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5 Questions Potential Planters Need to Ask

I frequently tell young men church planting is the scariest, riskiest, most challenging, yet rewarding thing you could ever do with your life. There’s never been a greater time in the history of our nation to see a new movement of church planting. The U.S. Census Bureau is projecting a net gain of 30 million new people in the U.S. by 2020.  

With 3,500 churches closing their doors each year and only 4,000 churches starting annually, there is still a huge gap to meet the evangelistic need in our country. But while the need is great, the church-planting pathway is not for everyone. So what questions should a young church planter candidate ask to process this potential call?

1. Am I experiencing a strong internal draw to plant a new church?  

No one should plant a church simply because they have a good opportunity or a good idea. Church planting is always a God-anointed calling. Make sure it’s not just an infatuation with church planting but an authentic call to church planting.

2. Am I driven to reach the lost of my community with the Gospel of Jesus Christ?  

Another way to ask it is: Am I currently active in sharing my faith with the lost of my community? Don’t wait until you are a church planter to become evangelistic. Remember you don’t have to plant a church to live out your calling to reach the lost.

3. Are mature believers and significant leaders around me confirming my calling to plant a church?  

In my experience, God brings others into the life of the potential planter to confirm his calling. In an almost mysterious way, others will begin to speak into your calling to plant. But if it’s just your momma telling you you’d be a great church planter, then I would advise you to slow down.  

When spiritually mature believers and leaders who have observed your gifts in action speak words of affirmation regarding planting a new church, then you need to pay close attention.

4. Do I have well rounded leadership experience that has naturally prepared me for the next step of leading at a senior level in a church?  

Very often, young men want to skip next step levels of the leadership pipeline to quickly get to the top. In doing so they miss key developmental opportunities to grow their leadership. There is a logical, sequential process to developing as a leader; don’t get in a rush and skip levels.

You have to learn to lead yourself before you lead others. You have to lead others before you can effectively lead leaders. You must gain experience in leading leaders before you venture out to lead an entire organization.

5. Is there a church that is willing to stand behind me and beside me through my church planting journey?  

Ultimately, healthy churches are not produced by individuals but reproduced by churches. Many church planters have ventured out as orphans and fallen into the throes of loneliness, isolation and lack of support. Having a good church and a good leader behind you makes all the difference in the world. Make sure you have the backing of a good healthy church. 

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Mac Lake is the Development Pastor at Seacoast Church, a multi-site church with 13 campuses, where he oversees leadership development, small groups, missions, communications, and internships. He is a popular church leadership conference speaker and the author of the training resource Growing Small Group Leaders. Learn more from Mac at MacLakeOnline.com.