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The Single Biggest Mistake Church Planters Make

The single greatest mistake that you can make when you plant a church …

Plant with an equal partner.

Seriously? The single greatest mistake? Isn’t that a bit dramatic? What about all of the other fatal mistakes that a church planter can make?

In the 12 years that I have been involved in church planting, I have seen more church plants go sideways because of a failed partnership than any other reason. I have personally been called in more than a dozen times to help mediate between two men who planted a church together, but ended up secretly praying for the other’s demise.

Why not plant with an equal partner? Why does it not work?

Here are two reasons:

1.  Get ready for the split

Church Planting partners almost always start out in love with each other. Each appreciates the gifts of the other, and each is excited to have another person alongside them. The two are drawn together by a common church planting vision.

But most of the time, men who plant a church together only have a few years of relationship. When the pressure cranks up in the first three years of a church plant, the relational honeymoon period fades away.

A common reality in church planting is that two partners who were excited to plant together come to find out that they don’t work together so well. Idealism fades into reality and conflict arises.

When this happens, church planting partnerships often produce splits that wreak havoc on a young church. Many church plants don’t survive this trauma. People hurt through this split may walk away from the church permanently.

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Brian Howard has 22 years of proven leadership experience as a leadership coach, non profit executive, church planter, lead pastor, and business owner. Brian has successfully started two businesses and several non-profit corporations. Brian also planted a church that grew from one family to approximately 700 people.