Conversations about church planting often begin with a simple question: “Where do we start?” For many years, it seemed that the majority of churches within North America had few kingdom instincts toward multiplication. Addition seemed to be the only language in which we had native fluency. But recently, many churches are re-embracing their missionary calling found in Scripture and are sensing a growing urgency from the Spirit to lead their churches in the self-sacrificial pursuit of church planting.
- Own Your Commission
- Take Spiritual Responsibility for Your Jerusalem
- Make and Multiply Kingdom Disciples
- Live off of Less
- Prime the Pump
- Send Co-Vocational Teams
- Add in order to Sustain Multiplication
- Continually Celebrate Kingdom Advance
Probably the earliest challenge for ‘would-be’ church planting churches is that of finding a capable leader that is called and pre-prepared for the task. In addition to the qualifications for a pastor that is outlined in Scripture, there are also particular qualities that are thought to be unique to church planting pioneers. Often these leaders, when successful, have an observable visionary capacity, an unrelenting tenacity, and an evangelistic zeal and fruitfulness. Such high-capacity leaders are not a dime a dozen in most churches, so the dream of multiplication is often abandoned for lack of leadership.
A Good Leader Is Hard to Find
But before you give up too quickly, there are two ways to produce a pipeline of new leaders. The first, and by far the most effective, requires a long-standing obedience in the same direction. You raise them up from within. Start with the existing youth group, or collegiate ministry, or with those who have recently come to faith in Jesus and set them on a course of personal development. Recent converts are often connected to vast pockets of lostness and are intrinsically motivated to share their newfound faith. A little nudge in the right direction can help them evangelize for the purpose of church planting. It’s clear, however, that this type of work is usually slower and the leaders from these arenas will not emerge fully formed overnight.
Another plan, an intermediate one, is likely necessary in order to avoid settling back into more comfortable missionless rhythms.
In order to establish the desired DNA early (which will become culturally significant for movement), it may be prudent to recruit from the outside and import a quality externally produced leader into your church’s ecosystem. While multiplying churches raise up leaders from within (by definition), in the earliest stages, it often requires importing a leader from the outside in order to prime the pump and get the whole church multiplication journey flowing outward.
Securing a planter early is vital because the longer a church goes without planting a new work, the more difficult multiplication will become. Though a young church may not feel ready to multiply, it’s important that they begin this journey within their first three years in order to establish this missionary DNA early in the life of the church. Importing a leader from the outside may be the best plan for a new church who has not had the gestation time to develop leaders from within.
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Source: Christianity Today