It Takes a Village to Support a Planter

Church planting is like a global village of relationships. Working with Stadia, we talk about this a lot. Thankfully, our Planter Care team does more than talk about it. Last week Joe, a planter near St. Louis had five visitors:

  • His coach came for a scheduled site visit and brought a disciple with him.
  • The project manager for the new church came as well.
  • And, most unexpectedly, a church planter who is in the final couple months of his church’s first year showed up with an associate too. He had met the church planter on a recent missions trip to South America, heard about his stage of development and hit the road to support him.

That’s a lot of horsepower! Not only were the two “system” guys there—Stadia always provides a coach and a project manager—there was an experienced planter and two young learners adding their energy and enthusiasm as well. Spread across three states, five colleagues showed up to help Joe dream about modifying some leased space for a fall launch of Atrium Church and adjusting his launch schedule to a more realistic timeline. You could credit Stadia for having a system that hard wires two of the guys showing up—but there were five who actually came. Why?

Because anyone who has planted a church knows that it can be a lonely experience. There are days, following the day you answered God’s call, packed up your former gig, and started working out of a coffee shop or borrowed cubicle when you wonder what kind of crazy mistake you have made. Hopefully your spouse is on board—but in many cases the spouse is so consumed with keeping the household going, either by fulltime homemaking or a career or both, that the church planting challenge is shouldered alone. (Thankfully for spouses, Stadia also has a great connection called Bloom! which groups lead planters’ spouses and supports them too!) And there are often supporting churches and individuals who send money—much appreciated but those checks don’t talk you off the ledge or keep you sober.

So when your coach, who planted five years ago, and your project manager who planted and has advised dozens of churches, is joined by a planter just a year ahead of you shows up with their young apprentices, it feels good! Not only that, it makes you better. More effective. More likely to do the right things so that the Gospel can flourish in your new ministry.  And it helps long after they’ve gone home, because you remember you’re not alone. Been there, done that, totally get what you’re going through.

Joe has peeps. Friends across several states who have his back. New friends he actually met in South America who don’t mind 10 hours on the road for a few hours of collaboration. Friends for his wife who manages a household with four pre-school children, including twins that are five months old. That’s quite the community—because it takes a village to support a church planter well.