His office is his dining room table. His pulpit is a music stand. His breakfast on Sunday is adrenaline & coffee (& maybe Red Bull). On Sunday, he’s often a Pastor / Worship Leader / Sound Guy / Church Secretary / Church Administrator / Children’s Minister / Janitor. He can type the bulletin, enter the power point presentation, run the sound board, make copies, make coffee, change diapers, repair sound equipment, setup the chairs, preach the sermon. He uploads the sermon to iTunes & then to Facebook WHILE greeting every guest, thanking every volunteer, cleaning up a few spills, downing another Red Bull. First one there, last one to leave. Grateful for my church planting brothers this morning.
(adapted from personal experience & from the experiences of those I know on the front lines of planting new churches in North America).
Yesterday I shared five observations that are likely true of someone who’s a fit for church planting. Here’s five more simple observations that say, “You might be a church planter.”
6. You get a kick out of calluses on your hands. Church planting is hard work. Gathering & motivating people can seem like pushing a rock up hill. Setting up church in non-traditional locations is not easy. If you are afraid of physical & emotional calluses & soreness then run the other way. Some go into church planting to avoid what they perceive as hard things in church leadership, but you’ll find many of the same things plus some in church planting. Make sure its a calling.
7. You’ve shared the gospel more times than you can remember. Sharing the gospel must be a natural part of the church planters life & vocabulary. A church is a church because of the Gospel & the Gospel must be shared. The church planter must lead the way.
8. Friends call you with spiritual questions. Leadership is innate & merely recognized by others. Do people see in you something that they want & need? Do people seek you out when there are questions about life & God? As a church planter you’ll probably be without title, position, & respect. Your character & ability to earn the respect of people because of leadership ability will be important.
9. You usually travel with a group. You are more comfortable in a group & with a team, a posse. You will not be able to do this alone. Church planters must love people & believe that everyone is better off sticking together. Lone Ranger Church Planter is an oxymoron.
10. You daydream about solving big problems in the world. North Korea, the crime ridden multi-housing complex down the street, the high school dropout problem, etc. These issues may cause you to stare off into the future & make list in your mind about how you would go about reaching people & changing the places with the greatest problems.
If this list still doesn’t talk you out of it, find out a little more about next steps here. And feel free to hit me up (firstname.lastname@example.org). I’d love to help you get started on the church planting journey.
Church planters are seen as a rare breed in the body of Christ, but I don’t think they’re as rare as we think. God calls & empowers people for this important role. Many times they’re just not discovered or mobilized because we’re not looking to discover or mobilize them. Knowing church planters & being one, here’s an observational list that you may find true of yourself if you’re thinking you may be a fit for church planting. Not saying all of these have to be true, but they may be true.
1. You made a lot of visits to the ER growing up. Church planters are risk takers at heart & this probably started early. The desire to jump off of, over, or go through any obstacle to the detriment of personal health is often a characteristic of pioneering church planters.
2. You can’t concentrate in church because of the kids you saw playing in the street on the way. You’re heart will be with those who are NOT in church on Sunday’s. At times it may consume you to the point that you seem at odds with church leaders. God may put that discontent there if he’s leading you to those outside the camp. (See my post on Sending the apostles).
3. You think Chic-Fil-A would be a good place for a church. If you find yourselves in different environments & believe that spiritual life could happen there you might be a church planter. The imagination of the church planter is usually full of ideas about creating environments to share the gospel. The new churches I have been involved in have met in apartment complex offices, a fire station, a former bar, a local gym, & a museum. Doesn’t make sense? Made perfect sense to me! And worshipping in Chic-Fil-A on Sunday is a dream of mine!
4. You hang out with the wrong kind of people for the right kind of reasons. In college, I didn’t play intramural ball with my collegiate ministries intramural teams. I had a desire to use the skills I had to build relationships with non-Christians. The church planter will often be energized more by these relationships than relationships in Sunday School. But get ready…
5. Your Christian friends think your weird for that. You may even be labeled by religious friends for hanging around sinners & disreputable characters. But seems like I saw someone in the Bible that had the same thing happen. Mark 2:13-17.
Five more later this week… If you’re seeing these patterns in your life. Contact me (email@example.com) about how to get started on the Church Planting journey.