The Two Most Critical Attributes of a Church Planter

Aside from calling and spiritual considerations, what are the most critical attributes of a church planter?

According to Nelson Searcy, the two most critical determinations the Journey Church makes when deciding whether or not to support a church planter is the planter’s ability to 1. raise funds and 2. to recruit a worship leader.

What are the skill sets associated with these two tasks?  Why would they be critical to the success of a church plant?  Agree with Nelson?  Disagree?


37 Responses

  1. I’d like to know more about what Nelson thinks about these areas.. I read the links you’ve provided…

    For instance, I have already recruited a worship leader who lives in the area, has a job, etc… But I’ve also known the guy since I was 4 years old… The recruitment end was easy because we’ve been talking about a church plant for over a year… I asked him to lead worship about 2 months ago.. While I feel like I’ve overcome that hurdle, I don’t feel like I used a major skill set…

    As for money, I won’t start raising funds until I’m done with school.. But I have a plan that I think/hope/feel will work. Part of my grad program was a grantwriting and fundraising course that opened my eyes to some great methods.. I just need to put them in practice..

  2. First of all, never let it be said that I disagree on here only for the sake of disagreeing. That is not me, and not my intention…, don’t want everyone to think that is my goal, :-).

    Now, I’ve always believed that the best way to learn about being successful at something is by watching and analysing someone who is truly successful at that same thing. Though I’ve seen many people be successful at starting churches, and having numbers grow, I also see many of them creating Faulty Conversions, luke warm churches, powerless Christians, and in the end Religious Social Clubs.

    To me a successful church planter is someone who has the ability to really organize a local fellowship of Followers of Christ, who are truly New Creations, and he has the ability to equip them in their pursuit of Christ so that they are able to go out and disciple. And these are genuine conversions.

    The most successful church planter that did that was Brother Paul. And I don’t see anything about his ability to raise funds or who is Worship Pastor was.

    Though Paul was blessed with many abilities that we can see in the scriptures, Administration, Writing, Oration, Charm, Influence, Compassion, etc, etc…I see two attributes that he had that I think were the key to his being successful in planting churches.

    1. THE DEPTH OF HIS PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP WITH CHRIST – His experience with Jesus, was so life changing and real, His passion for souls and changed lives was infectious to everyone he met, and in every aspect of His life. It wasn’t just in staff meetings, during Revivals, or on Sundays…but also in his darkest hours, when in prison, when attendance was down, when his life was even in danger. That is a depth that few of us have unfortunately in our walk.

    2. HE GAVE UP HIS OWN LIFE – Long before Paul ever physically gave his life for Christ, he gave up His own dreams, own desires, own ambitions for the cause of winning souls to Christ. From all accounts, Saul began as a wealthy and powerful man….but gave up everything within himself so that he would be able to “know Him, and the power of his sufferings”. He went the path of singleness, for the sake of ministry, walked with a thorn in the flesh, to experience the grace and strength of Christ in weakness, gave up his own personal dreams and ambitions, to travel the globe and risk his life for the gospel, and even gave up his own identity so that he might be identifiable with those that he ministered to.

    So, those are the 2 top attributes of a successful church planter…….according to Brother Robbins :-).

  3. Todd….

    I would venture to say that the points you bring up aren’t and either/or thing, but a both/and situation…

    Great points… But at the same time, Paul also lived in a different culture… Music is more essential these days.

  4. LOL, the church is to define the culture, not the culture to define the church.

  5. by the by, one of the questions was, do you agree with Nelson that these are the two most critical, and I was saying no. That the other two are the most critical.

  6. Todd, I’m going to throw a wrench in this that I’ve not really seen much of…….

    The church should define the church and the culture should define the culture… Each will have an influence on the other..

    Whenever one segment of society attempts to define another, it says to that segment: “You’re wrong.”

    When we tell people they are wrong, we marginalize them and alienate ourselves… Let the culture live in the church and let the church live in the culture. Let the two be interconnected, not dependent upon nor independent from each other.

