These past few months have been such exhilarating times for Tina and me. We’ve thoroughly enjoyed it.
Two of the biggest things happening to us are 1) We had our first child, David Jinhwan Hyun, and 2) We’re planting Hope Church NYC in Astoria, NY.
I thought I’d share some reflections on how both having a baby and planting a church are similar.
Our little boy is a joy. It's been helpful for us to approach things one day at a time.
1) My constant mantra is, “one day at a time” – On the surface, having a baby is an overwhelming task. So is planting a church.
I find that some of my worst moments come when I worry too far down the line, like trying to figure out where David’s going to go to high school, or what Hope‘s going to look like 25 years from now.
But both having a baby and planting a church are much more manageable when I remember that I can only be faithful to today, while still planning for the future.
As a result of reminding myself to take things “one day at a time”, life has become considerably more joyful.
I tend to err toward impatience too, and that’s not a good thing with newborns or church plants. There are so many times that I want our newborn to stop crying right now, or to have volunteer systems in place within our church plant by 3 pm today (and that’s for ministries that don’t even exist yet).
But the reality is, quieting a newborn and starting a church takes time.
Life takes time.
It’s much more manageable one day at a time.
Sidenote: This is not to say that vision casting and planning for the future is not helpful. Scripture talks about both – having an eye toward the future and still focusing on today. I tend to not focus on today, which is why “one day at a time” is helpful for me.
2) Life is not about me – This is something that I come back to regularly, but this has been a good season to remember that life is not about me.
Right now, the baby takes up a lot of our energies, and deservedly so. David’s a perpetual reminder that life is not about me.
With the church, I’m consciously aware that so much of what happens at Hope is God’s work. God forbid I take too much credit.
I need to reassure myself constantly that this is about primarily doing a work for God and others, not a work for myself.
3) It’s so good to have support – It’s hard for me to ask for help. Tina knows this. People close to me know this.
But I’ve been overwhelmed by the unsolicited support of family and friends while we’ve had a baby. People who have cooked meals, offered to babysit, written notes, given gifts, etc. Wow. We feel so loved and supported.
Many of these folks are part of Hope’s launch team.
Speaking of which, I LOVE our launch team at Hope. I’m so grateful for this group that God has brought together, and I’m well aware that planting a church is well beyond a one-person show.
We’re moving into a season when we’ll be asking for people to volunteer more heavily in different areas, and I’ve been blown away by the willingness of our folks.
A church is a group of people gathered and scattered, supporting one another and supporting a cause. It’s been really fun to experience this.
If you’re someone who needs help, please ask for it! For many people (like me), I realize we don’t feel supported because we don’t ask for it.
We're planting a church. Grace is a great approach.
4) The real work happens behind the scenes – Um, this might be news to some of you, but Tina’s carrying the heaviest burden with our son right now.
As much as I change diapers and cook (or heat up – hehe) food and pray lengthy prayers, Tina is feeding our son around the clock. And she also gave birth to him. Wow.
People congratulate me, but I’m quick to recognize that Tina is the real hero in all of this (shout-out to all you moms out there).
In terms of church planting too, I think what’s cool is that the growth of our community really depends on our community. Sure, I may be a point person or a face, but our church really depends on our people.
I’m lucky enough to be one of the leaders in this community.
5) Grace, Grace, Grace – I need more of it, and I need to give more of it.
Any significant event or task – including having a newborn and planting a church – induces stress.
The best thing I can do is pray, reflect on Scripture, share life with a community, and hear words of grace for myself and then in turn give grace to others.
Grace is a great antidote to anxiety/stress, I’ve found.