As a result of planting two churches, I’ve spoken with dozens of people wrestling with a call to be a church planter. They want to discuss the biggest challenges they will face in planting. The challenges of a church planter are the same almost every time.
These are usually transferable to all church pastorates, but especially for a church planter.
Church Planter Challenge #1 – Finances
I am often asked if our established church will be a “strategic partner” with a church planter. Of course, I get it. I really do. Church planting takes money. It is great if a “mother” church can support your budget or you get numerous churches to contribute. Don’t turn down cash. You’ll need it. Lots of it.
Yet, I always offer a reality check here. The money will always be tight. There will never seem to be enough. It’s in very rare circumstances this is not true.
My word of “encouragement” is to strive to rely less on outside help and more on those God has called you to minister with in the church plant.
This won’t always be possible, but both times we planted we challenged the people building the ministry to fund the ministry. And it is a challenge. It means you’ll often be discipling people to give who aren’t accustomed to giving.
You’ll need disciplined and fully invested people. If they have their money on the line they’ll do almost anything to make the plant work. As much as possible, build your ministry around the people in the room. Their generosity will often determine your ability to grow a healthy church. Plus, it’s good discipleship to build into the church’s DNA.
I know. That’s a hard word. Yet, look at it this way, the time you spend jumping through hoops for a few dollars from a denomination that often come with multiple strings attached, you can spend building maturity in your people who will support you financially.
Church Planter Challenge #2 – Marriage
Men and women often react differently to the stress of planting. I’ve found it can be an excellent balance if the two are in sync with each other and communicating well. You should both be equally called, but your initial enthusiasm may not be the same.
One thing I’ve noticed is that the spouse’s emotions may respond differently. For example, I’ve found Cheryl to be slower to acclimate emotionally to the new place of service. She can know it is where we are supposed to be. Her faith is often even stronger than mine. Yet, her heart is more likely to be tender longer towards the place we left. I have to be careful not to assume she’s as excited everyday as I am.