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Eric Hoey, the Director for Evangelism and Church Growth for the Presbyterian Church (USA), recently wrote a blog post about a conference he attended for pastors of large churches. He notes the theme presented by a speaker and synthesized by him.
“Starting new churches is like having a baby, if you count the cost before it starts, it is dead in the water.”… I believe that birthing new things has a certain amount excitement, passion, and a simple trust that this is what God wants.
Really? I see the point, that sometimes we just have to stop the analysis and get on with the doing. The metaphor here is of someone who is getting ready to have a child. If we knew all the costs associated with having a child before we had one, would we indeed have children? He argues no. (As an aside, this is definitely a first-world perspective, where having children is generally considered a cost rather than a benefit. In the two-thirds world it is the opposite; children are seen as assets to the family.)
My question is however: should we ignore counting costs altogether before we start new ventures? Consider Luke 14:26-30:
Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not first sit down and estimate the cost, to see whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it will begin to ridicule him, saying, ‘This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.’
This is Jesus speaking. So do we count the costs of new ventures before we try them or not?