Many pastors sense a call to get involved in church planting, but the next steps can often feel overwhelming. In this Seven Minute Seminary, Ed Stetzer offers a 5 step guide for those pastors called to plant churches. They include: pre-assessment, assessment, boot camp, coaching, reproduction plan.
As Christians with a Wesleyan heritage, we are not starting new faith communities and churches to compete with the Baptist, Assembly of God, or Latter Day Saints. Nor are we starting new churches to ensure the survival of a denomination. Rather, Wesleyans are starting new faith communities and new churches across the land because it is the Wesleyan thing to do.
The road to church planting is littered with pastors who burned out, committed moral failure, or simply walked away from the ministry. The good news is not all church planting ventures ends in disaster, failure, and frustration. Many church planters can and do thrive in various contexts.
Before I graduated from seminary, I knew I wanted to plant a church. I wasn’t just called to it. I wanted it. When they finally set me free to live my dream and ambition, I set off like a person on fire. After about a month, I discovered that in my quest to build something great, I’d left God to the side.
Every major figure in the Bible talked about the importance of Sabbath. Jesus himself was faithful to practice it. The Bible in both testaments claims it as the key to healthy living — spiritually, mentally and physically. And yet, ministry leaders seldom take it seriously and often dangerously neglect it in our own lives.
Interested in planting a church? Wrestle with these questions first: Why do I want to plant a church? What if I fail? Who is my team? What is the mission? Where will I plant? How will I measure?
Following Jesus’ model of mentoring indicated in John 6:5-6 and elsewhere, guide your core group and help them to figure out how we should do this or that. Focus both on visible leadership skills and internal spiritual growth, because it’s not enough to provide skill training and then say, “Go lead,” without also discipling peoples’ souls.
One of the first questions I am asked when people hear about my appointment to plant a church is “…isn’t there already a Methodist church in Sterlington?“ Yep. There is. “Then why start a new one?”
Money makes us nervous. Mention it in church and folks become quickly suspicious. Images of T.V. evangelists dance in their heads — white teeth and mascara-stained tears coercing us to send every extra penny to a P.O. box. As church planters, we need to find our own peace with the place of money in the Kingdom of God.
As best I can tell, nowhere in scripture are we told to plant churches. We are, however, clearly commissioned to make disciples. Church planting is the outflow of effective disciple making given the corporate nature of discipleship.