    Anyways……. We are hijaking this conversation… Can someone get us back on track?

  7. Todd,

    I anticipated a response like this. It’s a good, reasonable response. However, I qualified the question. That is why I said, “aside from calling and spiritual considerations.” I assume the church planter loves Jesus and is willing to put it all on the line.

    Pointing back to the original question, do you agree or disagree? If not these two, which are the most critical.

  8. First let me say I loved Nelson’s book Launch and was a great encouragement during the preview service for me. I enjoyed the stewardship seminar I went to and I have used some of his resources including the New Testament Challenge which we are in right now. Done brown nosing…

    At face value getting money and music are not the keys to being a successful church planter but being able to accomplish those things show a person’s ability in some key areas. The ability to raise money shows that a person is able to share their vision in a way that people will buy into it. I was once told if you can’t sell the vision that God gave you to your friends and family, you will never be able to sell it to a congregation. This is important. One lesson I am learning is if you are moving away to plant a church, raise the money before you go. Out of sight… out of mind.

    The ability to attract a significant partner in ministry such as a worship leader show the ability to vision cast and also shows some basic levels of leadership. The success or failures in these two areas represent a lot of current assessment tools used by many organizations. Having met Charles Ridley and learning about his assessment process I think there is some amazing validity in taking the time to do that sort of evaluation, especially if you are getting to invest in this planter. I don’t have to give you all of the scriptures related to being good stewards.

    So I don’t disagree with Todd and I can understand where Nelson is coming from because those are some proven tangibles. But, I think there are way more than two. I have found some much needed characteristics and so many new job descriptions since I started being a “pastor”. I wish that it was only two critical areas because then you could focus your efforts. So here are some additional thoughts in no particular order:

    * Great understanding of Biblical Priorities (your family better come before your church… trust me)
    * Skilled in Time management and organization
    * Basic understanding of business finance
    * Tenacious
    * Aggressive
    * Be willing to take advice
    * Understand marketing principles
    * Enjoy riding roller coasters (especially emotional ones)
    * Be able to handle criticism and rejection along with success and praise
    * Charm and good looks don’t hurt
    * Ability to remember names is helpful
    * Humble

    – Narcoleptic need not apply –

    So Travis, I know I am a long way from two and clearly some are much less critical than others, and I threw in a hint of sarcasm for fun, but even Ridley has 13 essential characteristics. That is a whole lot more than two. So cut us some slack on narrowing it down to two…

  9. I have recently started to attend lots different Churches and have found that I love to go to Churches that have children’s ministries. It for some unknown reason makes the church “feel” more lagitamite. I am not going to gas on about the family first ideas that is played out in every church how to book, but for me I like children’s ministries that I feel confortable leaving my son at. I went to a Church plant two weeks ago and liked the lady looking after my son, my wife and I then was able then to just enjoy the service. Music is important, but happy kids and partent seem important to me.

  10. Brother Johnson – Honestly, I don’t think you can separate any of the attributes needed for a church planter apart from their spiritual attributes. How can a man select a good Worship Leader/Minister of Music without spiritually discerning that person? How can he be a good steward of funds needed for the ministry if he isn’t sensitive to the Spirit in what will work best to raise the most capital?

    Calling and Spiritual attributes are not givens among Church Planters…from what I’ve seen. Many church planters just want to build something their way, cause they think everyone else has it wrong!

    And Brother Bowers….I will have to disagree. I believe we have been called to influence the society and culture around us. That we are called as SALT and LIGHT to push back the darkness.

    There is nothing wrong with telling people they are wrong…if someone hadn’t told me I was Lost, I never would have been found. The Gospel is an offense, scripture even says that Jesus is the rock of offense. I will never, ever believe that we need to “tip toe” around society so that we don’t offend their sinful nature. Mine still has to be offended consistently. There is a way to make people aware of their sin, lost condition, need for righteousness, and their bobsled ride they are on into hell, without condemning them. Since when did Jesus say we weren’t supposed to make people feel uncomfortable about their sinful condition? I thought it was a broken and contrite heart that was the sacrifice God wanted?

