2. Be Sent by a Healthy Church
Healthy churches are planted by healthy churches. In fact, I believe churches, not organizations or denominations, should plant churches. The only reason denominations and organizations plant churches is because the local church has failed to multiply and reproduce itself. Less than 4% of churches are intentionally planting churches or have a strategy to do so.
Being “sent out” by a church is a must. I often meet church planters that aren’t being sent out or supported by any local church at all. 99.9% of the time, it’s either because the church planter has issues with spiritual authority or lacks the skills and calling to plant a church. The greatest litmus test one can use to assess the health of a church planter is to ask, “Who is sending you?” If they say nobody, then immediately raise a red flag.
If you’re planting a church and don’t have a sending church, then find one. If you can’t, then you must begin asking some serious questions about what you’re getting yourself into, or more importantly, why you’re getting into it.
3. Be Obsessed With the Kingdom, Not the Church
Recently, we helped plant three churches in Long Beach, California. Two of these churches had more than 650 people (more than 1,300 total) participate in their launch. Depending on how you look at it, that’s either a church planter’s dream or a church planter’s nightmare.
It was fun to celebrate with the church planters. I encouraged them to be careful in not allowing themselves or their leaders to become obsessed with the church, but to rather be obsessed with the Kingdom. I truly believe that one of the greatest failures of the Church in the west is that, as leaders, we have become obsessed with church. When we do this, we lose our focus and become slaves to the needs of the church instead of the Kingdom.
A Kingdom framework looks much different than a church framework. Don’t let the church you plant become your obsession. If you do, you’ll pay a big price for it, and your church will fail to become a Genesis 1:28 church.
4. Be Surrounded by Great People
It was so much fun to see who showed up to support each of the three church plants in Long Beach. There were local pastors, coaches, mentors and other church planters. There were also people of local influence (the mayor, business leaders, educators, etc.). It was a reminder of how important it is to be surrounded by great people.
If you’re currently planting a church, I encourage you to take inventory of the people that surround you. If you lack the people you need to be successful as a planter, then find them and ask them to join in.
Here are seven individuals every church planter should be surrounded by:
- A church planting coach.
- An intercessory prayer champion.
- A lead pastor from a local church.
- A successful entrepreneur or business leader.
- A friend or mentor with whom you have complete safety and anonymity.
- Lost people — vision begins with a lost world.
- People who are good for your marriage and your spouse.