3. Do I have practice leading ministry in significant ways?
Allen Hodges, a Vineyard church planter, told me, “No specific task in church planting is that hard. But put it all together and it’s the hardest thing I have ever done.” Because of this, it’s crucial we have practice leading ministry.
Have you led in a local church? Have you planned sermon series, visited sick people in the hospital, performed weddings and funerals, multiplied small groups, gone to elder meetings, led people into a relationship with Christ, written and managed a budget, and done other ministry tasks?
It was helpful for me to say “yes” to as many ministry opportunities as I could to prepare for leading a church. Are there opportunities around you right now you could take advantage of to get practice?
4. What do my mentors say about me planting a church?
This was a litmus test for me. I wanted to know if the people I looked up to thought I had what it took to lead a church. I had to solicit this advice without trying to steer my mentors toward responding in the way I wanted.
Do you have a mentor, someone you specifically reach out to who is farther along in this journey with Christ and ministry than you are? If not, find one as soon as possible!
Mentors became even more engaged during the process after I asked for their input.
5. When I look at the body of Christ, who would I like to learn from?
Our sending church, Canyon View Vineyard, did a wonderful job supporting us. Not only did they prepare us through training and financial giving, but they also kept us on their staff for 5 months without specific responsibilities so we could learn everything we needed to succeed.
During that time, we spent one week each at 5 different churches we wanted to learn from. This time was invaluable to us.
What churches do you know of that you would like your future church to be like? Make a list and call those pastors and ask if you could spend some time learning from them. Plan to visit their church service, attend a staff or elder meeting, and follow the pastor around for a few days.
6. Is my current senior pastor blessing this work?
Deuteronomy 31:7-8 says, “Then Moses summoned Joshua. He said to him with all Israel watching, “Be strong. Take courage. You will enter the land with this people, this land that God promised their ancestors that he’d give them. You will make them the proud possessors of it. God is striding ahead of you. He’s right there with you. He won’t let you down; he won’t leave you. Don’t be intimidated. Don’t worry.”
Something profound happens when we receive the blessing of our sending pastor and church. Their public stamp of approval was the final encouragement we needed.
Do you have a sending church? If you don’t, may I be as bold to say it’s time to find one? Delay your move and find a church to give you their authority and blessing. Don’t know where to go? Email us so we can get you connected to a local Vineyard church.
Everyone has what it takes to succeed as a child of God, but not everyone has what it takes to plant a church. You will know you should do it if God is calling you and if the natural facts match up.
Use a church planting assessment to help count the cost, look holistically at your life, and don’t be afraid of the practical stuff. May God bless you as you seek his will.