  11. I would have to say that putting together a team has to be a top priority.

    If you have a worship leader that is definitely a huge plus, and if you have financing you don’t have many of the hurdles in beginning with low or no tithe/offering base. However, if you can begin with a strong team concept using individuals with the callings and talents for their individual ministries, developing the team as the core, then you can work together toward the transitions and through the hurdles.

    This requires a huge amount of relational investment as the foundation for the plant (perhaps in a house church format) and may take longer than Searcy’s model, but (in my oppinion) makes for a much stronger launch.

  12. Todd,

    For years, ministers have been rude and offensive with the gospel… They have used the truth of the gospel as a means of purporting their own soapbox issues and prejudices.. That has to stop… It is statistically proven that there are less Christians in the world today than there were years ago… That doesn’t mean we have to water down the gospel to reach people, but it doesn’t mean we have to be offensive either….

    I agree that we must be salt and light to the world… But that doesn’t mean we can’t attract more flies with honey than vinegar either… We can’t go around ticking people off just because we have the right message. Speak the truth in love and people will hear the message.

    The problem with many preachers is the way they present the truth of the gospel, and then they place the blame for the offense in the lap of the sinner… It just doesn’t work that way…

  13. But we also have to be spiritually and intellectually honest with the fact….the Gospel is an offense. And of course there are statistically few Christians…’s the end times…we’re in the middle of a great falling away. This is a very narrow and straight gate that we are trying to go through.

    As I said, there is no place for rude behavior, or lack of compassion….but if you’re honest about sin, there will be many who will not like it….and remember, the whole issue is a sin issue.

  14. I would say these attributes refer to a US context.

    My own experience in planting churches is that the church planter needs stickability and the ability to lift the spirits of others.

    There are times in planting a church when things move slowly. Your people can easily get despondent so you have to pick them up offf the floor and you must exude so much vision and passion that they can’t help but get all excited again about the church plant.

  15. I think it all comes down to this: are you willing to be a missionary for Christ in this city or town? If you aren’t, none of this matters – what Bible translation you use, what music you have, and what programs that you have for the kids.

    But if you are willing, then it DOES matter – because you have to bring the message of the gospel into the context of their culture.

    Whatever you believe about the message changing the culture or the culture changing the message, you still have to realize that in order for people to hear the message it has to be given in the context of their culture – because that’s the ONLY context that they have.

    So – if you are willing to be that missionary for Christ – then it is very important that you find a worship leader with a style that fits the people – a Bible translation that works for them – etc. etc.

    Okay, okay – my little rant is over. Now – as far as the actual question goes, I tend to agree with Searcy. Being able to raise your own funds is very important, because you can’t always count on the denomination to pull you through – sometimes they will, but sometimes they won’t. If you’re able to do that well, you immediately take a huge burden off of yourself and the church. Finding the right worship leader for your church is important too, because music is such an important element of the church, especially here in America. In fact, I know quite a few people who would rather sit and listen to less-than-stellar preaching than less-than-stellar worship music.

    I would probably add adaptability to the list – because things hardly ever go as planned. Especially when starting something new.

    About four years ago, when I was in college, I was given the opportunity to start a Wesleyan-Pentecostal campus ministry (that we called “Upper Room Campus Fellowship”) – which is in some ways NOTHING like planting a church, and in other ways a lot like planting a church. I think that the biggest question we had to answer for people was: “Why is this worth coming to?” And the biggest hurdle that we had to cross was finding a consistent, good worship leader. Also, finding new and different ways to get the word out about our events (flyers aren’t really that useful to be honest) was key as well.

  16. Great discussion – i love the debate! Thanks for sharing my post and posting your comments!


  17. I think that if you are going to be successful at Nelson’s church plant strategy, then worship leader, finances, and maybe children’s ministry are the top three in no particular order. Is the ability to write a sermon and preach a spiritual consideration? That does not seem to be as important.

