If you have ever started a new church or been part of a church planting team, you know how tough it can be. There are some serious serious questions that should be asked prior to entering into church planting.
Before planting, look inward and ask yourself the following questions:
1) Am I called to plant a church?
You can be called into ministry but not necessarily into church planting. Planting takes a unique skill set to say the least. It also takes grit and a willingness to go through some possible tough times on the front end.
Have you considered an existing church? Have you considered helping a legacy church with revitalization? What about being an associate pastor for a season to gain some valuable experience?
If you are not truly called to church planting, you will find yourself burnt out and the church dying within the first couple of years. The statistics for church plants surviving beyond 5 years is low. While there are many reasons for this, one of the reasons is the expectations of the planter weren’t based on reality. Maybe, just maybe, you weren’t actually called to plant. Settle this matter in your heart before launching out on this adventure.
2) Am I growing in my Christian walk?
That may sound like an odd question for those on the edge of church planting, but it’s an important question to ask yourself. The reality is, you can be so enamored with the new work, that you have stagnated. There is also a possibility that you no longer live out the basic disciplines such as Bible study (not for sermon prep but for personal connection), and prayer.
3) Am I willing to be flexible and contextual?
Unfortunately, I have seen many church planters make their way to a new area with hopes of radically changing the city for Jesus only to crash and burn. They arrive with the mentality that they have the answers this city needs.
Without living in the city, knowing the history, and spending time with the people, this mindset is ego-driven wishful thinking.
Be ready to turn on a dime and make changes according to the local context. Big box church thinking may not work in certain areas of the USA. The question is – are you willing to reach the people of the city with the Gospel of Jesus even if it doesn’t fit your presuppositions and original plan?