Many of you may not know but I have planted 2 churches in my life. I started one at age 28 in a warehouse in Gresham Oregon. After raising it up to be a self supporting church I moved on to Pioche Nevada where I took the reigns of a struggling church in a very small town. Later I started a church in Ely Nevada and grew that church to over 60 people in a town of 5000. I love church planters and have a real heart to see more people step out and start churches. Statistically it has been proven that new churches win more people to Jesus than established churches. There is a life in a new church that is contagious. So when I read this article at the Christian Post it caused me to want to share with you just a few nuggets out of the article about church planting.
What does a church planter look like?
In the article in the Christian post, the author Jeff Schapiro is himself a church planter. He does an interview with a guy who is a church planting guru called Charles Hill. In that interview Charles Hill describes what a church planter looks like.
“I believe in the power of the Holy Spirit to lead that process,” he told me Monday afternoon. “I guess if we look at it from a human side, the human vantage point is that I’m kind of wired to be…an entrepreneurial starter.”
An entrepreneur? Many Christians think of pastors as being people who study the Bible and pray a lot, but entrepreneurs? Hill isn’t the only one who thinks that characteristic is important in a church planter.
Schapiro goes on to quote Ryan Jones of the Liberty Church Planting Network which is affiliated with Liberty University and Jerry Falwell.
“They (church planter) [need to] have the vision for something, inspire other people to have that vision … [and] inspire everybody to take the jump to make it happen,”
Jones says the flock that follows a church planter is often “dirtier” than the one that follows an established church pastor, primarily because church plants target people who are un-churched and de-churched (those who were hurt by the church or decided in the past that it wasn’t for them), and the flock at an established church often consists of more mature Christians.
So what does the typical church planter look like? Jones says the average age for a church planter in his network is mid-to-late 30s. Many of them are seminarians (his network was founded by Jerry Falwell, the founder of Liberty University), although every planter is different in some way or another.
Church planting veteran Charles Hill says he meets a lot of church planters who are in their late 20s to early 30s, which he thinks is a good age to begin planting. He says church planters should be self-starters, have “tremendous” gifts of faith, the ability to communicate the truth of the Gospel and the ability to put teams together.
Church planting is possibly the most effective means of a method of evangelism in our churches and in our culture,” said Jones. “There’s nothing that reaches more people than new churches, because new churches have to reach people to survive.”
Here are some of my thoughts concerning what a church planter looks like.
- They must be willing. Church planting and starting a new church takes a person who is willing to be used no matter how small or how difficult the situation is.
- They must be the type of person who doesn’t take no for an answer. A church planter many times will face opposition from both denominational leaders and other pastors in the community that they want to start a church in.
- They must be innovative. If you think that your church plant is going to look like the latest and greatest mega church you will be sorely disappointed. You have to be able to be flexible and innovative on how you start your church. In my two church plants, the first one started in a warehouse and the second one started in a storefront.
- They better like sinners and wounded people. Church plants attract people who don’t know Jesus and those that have been hurt by the church. If you do not like dirty people or people with chips on their shoulders then don’t become a church planter.
I seriously would like to encourage anyone who reads this article. If you are semi mature in the Lord, and have a heart for people and seeing the kingdom of God expanded in our nation and the world, then go to the Lord and pray and say “Lord would you want to use me in a church plant?”