    I guess that as long as you have enough funds you can hire a creative team to write the sermons.

  18. Hit publish accidentally. I think the ability to gather a team to be the most important. You may not be able to launch big and fast without money, but if you have a couple dozen people who are committed to your vision, the weight of leading is a bunch lighter.

  19. Carl,

    A. Thanks for popping in here…you better hang around. We need all the South Florida guys we can get.

    B. If the comment about hiring people to write sermons was a shot at Nelson, that was uncalled for. He certainly doesn’t need my defense. But, in a few words, Nelson leads his people to accomplish more in a day than you and I are pulling off in a month. God has used him to build a great church in one of the most challenging environments in the US.

    C. Being able to gather a launch/core group that are givers is a huge part of the church planting puzzle. If you don’t or can’t do that, it’s doubtful that you’ll make it to the point you’ll be talking about survivability since you’ll never make it to startability.

  20. I know you probably get all kinds of folks on this board so you are used to people tossing bombs. That was not my intention. I was not referring to Nelson at all. I don’t know anything about his church, and I have never heard him speak. I have no problem with his strategies as far as I know them.

    My point was that for a couple centuries people have started churches without money and billions of people have come to Christ. Previously, the main ingredients were the ability to articulate the truths of Scripture and the ability to lead the people who have come to hear these truths.

    According to the “launch large” paradigm funding is critical. Hybels has recently commented that folks launch churches without evangelizing and need to get back to that. I was just wondering if folks could launch without the ability to craft a sermon. What most preachers and teachers consider the cornerstone of pulpit ministry. If I can’t write a decent sermon, could I just pay people to do that and it not be as important as a worship leader or location?

    Certainly a topic for another discussion and not germane to this thread.

    Completely agree with point C.

  21. Thanks, Carl.

    Funding is critical even when you aren’t following a launch model. If you plant in your home, you have to have a home. You have to have utilities. As you grow, you have to secure leased space, acquire PA systems, and get all of those great things that go along with public meetings. Ultimately, you are moving toward the same thing at a slower pace. There’s nothing superior/inferior about that model. It’s just a different model for different people and places.

    However, the most noticeable difference is that contributors in that model are exclusively people you are reaching. And, if you are focused on reaching the unchurched, they are likely not walking in and throwing open their wallets…again, same thing (you’re starting a new church). You’re just going about it differently.

    In a launch model, if you are unable to convince people to give money to fund the launch of a new church, it will absolutely negatively impact the launch. As a pastor who believes in church planting, I am going to look long and hard at a guy/gal asking me to support them if they are not getting significant support from other people, especially people close to them. It seems like that would communicate something about the viability of that new church.

  22. Hmmmm, interesting discussion Carl. First off, sidebar here, where I’m from in East TN, don’t ever tell a preacher he preached a good SERMON in a Pentecostal church….that’s actually a slam. Where I was raised in East TN, the Methodists and Presbyterians give sermons, and Pentecostals preach Messages, hehehehee, just thought I’d throw that in.

    I just don’t understand all this formulary approach to church planting. Yes, you have to be a good administrator, and yes you have to be a good steward, but I truly believe that when a man has a God given burden for an area, and God gives a man vision for a church plant, it doesn’t matter what his natural talents are.

    God will make up the difference. Actually, if I were looking to support a church planter, I’d prefer to back a man without the natural talents of being a fund raiser, or ability to draw the right team. I’m much more impressed with the Moses of the world, who stutter, don’t have the natural talent to lead, and in spite of that God puts them in a place to make a huge difference for the kingdom.

    Guys like me with all kinds of natural talents are way too likely to lean on those talents and abilities….but a man who knows he has nothing in himself to offer, will depend so much more on God….and I like supporting guys like that.

