I was meeting with a potential church planter who was looking for wisdom for church planters from the years of my experience. I think these are valuable for all leaders, but especially my friends in ministry. Some of these were given to me by others. Others were learned firsthand by experience.
Wisdom for church planters:
1. Seek approval among the people to whom God sent you to minister.
All of us need assurance at times from other people what we are doing matters. Church planting is often unpopular among established churches. In a growing established church your critics will be those who resist change inside the building. Either way there will be critics.
This nugget of wisdom was spoken to me by a seasoned church planter. Most likely God didn’t call you so you could be popular – or even to simply satisfy people who already love their church the way it is. He sent you to reach hurting, broken people – to be His witness to a dark world.
My guess is those whom you are reaching are happy with your efforts.
2. Love God and you’ll love people wherever God sends you.
I just knew Cheryl and I were supposed to plant a church in New York City. It was something I wanted to do and even felt “led” to, at times. But still, there never seemed to be the peace or an opportunity to do so. While walking the streets of NYC one morning, I asked God to give me a clear heart for the people of New York if it was where He wanted us to be.
Then came one of the clearest words from God I’ve ever heard. If I truly love God, I will love the people and have a heart to make disciples among them, wherever I go. I felt released from the burden and freer to serve wherever God placed us next.
3. Don’t ignore churched people when planting a church.
When I was a new church planter, we ran from anyone who had any church affiliation. They weren’t our target. We didn’t want to offend other churches. In doing so, we robbed ourselves of potential leaders and kept some people from following the ministry God had laid on their heart.
The same is true in the established church. It can’t be all about the “new” people. You have to love the people who are already there. They are your best resource and partners to reach the lost and hurting.