I remember the time when my first friend to start a family let me hold his newborn baby. It was, in three words, pretty darn scary. Yes, I was excited for my friend and his wife. Yes, there was the fun bit of looking at the baby’s face to see which bits of each parent’s genetic code had reproduced in its features (looking particularly for signs of my friend’s disproportionately large nose). And yes, there were the moments of wonder that come from knowing the little person in your arms didn’t ‘exist’ nine (and a bit) months ago. The creation of a human life is an awe-inspiring thing. But there he was, a tiny living, breathing being, full of potential, that if I dropped, fumbled or fell over with (I have a reputation for being clumsy), could prove detrimental to his future development and happiness (I am also the type to slightly exaggerate fears and dangers in my mind. This is not always a great trait for church planters but it does mean I take all the necessary risk assessments and insurance policies seriously…) This is how I felt planting a church congregation. One of the key reasons was because I was planting out of a friend’s church. It was his ‘baby’. One that over several years he had put his heart and soul into preparing for. One that he had made tremendous personal sacrifices to instigate. And this was the first plant that he had done that would separate people on Sunday mornings. And he had told his council my salary was a great way to spend thousands of pounds from the church’s budget. And at this stage people there didn’t really know me too well because until then I had been pastoring in Europe. What if people don’t accept my leadership? What happens if my stories as an Ex-pat aren’t funny or interesting to them? What happens if numbers halve in the first few weeks and people as to rejoin the sending congregation? What happens if… (the list in my mind went on). So how did I counsel myself? For all my faults, I do carry a deep conviction that God has a plan that He will bring to completion (I find Open Theism a nonsense). And I believe that God is big enough to cope with my mistakes and accomplish His plan despite them. So every day, I simply trust that God will work things out. I work hard. I listen to the leading of the Holy Spirit. I keep myself accountable. And I give myself wholly to this ecclesiastical infant. But I cannot lead properly if I am always worrying about every ‘what if’. I have met many insecure leaders. Their insecurities tend to cause them to act in such a way that produces the types of problems that will only add to their sense of insecurity. A vicious circle. So I have to ‘let go’ of doubts and fears as much as possible and believe God will work it out. As Bono once said, “I used to find it alarming that so many prominent people in the Bible were flawed. But now I find it a source of comfort.” Dave Akerman Life Church Warrington