  23. Todd:

    It may be good for you to go back and reread the Moses chronicles with an open mind. He was much more adept at leadership than the credit you give him. In fact, most would say he was a natural — though unwilling — leader. Limited examples include: 1) He did lean on divine direction and was mostly obedient; 2) he surrounded himself with people of ability — including a worship leader (Miriam), as well as a person quite talented in raising funds (Aaron); 3) he understood group dynamics; 4) in spite of his stuttering, he was still a captivating and motivating speaker; and, 5) he withstood successfully several challenges to his leadership position.

    So, if I am reading you correctly, God (or Todd?) has greater success with people who have no natural abilities? Wow, that leaves out Jesus, Paul, David, Daniel, Abraham, and most of the other great leaders in the Bible.

    I’ve always found that ability is not the problem and neither does God have a problem with abilities, if they are used for his Kingdom.

    On a side note — and I don’t mean this to be offensive or argumentative, just trying to get a fix on your experience — how many churches have you planted? How many of those are still viable churches? What methods worked best for you?


  24. Nick brings up a good point related to context and I agree with his emphasis on do-or-die commitment and pouring visional energy into the start up.

    I would also add that there is a more universal paradigmic question being played out in the dialogue. The “launch large” model seems to follow an attractional paradigm focused on getting people into a building- this absolutely requires alot of resources at the beginning. In many contexts, this models yeilds much faster results- and a large, exciting church may then continue to “attract” people.

    What Nick and several others allude to, I believe- (correct me if I’m wrong Nick), is a pardigm which can be employed where resources are nil. Here, you basically start with a God-given vision in heart and the Gospel in hand. It takes longer to see fruit, because most of your growth is conversional. Since this paradigm is basically “go and preach,” I’d call it the Commissional model.

    Both models have validity and I would agree that many contexts in the US respond better to the attractional paradigm, though often the initial “growth” is transfer rather than evangelistic, as Carl alludes to. In contexts which demand “full service” church from the get-go, you better launch large, but resources and/or context may dictate just getting out there and preaching.

    What does the second “Commissional” model look like? I think this is a question that needs to be explored because those that employ it rarely write books while pastors of fast-growing megachurches almost always do.

    During my time in Bulgaria I traveled with an Apostolic church planter. He had “appointments” that I traveled with him to. He would enter a city or village that had no evangelical witness and simply go to the marketplace and/or public forum of that location and begin to engage people in conversation. In each conversation, he would share his testimony and the Gospel. As he consistently kept his “appointment” in the city, people would accept Christ. When they did, he would change the appointment location to THEIR house for discipleship. Subsequently, they would invite family and friends to these appointments and more people would be saved. When a group of 30 believers were gathered in that home, he would go to the national overseer and tell him, “there is a church of 30 people meeting at this address; send a young preacher to pastor them.” As soon as a pastor was set in place, he would use this freed time to make an “appointment” in another city or village.

    When I traveled with him, he was 70 years old, survived on a $30/mo. pension (zero support from the church) and had 2-3 appointments a day, 6 days a week (Monday was his Sabbath when he worked on sermon preparation).

    What I’m NOT saying is that church planting needs to be either/or of these paradigms, but I would say that the second gets MUCH less press while most of the churches in the world got their start weighted closer to the Commissional paradigm.


  25. Keith – If experience was the only thing that made anyone credible in their advice, take on things, or wisdom…..we’d soon run out of doctors as all of them with experience would die off, and the new ones would never be allowed to practice medicine as they would not have any experience. What a rediculous rule of measure to say that only someone who has planted knows anything about it.

    You read a whole lot more into the Moses story than is there. Miriam was not a worship leader. She was a good church member who took a shouting fit on a river bank…that does not make her a worship leader. Aaron? Aaron was a rebellious assistant pastor who was swayed by the people around him to build another God because the congregation wasn’t patient for God to do it his way.

    Moses was not a man of ability in himself….that’s what I said. Any thing that he was able to do was from God doing a work in him, but not from any natural talents or abilities. Once again, you have to separate that which resulted from the abilities of his flesh, and that which God was doing in the spirit man.

