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Church planting is similar to running a marathon.

The marathon comes from the legend of Pheidippides, a Greek messenger who was sent from the Battle of Marathon to Athens—26 miles away—to inform the Greeks that the Persians had been defeated. Legend has it that Pheidippides ran the entire 26 miles without stopping, and upon delivering his message, he collapsed and died.

Although there’s debate about the historicity of this occurring, the concept and practice of marathon is real. For instance, according to the 2014 Annual Marathon Report (yes, it’s a real report), 541,000 people were classified as “finishers.” In other words, 541,000 people who started a marathon actually completed it. Here’s a really simple principle when it comes to completing a marathon: anyone wishing to start and finish a marathon must have what it takes to stay the course.

Church planting is similar to running a marathon.

There is much practice and preparation done before the big launch day. For church planters, they cover a lot of groundwork prior to launching—building relationships, sharing the gospel, connecting with community leaders, creating communication pieces, and attempting to engrain themselves in the daily rhythms of the community.

All of their preparation helps prepare them for what is, for many, the official launching of their church.

Eventually, for those following the more typical model today, the big launch day comes. And with launch day comes a lot of potential distractions that can take your eyes off some key issues. Many planters find themselves swept up in the current created after launch day. They have to plan this service, order that, pay for this, meet with that person, counsel this couple, meet with those volunteers, fill out denominational/network …

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