You go down to so-and so, and never show yourselves again until you have established a chapel. Hang on by your hands, and then by your teeth, and then by your eyebrows. I will find money to keep you in bread and cheese. You have to establish a self supporting cause, and do not come back till you have done it. - C.H. Spurgeon
1. The Church Planter’s call
Jeremiah 1:4-5, Now the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”
No one who is called to be a church planter chooses to be a church planter; rather he is “chosen” to be a church planter.
The church planter must be called by God in the manner that the apostle Paul was called by the Macedonians to “come over and help us”. Without the call of God, the planter will likely abandon the task when obstacles to church planting present themselves. In Philippi, Paul was arrested, beaten and imprisoned, yet never once wavered in assurance that despite the adversity, he was called to Philippi.
This call is not a call of convenience. The church planter must not involve himself in the task simply because there is no other ministry available. Likewise, simply not “fitting in” with other churches is not sufficient calling to plant a new church. Nothing short of a divine calling should cause one to commit himself to church planting.
2. Spousal Cooperation
1 Timothy 3:4-5 reminds us that leaders must manage their own households well.
The call on the church planter is a call on his family. There will be many days and weeks when nearly all of the family’s time, even resources, may be “poured out” as an offering for the planting of the new church. Without the firm commitment and support of his wife, the church planter will sacrifice either his church planting efforts or his family relationships. Neither of these is pleasing to God. Without spousal cooperation, the planter cannot be free to be obedient to the task. However, God will richly bless the family who follows Him in church planting. A Sovereign God will NOT sacrifice an obedient family to plant a new church.
3. Training and Mentoring
Paul reminds those he is teaching to “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.” In 1 Corinthians 11:1 we are clearly instructed to learn from those who walk closely with Christ and have gone before us.
The church planter should avail himself of every biblical church planting training opportunity. An eagerness to learn and a desire to commit to the learning process are valuable assets in the church planting.
The planter must have a humble and teachable spirit. It is important for the planter to seek out Godly counsel and direction from men of the Word. The New Testament model indicates that what we know we pass on to others who in turn teach others.
4. His Commitment
Luke 9:62 Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”
The church planter must stay with the task that God has laid before him. There will be times when all evidence may suggest “packing up your tent” and heading for home. If it was God who called, then it is God’s work and the planter must be willing to serve until God, not circumstances, indicate otherwise.
In Mark 2:1-12, the men who brought the paralytic to Jesus were not detoured from the circumstance of a crowded house. They did not turn back because the door was blocked. They persisted and brought him in through the roof, a most nontraditional method of entering a house. The scripture records “that on seeing their faith” Jesus said to the lame man “your sins are forgiven, take up you bed and walk.” These men were committed in their task, they were persistent, and were creative. These are traits that all church planters must cultivate in their lives.