    As far as a contemporary model that I’ve watched, and believe is a great lesson for us in the COG, is Loran Livingston. Loran is far from post-modern, bucks most of the accepted modes for church growth, is very balanced in his ministry and the ministry he allows at Central, and totally rejects that “come as you are” seeker sensitive movement. And this Sunday, that church that his father in law started with maybe 60 people will have nearly 7000 in attendance. That’s the model I’d want to study and watch.

  26. Todd,

    So do you, and/or Loran think that people should not “come as you are?”

    How should they come?

    What should happen before they come?

    What happens after they come?

  27. When we’re talking about the lost….yes, just come as you are and how you feel comfortable….but when we are talking about THE CHURCH…….those that name the name of Christ, they should have a reverance for the house of God that makes them desire to where the best they have. And if the best you have is a pair of jeans, then wear it. The House of God should appear to be a special place to the outside world…..and one of the best ways we can show that is by treating it with reverance and respect.

    I guarantee that if the President was coming to have a meeting with you at your church, you’d want things at their best, and you would take some special thought to what you even wore to the meeting. How much more should we show respect in all that we do, including our dress and conduct when we the CHURCH gather for worship.

    And before someone takes me out of context…remember, I believe this is true for the church, not the lost when they come. They don’t know any better.

    Once again, I believe we that are saved and sanctified unto Him are to walk different, use a different language, wear different clothes, listen to different music, and have an all out different culture about us than the world around us. I believe God wants us to stick out in many, many ways.

  28. When we are saved and sanctified unto God, we will wear suits if we can afford them?

  29. You had better know how to pray! That is foremost the most important thing.

  30. Oh goodness… not the suit & tie discussion…

    Does being a Christian (or, to take it a step further, being a pastor) mean that I can’t come to church without a tie, and that I can’t listen to U2 in my car?

    I know plenty of people who come to church in suit & tie every week and yet don’t respect the church or God at all. And, while we’re here, what about house churches?

    If the President was coming to my church this weekend – I wouldn’t wear anything more special for him than I would wear otherwise. And I’d probably ask him why he plays the Christian card and then curses like a sailor when he thinks the cameras aren’t on.

    I’m not trying to be argumentative, but this is just a pet peeve issue with me.

  31. Todd,

    Exactly what clothes are we Christians to wear? At what occasions?

    What music are we to listen to? What if I don’t like that kind of music?

  32. I planted a new church in a small town here in Mississippi a little over three years ago. Music & finances are big deals, but where God guides He provides.

    In my experience the ability to keep people excited about the vision is one of the most crucial tasks of the church planter. You face tons of minor setbacks–a few mountains and alot of molehills that people treat like mountains. But if you can keep casting and recasting the vision, your people will not get bogged down in the petty distractions and will come through for you in huge ways!

    Unchurched people aren’t nearly as bent out of shape by what the preacher wears as we think they are. As long as you’re relational and communicate a genuine love for the folks you meet, they’ll put up with a robe, a suit, or even a very bad Hawaiian shirt .

  33. Todd:

    1. If you read my post carefully, you will see that I did not say that only experienced people had credible opinions. However, I have studied the crucifixion. I have preached about the crucifixion. I have great knowledge concerning the crucifixion. I have never experienced a physical crucifixion myself. Does that mean my opinions are not valid? No, but it does mean there are dimensions that only the experienced can communicate effectively. On this, I will listen to the experienced 🙂

    For the record, I’ve organized/reorganized six churches out of churches I’ve pastored. Four of these are still viable churches. I have never been the planting pastor, so I am here to learn from those who have done so.

    Further, to use your own analogy: we don’t turn inexperienced doctors loose on patients. They serve extensive internships, so that they gain experience under the tutelage of an experienced mentor.

    Unfortunately, we do not consider souls as important as physical bodies…. Even the disciples had to serve three years under Jesus before they were turned loose on their own.

