I planted a church back in the relative dark ages of church planting when very few formal resources existed. Planting was usually called pioneering, and for good reason. The prevailing philosophy of the day seemed to be slanted toward the survival of the fittest. After all, a pioneer was going where no one had gone before, so who could help him? The best advice in those days was to just get out there and get started and God will provide. Sounds exciting, but in reality it was quite brutal.
Thankfully, in 2011, resources for church starters are incredibly abundant with everything from books and Web sites to organizational support systems; coaches and mentors to conferences fitting every imaginable cultural context. Plus, church planting is in vogue so people don’t look at you like you are crazy when you announce that you feel called to plant. They actually offer to help!
I am truly grateful for the amazing tools that are now available to those who are called to catalyze new faith communities and I encourage every planter I coach to use them all. However, the subtle danger is that we begin to think that planting a church is just a matter of following ten easy steps like “Fill in the name of your hero church planter here.” Please use all the good stuff you can buy, but don’t forget that planting a church is a spiritual endeavor that requires some powerful tools that can’t be bought. They have to be developed. Setting out to plant without these tools is a sure recipe for disaster.
- Authentic personal relationship with Jesus – You actually have to personally know and love Jesus to plant His church.
- Faithful, fully dependent prayer – When you’ve done all you can do, you are still going to need God to work miracles for the church to be birthed.
- Genuine, field-tested faith – You’ve got to know how to step out and trust God when you can’t see where your foot will land.
So what do you think? Am I missing an essential tool that you shouldn’t head off to plant without?