I remember well the years of confusion about God’s call to plant a church. I had so many questions concerning the need for more churches, my personal calling and my personal motive for starting a new church in the first place. I also found myself thinking, “Am I crazy for wanting to follow such a risky path?”
People who have a calling to plant churches can be a different type. Through the years, I have met people who seemed like they were created specifically for the purpose of planting a church and had never considered becoming a church planter. I have also met others who were successful church planters and on the surface were the total opposite of what we often look for in new planters.
Who and what makes a successful church planter certainly isn’t an exact science, which is why a solid assessment process is so important. Most teaching on planting focuses on developing strategies in order to plant successful churches, but successful gospel-driven church plants actually end up developing the planter. Instead of a process-driven, “church planting for dummies” way of thinking, we should think “helping average people become gospel-driven leaders.” The following are some of the characteristics and competencies that Church Planting N.C. (CPNC) hopes to develop in future church planters by training, coaching and preparing.
Calling and character
Most successful church planters have a distinct calling to a particular people and a place. I have met planters who felt a call to planting prior to being called to a place. In fact, I was one of those people. I sensed a calling to plant before God confirmed my planting location. Calling is not just about location, it’s also about the people a planter has been tasked to reach.
One of the major areas we consider when assessing potential planters is their personal character, including their personality, passion, perseverance and their personal ethics. It’s absolutely possible for a potential planter to have an incredible ability to gather large groups of people but not be emotionally ready to lead and shepherd people effectively. Too many churches have been planted by a driven planter whose family wasn’t ready to plant. Our goal isn’t just to see more churches planted but to see healthy churches planted. Healthy church plants are led by healthy church planters who have healthy families. Pressing into calling and character at the beginning of the journey allows us to help them be prepared for what is to come in their ministry.
I suspect that if there had been a clear church planting exploration opportunity when I felt drawn towards this crazy idea, I may have planted years earlier than I did.
Church planting capacity
So many church planters sense a calling to plant and decide to go out, gather a group of people and immediately start a new church service somewhere. Anyone with the ability to influence people can draw people to attend an event. For this reason, measuring and developing church planting capacity is so important. Do they have a gospel-centered approach to planting? Are they evangelistic? Are they strong leaders? Do they have a pattern of being disciple-makers? Do they have a history of starting ministries (Bible studies, ministries, serving)? Do they have a God-inspired vision, and can they clearly communicate it to others? There is so much more to planting a church than starting a worship service. Our desire is to help develop healthy, vibrant, reproducing, gospel-driven churches.
Are you called to plant?
Is it possible that you are a potential church planter? Church Planting N.C. is excited to announce the addition of a half-day experience for potential planters titled, “Who Me…A Church Planter?” This experience, which will be in different areas of North Carolina in 2020, is designed to help you evaluate whether or not church planting is something God has for your future.
Conference attendees will work through several exercises that will bring them to a greater understanding of how God has designed them. This experience will also be an informative time of learning and fellowship with other potential planters who are curious, interested or simply want to know more.
The cost of registration for “Who Me…a Church Planter?” is $10 and includes lunch. Spouses are welcome to join at no additional cost — in fact, we encourage their participation.
Regardless of what attendees learn during the day, they are under no obligation to continue the journey toward being a church planter. Our commitment is simply to help potential planters discern God’s will for their lives and assist them in determining whether or not church planting could be in their future.
Hindsight is 20/20
“Who Me…a Church Planter?” is an onramp opportunity toward church planting. It’s an opportunity for someone exploring what’s next in God’s calling upon their life. My journey toward becoming a church planter took more than five years. It’s been said that hindsight is 20/20, but I suspect that if there had been a clear church planting exploration opportunity when I felt drawn toward this crazy idea, I may have planted years earlier than I did.
Is God calling you to plant? Whether or not church planting is the right step for you, Church Planting N.C. can help you explore the characteristics, giftings and callings that might help you determine next steps.
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