    2. I admit at poking a little fun with Miriam and Aaron, but their abilities did not lay dormant except on the occasions you mentioned. For example:

    1) In the Exod 15 account, Miriam is listed as a prophetess, so her participation in worship events is confirmed. In the OT, prophesy was not a private event – or we would have no record of it.

    2) The Hebrew verbs used (qal imperfect) in this worship account (I believe you called it a “fit”) indicate that this was not a one-time event, so using our vernacular, she was a “worship leader” on more than this occasion. Again, one must read, not prooftext.

    3) As for Aaron, you are not reading the entire account of his life. God spoke to Moses/Aaron, who spoke to Israel, who responded positively (usually). You use Loran as a model – and a good one he is. Incidentally, you do know he had four millionaires in that initial group of 60, so money was not a problem for him. I am sure that you feel that God speaks to you and you speak to your youth group, just as God speaks to Loran and he speaks to the thousands God has placed under his care. God speaks to both of you, yet one is preaching to thousands, and one is not. What makes the difference? Does it mean God loves Loran more than you? Or does it mean God is using the abilities of Loran – abilities you may not have? This does not diminish who you are, but helps us understand the diversity of the kingdom.

    4, I agree that Moses was a man endued by God, but as noted above that does not negate his personal abilities. God uses who we are. That is the reason that the Koine Greek of John is much more straightforward than the Classically influenced Greek of the writer of Hebrews. I noticed that you did not comment about the very gifted leaders (e.g., David, et. al.) that God used to accomplish his purpose.

    5. A real danger among some Pentecostals/Evangelicals is a tendency to read Scripture to confirm: 1) what they have heard from others, usually through preaching/teaching – and doing so without a truly open mind and discerning heart; and, 2) to reinforce their personal agendas, which they call “beliefs,” rather than reading it in a way that allows the Scripture to speak to and change them. Our beliefs must come from a bare-before-God attitude and a struggle with the complexity of Scripture in an effort to truly hear what the Spirit is speaking to the churches. We sin when we read into Scripture our beliefs.

    Again, I am not trying to be condescending or argumentative, but I’ve been where you are. When I really got serious about allowing God, not the “tradition” by which I was influenced, to form me (and I am still considered by most to be a “conservative” Pentecostal), he opened all kinds of doors for me. Colossians 2:8, 20 (and Gal 1:14, by implication) warn us about becoming encumbered by “rudiments.” This is anything – even tradition — that takes on a power unto itself and brings us into captivity. You really should read, “The Church and the Powers” by James Cobble and “Unity and Diversity in the New Testament” by James D. G. Dunn.

    My prayers are with you. I hope you receive this in the spirit in which it is given.


  34. I stepped away for a week and missed all kinds of fun stuff… To Carl and creative teams… if you have one for sale cheap (by cheap I mean free) I would be all over it. If God can speak to one person and them be able to craft a sermon, isn’t it possible for God to speak to a team of people and utilize their gifts and personalities to enhance the effectiveness of the message? I can’t believe you didn’t open this topic up this morning.

    I’m not even going to get into the suit + tie = church thing because no matter what anybody says you won’t be able to take me back to that oppression. I have been set free !

    One thing I do want to address is experience. I have the privilege of meeting every week with Carl (see guy above bad mouthing Nelson…LOL), a fellow church planter. I also have some friends that I have made along the way that I talk to on the phone occasionally. Even though my ministry is different than most of those guys one thing is common… there is a lot of this process that is just indescribable. I have read a lot of books written by successful and even a few failed church planters. But, even the people who had been there could not articulate what it is really like.

    I liken it to soldiers who have had true combat experience vs. studying the art of war. To be totally transparent I felt that after reading a bunch of books and knowing God had called me to plant this church (not to mention some miraculous provision) I knew exactly what to do. It took me about 6 months after launch to figure out that I don’t really have a clue.

