Interview with “Failed” Church Planter Jeremy Dowsett

at a crossroads behind the curtain ministry podcast noah filipiakThe church Jeremy Dowsett started 10 years ago closed its doors in 2015.  In this interview, Jeremy takes us behind the curtain of how he’s handled this emotionally and spiritually.  Every church planter who has gone through this experience is going to be unique and Jeremy is no exception.  The interview walks through the flaws in Evangelical Protestantism that Jeremy experienced and how that eventually led him to convert to Catholicism.  We also discuss the emotional weight of pastoring a church plant and what it’s been like to be away from that weight, as well as if it’s possible for a church planter to truly experience the freedom of the gospel of grace while in the midst of shouldering the load of church planting, or if the two are mutually exclusive.  Jeremy also wrote a blog post in 2014 that got so many hits it broke the Internet, making Noah jealous, which we also discuss.

Connect with Jeremy on Facebook and Twitter

Jeremy’s blog:

Jeremy’s blog post that broke the Internet, “What My Bike Taught Me About White Privilege”

Related blog post from Noah: “Problems with the Protestant Reformation”


Related Posts by Noah:

4 responses to Interview with “Failed” Church Planter Jeremy Dowsett

  1. Interesting conversation to be sure. I’m not at all surprised that pastors and church planters would feel the pressure to be a success in terms of stats- most of us do at our jobs. But when people and spirituality are involved, the pressure surely gets more intense- and more twisted. As someone who has always been more drawn to smaller churches, I’ve never necessarily thought of big numbers as the key sign of health. Yet, this conversation has been causing me to really think of what IS the sign of health- and is my idea something that lines up with the ways in which God calls on us to reach people around us? I’ve always thought of it in terms of generating a healthy enough number to support the work the church takes on financially and with their time. In other words, can those who decide to become the church sustain the work of the church? Are they following Christ in being committed to equipping the church and giving of themselves for the next circle of those to be reached? So the question now for me is whether it’s reasonable to expect that to happen in the same time frames it might have in the past if we’re reaching those with fewer resources to draw from? And it goes back to the larger question of whether it’s appropriate to overlay my values on top of a ministry I support. Not a simple question to answer. I could go on…but I’ll leave my comments here and simply say that it’s really got me thinking.

    • Thanks Deonne. I’m interviewing Shawn Lovejoy in late February for the podcast, author of “The Measure of our Success,” the book you gave me a couple years ago. We’ll be discussing some of the things you bring up, should be a helpful conversation.

  2. Wow, Jeremy sounded really down. It was painful to hear the pain in his voice. I don’t know if it was because you guys are friends and so the interview format seemed artificial and off-putting to Jeremy, but I also got the sense that he was struggling to answer your questions simply because he could not get comfortable with the formal nature of the interview, because he was so used to all of your informal interactions as friends (e.g., chatting while running together). In any event, I found myself thinking several times during the interview, “Just spit it out, man! Tell us what’s on your heart!” But that’s where the pain comes in–maybe he is still in too much pain from the church planting experience to go there.

    • Hi Jim, I’m not sure as I haven’t re-listened to the interview. I think Jeremy is at peace with things. I’m very glad he was willing to do the interview, though yes definitely a different sort of interaction that we are accustomed to!

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