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*Playing with purpose matters.

Lebron James made a promise: “I will bring home a championship to Cleveland.” And throughout the playoffs as announcers commented on Lebron’s “superhuman” effort, Lebron simply referred to his success as “playing with purpose.”

Church planters, our purpose is far more important than a basketball championship. YOU are making an eternal difference.

Screen Shot 2016-06-24 at 10.04.10 AM I will never forget the image of Lebron carrying the NBA championship and the MVP trophies down the hall and into the locker room–trophies that will one day perish. Church planters, YOU are playing for a crown that will last forever! (1 Corinthians 9:25)

*It takes a team.

This year, the Cavaliers brought home the championship. Last year they lost to the same team in game 6. Last year Cleveland was playing hurt. They were missing some key players from their team.

Without Kyrie Irving’s scoring and ball control ability, Cleveland probably would not have won the championship. Without Kevin Love’s defense, Cleveland would probably not have won the championship. Without Tristan Thomas’ relentless pursuit of the rebound, Cleveland probably would not have won the championship.

Was Lebron important? Invaluable even? Absolutely! But it takes a team.

From coaches to project managers to management teams and investors . . . For a church plant to be successful, it takes a team. From your spouse to your worship leader to children’s workers and greeters . . . For a church plant to be successful, it takes a team.

Are you as the lead church planter important? Invaluable even? Absolutely! But it takes a team.

*People notice generosity.

Lebron is a “hometown hero.” But not just for basketball. Lebron has been incredibly generous by investing in his hometown of Akron, Ohio. The Lebron James foundation mission: is to positively affect the lives of children and young adults through education and co-curricular educational initiatives. We believe that an education and living an active, healthy lifestyle is pivotal to the development of children and young adults.

Lebron is giving more than 41 million dollars to send underprivileged children from Akron to college. And people notice. Before each of the championship games the announcers talked not only about Lebron’s prowess on the court but also about his philanthropy off the court.

Church planters, we should be the most generous people in the communities in which we are planting our churches. Generous with our time. Generous with our finances. Generous with our love. People notice.

*Learn from your mistakes.

Screen Shot 2016-06-24 at 10.05.54 AM Lebron has spoken openly about his regrets for how he publicly announced his move from Cleveland to Miami 6 years ago. He apologized not so much for making the move to another team but rather for how he did it. Healing comes from owning our mistakes. Forgiveness comes from openly admitting when we mess up. Growth comes from learning and pressing on.

Church planters, we will make mistakes. We will mess up. We will inevitably make a decision that we will regret. It’s part of the growth process. The big questions are will we own our mistakes? Will we openly admit when we mess up? Will we grow and learn and press on?

And by the way, “Lebron, all is forgiven!”

*You are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses.

One of my favorite moments from the NBA finals series came in game six, which was played in Cleveland. Actually, it wasn’t even in the game.

Before game six began, the National Anthem was sung. But it wasn’t sung by a professional musician. It was sung by the fans. The Cleveland announcer invited everyone to stand and not listen to the singing of the National Anthem but to sing the National Anthem. Tens of thousands of people showed their solidarity as they lifted their voices together.

Church planters, you are not alone. Hebrews 12:1 says, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.” (NLT)

YOU are playing before a huge crowd—a huge crowd that is cheering you on!
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