Home Outreach Leaders Articles for Outreach & Missions 20 Characteristics of a Church Planter

20 Characteristics of a Church Planter

6. Do I love the local church as the expression of a Gospel community on mission? (Matthew 28:18-20)

Jesus loved the Church – enough to die for her (Eph. 5:25). A planter, therefore, is a Church lover. He may die for her, but if he doesn’t love her, he is nothing (1 Cor. 13). Josh Harris exhorts the pew sitters to stop dating the church. The pastor may need to stop having a junior high affair with the church and make a lifelong commitment.

7. Am I a missionary to the city? Am I sent for the advancement of the Gospel in the city? (John 20:21)

If you are a church planter, you have to be a missionary. Every pastor needs to see himself as a missionary for the glory of God and the good of the city. Don’t be someone who wants to start something because of self-centeredness and pride and a desire to be recognized. It’s not about the church planter or personal success. It’s about exalting the grace of Jesus.

8. Do I have a clear vision for this new work? (Nehemiah 1:3-4; 2:11-18)

Lacking a vision was the second most obvious void among aspiring church planters submitting to the Acts 29 assessment process. Nehemiah had to have a vision of a complete wall. Not take a survey. The city is in ruins; it’s time to build. You know you have a vision when people around you say, “Let’s do that.” People need to be following your compelling, life-transforming vision.

9. Am I willing to pour myself out in obedience to the vision?

A planter, if he is to follow Jesus, must manifest the death of Jesus. He must become less for Christ to become greater. A planter, like Jesus, is one who “aims low” in that sense. Philippians 2 is instructive in general of this pattern. We are to “Have this mind” -the mind of a Christ who emptied Himself out for the Gospel. He, being God, humbled Himself to the point of death – then He was exalted. Romans Chapter 6 describes the union with Christ in His death that precedes union with Christ in life.

10. Am I healthy?

Physically, emotionally, financially, spiritually, relationally, maritally-Most church planters get fatter, fussier, angrier, lonelier, poorer, and at odds more with their mate and their Lord during the first two years of a church plant. Don’t think that having a church baby will solve your deficiencies any more than a baby will solve the problems of a troubled marriage.

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scottthomas@churchleaders.com'
Used with permission from Scott Thomas, the director and Chairman of Acts 29 Network, a non-profit church planting organization of missional reformed churches.