Paranoia and Planting Churches

Paranoia is a mental condition. It can be an aspect of chronic personality disorder, or of a condition like schizophrenia when a person loses touch with reality. When I told our church planting coach, a.k.a Daddy, that I wake up every morning with a knot in my stomach, paranoid because I imagined that God wasn’t going to show up today, or that we didn’t have any idea what we were doing, or that I left the door unlocked and we got robbed the night before, he said, “Good, I’d be worried about you if you weren’t paranoid.” As church planters we are like paranoid first-time parents of a new-born that confuses every cough as pneumonia, every red blotch on their skin as West Nile Virus, and every slight delay in development as a problem requiring a therapist. And this, Daddy says, is a good thing. Like new parents that feel totally inadequate when nobody is looking and will secretly question, at least once, why they thought this was a good idea, a certain humility that is more necessary than virtuous develops. Quickly, you realize you aren’t in control, that despite the stack of parenting books on your nightstand you really don’t know what you’re doing, and that God better be with us because otherwise we are in trouble.