15 Ways to Know If You’re a Church-Planter

You might be a church planter if …

My favorite comedian these days is Jeff Foxworthy. He’s famous for his long list of “You might be a redneck … ” jokes. (“If you’ve ever made change in the church offering plate, you might be a redneck.”)

Last week, I was training a group of church planters when the thought occurred to me, I’ll bet there’s a bunch of funny church planter lines like that. So I put together a list. It turns out, there’s not much humor in it. Church planting is the serious work of heaven. There’s plenty of laughter and joy in it, though.

So, with a nod to Mr. Foxworthy, here are 15 ways to know if you might be a church planter:

1. If you love dreaming about what could be for God, you might be a church planter.

2. If you can’t stand the thought of lost people going to Hell, you might be a church planter.

3. If you like lost people as much as or more than you like found people, you might be a church planter.

4. If you know the exact population of the city you live in, how many of them go to church and how many don’t, you might be a church planter.

5. If you love leading people to Christ, you might be a church planter.

6. If you like taking risks, you might be a church planter.

7. If you’re willing to ask others to pray for you and support your dream, you might be a church planter.

8. If you can persevere when all Hell breaks loose, you might be a church planter.

9. If you realize you started all sorts of new things when you were a kid, you might be a church planter.

10. If your wife is committed to risking and reaching out, you might be a church planter.

11. If you are regularly looking for people to help you fulfill the Great Commission, you might be a church planter.

12. If you’re a crowd-gatherer, with the gifts of leadership and evangelism, and are regularly looking for people to help you fulfill the Great Commission, you might be a church planter.

13. If you’re flexible and adaptable and are regularly looking for people to help you fulfill the Great Commission, you might be a church planter.

14. If you love learning about how churches grow and are regularly looking for people to help you fulfill the Great Commission, you might be a church planter.

15. If your friends think you might just have a little too much faith and are regularly looking for people to help you fulfill the Great Commission, you might be a church planter.

Years ago, church growth expert Carl George asked industrial psychologist Dr. Charles Ridley what could be done to improve the success rate of new church starts. Ridley studied church planters and concluded that the number one contributor to the success of a church plant was the lead church planter himself. After studying a large sampling of healthy church plants, Ridley developed a list of 13 traits that lead church planters possess. Here’s the list:

1. Visioning Capacity—being able to paint a picture of a preferable future.

2. Intrinsic Motivation—having an internal drive to make it happen.

3. Creating Ownership—able to help others feel responsible for the growth and success of the mission.

4. Relates to the Unchurched—loves and relates to people who aren’t part of a church.

5. Spousal Cooperation—possesses a partner who is equally committed to the task.

6. Effective Relationship Builder—makes others feel secure, comfortable and liked.

7. Committed to Church Growth—believes in and studies principles of what churches are doing that enables them to grow and reach the lost.

8. Responsive to Community—understands the culture of the community.

9. Utilizes the Giftedness of Others—understands and releases others to do ministry according to their spiritual gifts.

10. Flexible and Adaptable—able to overcome obstacles and adapt to changing conditions.

11. Builds Group Cohesiveness—able to develop and mobilize a healthy group.

12. Resilience—experiences setbacks without being defeated by them.

13. Exercises Faith—possesses conviction about God’s call to church planting.

I love training church planters. They’re a faith-filled, risk-taking bunch who want to change the world. If this list fits you, you might be on the verge of the adventure of your life!

Hal Seed
Hal is the Founding Pastor of New Song Community Church in Oceanside, CA. New Song has helped launch a church planting movement that has planted 163,000 churches in the past fifteen years. His latest book, The Bible Questions: Shedding Light on the World's Most Important Book, is designed to launch a Bible Reading Revolution in our churches and cities.