Church Planting Myths
At the Summit, one of our plumblines is: Our success is measured by sending capacity as much as seating capacity. I’m not against counting numbers. I just want to make sure we’re counting the right numbers. So as excited as I get when our weekend attendance booms, I’m 10 times more excited when I think about the 238 people we’ve sent out to plant 23 churches in North America. Over the last year, those 23 church plants have seen an average attendance of 6,000 people, and have baptized 317 people.
We have a vision as a church to plant 1,000 churches in our generation, so I believe what we’ve seen so far is just the beginning of what God wants to do. This year we’re training planters who will head out to Asheville, Charlotte and Denver—three great cities in great need of the gospel. And here’s my question for you: Could God be leading you to join one of these church plants? Could you be #239?
I don’t claim to have the spiritual gift of mind-reading, but I can take a good guess at your answer: “No thanks, not for me.” I’ve heard my fair share of excuses for why people don’t think they would fit on a church planting team. And they’re almost always based on a misconception about church planting. So let’s debunk a few myths together, shall we?
Myth: I’m not spiritual enough. I’m under-qualified to join a church plant. I skipped my quiet time this morning, I don’t have very much of the Bible memorized, and I’d rather watch college football than listen to old J.D. Greear sermons.
Truth: You’ll fit right in. Church plants are made of work-in-progress people, not perfect people. As much as I love the 238 people who we’ve sent out, not one of them comes close to having it all together. Like you and me, they are people striving together to be more like Jesus. In fact, if you thought you were spiritual enough to be on a church planting team, I’d have some reservations. (And, by the way, when it comes to my old sermons, I don’t blame you a bit.)
Myth: Church planting is only for young people. I’m all for church planting, but that’s a young person’s game! I’ve got a family, a career and a mortgage. I can’t just move my life to help plant a church. That’s for college grads and young professionals.
Truth: You have a crucial role to play. In John 14:12, Jesus made the astounding claim that the Spirit of God would not reside only, or even primarily, on a handful of leaders. Instead, the Spirit would reside in every believer. So if you’re a recent college grad or a young professional, we absolutely want you on our teams. But if that’s all we’re churning out, we’re going to have problems. If you’re an older adult, your life experience, wisdom and career stage aren’t hindrances; they are essential to the health of a church plant. Younger believers can benefit from the wisdom you’ve acquired—even if it’s simply by sharing lessons learned from your mistakes—and you’ll grow by being around the passion and energy of young people.
Myth: I’ll be lonely. All of my relationships are here in Raleigh-Durham. I could never move to a strange city where I don’t know anyone. I’d be lonely forever.
Truth: You’ll be part of a tight-knit community. When a couple dozen people unite around a common vision and a common mission, the potential for deep community is immense. Moving to a new city certainly isn’t easy, and it probably means some painful goodbyes. But if you knew the relational depth that awaited you, you’d hardly consider it a sacrifice.
This article originally appeared here.