I believe that everyone can and should get involved with planting new churches. Maybe you’re feeling called to be a part of a church plant, but don’t know where to start. Perhaps your asking yourself the question, “How can I be involved in church planting?” or “Am I called to Plant a church?” I would like to offer several words of encouragement for those who may be wrestling with answering the call to plant a church. There are three ways that everyone can get involved in church planting.
Everyone can and should pray for church planting. Even if you are not called to plant a church you can pray for the work of church planting. Jesus said, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field” (Matthew 9:37-38).
We can pray specifically for cities, communities, and countries that need church planting the most. We especially need to pray for countries with lesser reached people groups and nations that are closed to the gospel. Are there areas in your city or community that need a church? Pray for the Lord to send someone to plant a church wherever the needs are greatest.
Pray specifically for church planters and their families. Planting a church is hard work and can be a very lonely business. Nearly 80% of church plants fail within their first year. One of the primary reasons for failure is not a lack of finances but a lack of support. Church planters often experience culture shock, spiritual warfare, and spiritual fatigue. It is hard for a church planter and his family to adjust to new culture. When planting a new church, there is also a lack of fellowship and accountability.
You can pray for church planters and encourage them to fight the good fight of faith. These planters have sacrificed everything to plant a new church including finances, job security, and friends and family. They need all the prayers and encouragement they can get.
Another way to get involved with church planting is by partnering with a church plant in your area. One of the greatest needs for church planting is gathering a team and getting lay involvement. You can serve on a team or offer assistance to a church plant in a number of ways. Do you have gifts of administration, music, technology, or hospitality? Use your gifts and talents by helping be a part of a church plant in your community or city.
An existing church can collaborate with a new church plant by becoming a mother church that sends out a church planting team to help begin the new work. Christians and churches in a region or community can partner together to plant new churches in their area. You can also help financially support a church planter or plant.
Helping out in a church plant is also a wonderful way to discern if God is possibly calling you to plant. There are many different ways that you can partner with church planting.
Another way to get involved with church planting is by actually planting a church. Is God calling you to be a church planter? This is a hard question that only you can answer for yourself. If you sense God is calling you to plant a church I would like to offer a few words of encouragement.
First, be faithful where you are before you step out to plant church. I have learned over the years that faithfulness results in fruitfulness. When we are faithful over the small things God will entrust us with greater things. Serve somewhere and someone else before you try to go out on your own to plant a church.
Make the most of every opportunity that God gives you. You never know where a ministry connection will come from or when you will learn something that you can use later. As a new church planter you will have to do things that might seem insignificant like washing dishes, cleaning bathrooms, or set up chairs.
Second, find a coach and a mentor who can help you discern your calling to church planting. Everybody needs a coach, mentor, and a “Gandalf.” There are a lot of seasoned church planters who would love to share their ministry experiences with a church planter who is beginning their ministry journey. Find a church planting network or community that can help encourage and coach you in the process.
One of the greatest benefits of being a part of a network is coaching and mentoring. Be willing to communicate your desire to be coached by an experienced church planter. You’d be surprised how many leaders would love to mentor and coach a new church planter. I can think of many leaders who have taken the time to help instruct and direct me as I have sought direction for my life and ministry through church planting.
Third, don’t try to be something or someone that you are not. Some people think that they need to act, dress, or preach a certain way in order to make it in ministry. This has especially become a problem in parts of the world that have been influenced by Western Christian television. This is a false perception that leads many people down the wrong road. Nobody likes it when a person is trying to be somebody or something that they are not, especially God. The Lord wants to use your unique gifts, talents, and personality to minister to others. No two people are the same; therefore no two church plants are the same. There is a unique ministry that God has created just for you. Only when we are who God has created us to be can we truly make a difference for Him. I believe that when we are real others will perceive the genuineness of the call of God on our lives and doors of ministry will begin to open. So be yourself.
Lastly, there comes a time in every planter’s life where they have to step out in faith. We need to rise above our circumstances and realize that if God has called us to plant a church, then He will provide for us. Church planting is an apostolic venture of faith. Put your life in His hands and be willing to step out in faith to pursue the call of God on your life. Just like Abraham we need to step out in faith and go where He has called us to go. If God has really called you to plant a church He will make a way for you. You can’t escape the call of God. Hold on to the call of the Lord and know that He is with you and will never leave you or forsake you.
Remember to always be faithful no matter what your doing. Take advantage of every opportunity. Seek more experienced church planters who can help give you direction and guidance as you pursue the call of God. Consider the possibilities of seminary training and education. Always be real; never try to be somebody that you are not. Finally, dare to step out and let the Lord use you. There is a place for you among this exciting new world of church planting!