Me, A Church Planter?

A Journey into Self-Discovery
by David Jackson

Have you ever asked yourself that question? To be honest, the first time I was asked that question, I laughed. Me, a church planter? I couldn’t even conceive of the possibility! But the question continued to present itself, and over the course of time, God began to show me that, not only was it His plan for me to plant churches, but that He had remarkably prepared me for the journey.

Perhaps you’ve been asking yourself that same question. If so, the following observations may help you in evaluating your response.
A Calling. Church planters are sure of their calling. It is a calling from God that cannot be neglected or ignored. Usually, it’s very specific, to a place or a people group, or at least to the work of church planting (not just ministry, in general). This is critical, because there will be days when the only thing that may keep you “on the field” is the absolute assurance that God called you to this type of ministry.

Giftedness. Church planters show leadership gifts. Aubrey Malphurs, in his book Planting Growing Churches for the 21st Century, suggests that the gifts of leadership, faith, evangelism and preaching are the most necessary for a church planter (though not exclusive). If the planter is working cross-culturally, the gift of apostleship would be expected, as well. These gifts may be found, not just in a lone church planter, but (in a growing number of situations) within the makeup of a full church planting team, or core group of leaders, who surround the lead planter.

Passion. Church planters are passionate about church planting and about pre-Christian people. They are excited about the opportunity of creating new ways to reach new people. They perceive church planting as different from pastoring (and it really is!) and they recognize the need to share the Gospel with pre-Christian people on their own turf.

Ministry Preference. Church planters are catalytic, or entrepreneurial in nature. They tend to create things, including ministry opportunities, from scratch, or at least to adapt “seed ideas” from others and use them in ways that will bring about a new congregation. They do not have “manager mentality”, and usually are not highly motivated by maintenance or administrative details.

Behavioral Experience. Church planters have had experiences in all areas of their past which suggest that they are self-motivated. In addition, they are people of vision, and are able to cast that vision to others in ways that will enable them to grasp it. They also empower others to take ownership of the new church ministry. They feel comfortable around unchurched people. Perhaps most importantly, if the planter is married, both husband and wife are convinced of the fact that church planting is in God’s plans for their future and are supportive of one another.
There, you have it. I’ve mentioned nothing about education and very little about “church” experience, and that’s not by accident. While these things may be assets, experts have not found them necessary for the ministry of church planting...

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