Are You Crazy Enough to Plant a Church?

What if you don’t know you’re called?

How do you know if you might make a good church planter? There are great online tools to help determine your readiness to plant, and every church planting network and denomination has some form of formal assessment; if you feel called to plant that’s where you should start.

But what if you don’t know if you’re called? What if you just kind of wonder if planting a church (or helping plant a church) might be in your future? Here are eight traits based on eight biblical characters that might indicate you have the stuff to start a church from scratch.


You might be a church planter if …

You’re crazy like Noah.

Noah didn’t know how to build a boat, gather animals or run a floating zoo, but when God said build the Ark, Noah grabbed a hammer and a saw and went to work. His neighbors were right, Noah was a little nuts.

Church planters are a little nuts. They look at people far from God and see future church elders. They look at a run-down middle school and see a great place to have church. They look at a tatted up bar singer and see a potential worship leader.

Most of the successful church planters I know are a little crazy.

You’re arrogant like Nehemiah.

Nehemiah had the audacity to believe that a ragtag group of rejects could be turned into a top-notch building crew. He thought this newly assembled crew could rebuild a massive wall, that laid in ruins for 70 years, in a matter of weeks. And Nehemiah thought he was just the man to lead the project. Nehemiah was a little arrogant.

A church planter goes to a city where the vast majority of people don’t attend church, where dozens of churches with massive budgets and bloated staffs are slowly dying, a community where a dozen leaders before him have failed to build a sustainable church. He looks at the dismal statistics and says, “I can do this.”

Surviving as a church planter requires a little arrogance.

You’re determined like Caleb.

When Caleb is 80 years old, he goes to his long-time friend Joshua and says, “Listen, dude. I have done everything you’ve asked me to do. I have fought side-by-side with you to drive the heathens from the Promised Land for 40 years. I’ve put up with the yammering and complaining of the Israelites. I’ve eaten so much manna and quail I can’t face another chicken sandwich. Now, GIVE ME MY MOUNTAIN!”

Church planters struggle understanding the word “No.” When the school says “No” they hear, “Not today, come back tomorrow.” When their next door neighbor says, “NO” they hear, “Not yet.” When the high-capacity potential volunteer says “No” they hear, “I don’t quite understand the vision.”

Great church planters are determined not to fail.

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Geoff Surratt
Geoff Surratt, having served Saddleback Church as Pastor of Church Planting and Seacoast Church as Executive Pastor, is now the Director of Exponential. ( He also works with churches on strategy, structure and vision as a free agent church encourager and catalyst. He has over twenty-nine years of ministry experience in the local church and is the author of several books including The Multisite Church Revolution and 10 Stupid Things that Keep Churches from Growing.