    Everyday I learn new lessons, some the hard way. Just like all of the authors I have read, I don’t think I can articulate what “real bullets” being shot at you feels like. I can’t describe what victory feels like or even looks like because it is not a number. I can’t explain what being wounded or having a wounded family feels like. I could run this analogy for a while but I won’t.

    Those guys/girls who have done it are saying “I know what you mean.” Others are saying it can’t be that hard because I was able to grow my home group from 5-25 people in 2 months. For those individuals I would dare you to try it, but I would feel guilty if you actually did (without hearing specifically from God).

  35. Nathan alluded to what my larger point was. Answering the question “What are the two most critical attributes of a church planter” really depends on the way that person is called to launch. I know that no one in this chat would state that there is only one way to plant, that would be to un-missional.

    According to the launch large system, you need to fake it till you make it. And to do that, you need money, some key volunteers (worship, and children’s ministry being foremost) and you have to have something to say, by someone who can communicate, in between the welcome and the call for connection cards. I don’t think that the communicator has to be able to write the sermon, just communicate it well.

    My entire ministry is based on people encountering the God of power. And as a guy that has no financial support and does not even have childrens ministry, I would not be able to pull off the launch large plan.

    But lots of people would not be able to pull off what God has me doing. And there is no amount of book reading that will get you ready for what God has for you to do. I might even add that folks could launch perfectly according to a model but still not have success because the model does not match their gifting.

    The teaching model grows big churches, unless you are not a teacher. I am a preacher. I don’t make any excuses for that. My goal is to see people get baptized in the Holy Ghost. Everything we do points toward that. Having folks in and out in an hour does not facilitate that. Great children’s pastor does not facilitate that. Having someone else write my sermons will work against that.

    I need to encounter God directly each and every week and I will not grab the mic till I do. I don’t think every model requires that. And you may not find out exactly how God wants to use you until you go out and do it.

    @Todd I used the word sermon because I am increasingly meeting ministers completely unable to receive a message.

  36. I’ve found this dialogue a very interesting one. I live in Barbados in the West Indies and believe it or not it shares much of what I have noticed about the North American/western paradigm of Church. I understand the entire issue of needing funds to launch and get a ministry operational money does answer all things. However, the issue of a “worship leader” as being necessary only fits into the traditional paradigm of church as an event. My husband and I are Pastors who recently launched a church in one of our local communities. Our focus however is very external; we desire to build relationships with individuals and groups in the community as we model the life of Christ, serve others and so expose people to the gospel in operation. Our focus is not primarily on a “Sunday-morning/evening event” even though we do meet for corporate worship and fellowship. My major concern as a church-planter is that of changing the mind-sets of Christians where we understand that we are the church; its not a building, a place or an event where we are responsible for perking up people; the mission we must be tuned in to and turned on by is the “missio-dei” ; the mission of God; God’s extension of love and mercy to a dying world through us; not a Sunday-morning event to make us, the church happy and meet our needs; i this paradigm the Church degenerates into nothing more than a club for Christians

  37. I’ve found this dialogue a very interesting one. I live in Barbados in the West Indies and believe it or not, it shares much of what I have noticed about the North American/western paradigm of Church. I understand the entire issue of needing funds to launch and get a ministry operational money does answer all things. However, the issue of a “worship leader” as being necessary only fits into the traditional paradigm of church as an event. My husband and I are Pastors who recently launched a church in one of our local communities. Our focus however is very external; we desire to build relationships with individuals and groups in the community as we model the life of Christ, serve others and so expose people to the gospel in operation. Our focus is not primarily on a “Sunday-morning/evening event” even though we do meet for corporate worship and fellowship. My major concern as a church-planter is that of changing the mind-sets of Christians where we understand that we are the church; its not a building, a place or an event where we are responsible for perking up people; the mission we must be tuned in to and turned on by is the “missio-dei” ; the mission of God; God’s extension of love and mercy to a dying world through us; not a Sunday-morning event to make us, the church happy and meet our needs; in this paradigm the Church degenerates into nothing more than a club for Christians

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