to bed. There is usually a struggle; partly because no two year-old wants to go to bed, and partly because she loves these people, and she knows they love her too.





There is more to the church than this, okay? I will say that thinking through it from her eyes has helped me identify some of my own expectations that are based more on experience than the Bible.

So she doesn't know what communion and baptism are, but she knows that adults in her church take time for her. She's never heard the word "elder" but she's excited when she hears which grown-up friends are up in the childcare rotation for bible study. So yes, there's much more to it, and she'll learn that stuff. But what she's learning here and now is also important. No matter how the story unfolds, when she grows up, she'll say "I was raised in the church." I love that this is part of what she'll mean, and I hope that she will too.


Cross-posted at



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