They warned us it would happen. It was almost guaranteed.
In our birthing classes, those of us who were active as ‘support people’ were given instruction on how to help an in-labor mom move beyond that point in the labor/delivery of a baby when she wants to quit. The gist was that it gets too hard, too exhausting, too much for mom to keep going and she will become convinced that the birth can progress no further.
I know my wife wanted to quit at points, but the funny thing about delivering a baby is it’s kind of hard to stop part way… I can’t blame her for wanting to stop; while I don’t have first-hand experience, giving birth sure looked like a lot of work (something about why it’s called ‘labor’). After about three and a half hours of pushing (and many more hours of hard labor) in the process with our daughter, my wife felt like she couldn’t do it any more. But she had to. At that time she needed someone, a ‘support person,’ to help assure her she could do it.
That was my whole job in the process of labor and delivery: being a ‘support’ person. I existed to support and encourage–fail in those things and I had no reason to be there. Sarah was doing the hard work of labor. The nurse was doing all the medical stuff. The doctor showed up every now and again to sound all doctor-y. And I supported.
There are times during the church planting process (and ministry and life in general) when you will want to quit…
when everything tells you it’s too hard, too exhausting, too much to keep going. In those moments you need someone in your corner with a different perspective; someone not overwhelmed with pain and exhaustion, someone who isn’t there in a technical capacity, someone who isn’t a pro, but someone who can remind you that you were made for this and that the place you’re in where you feel the need to quit is a natural place to be–they’ll tell you to keep pressing on and the One who called you to this has prepared you for this and will be faithful.