I took this from an excerpt in my Pre-Conference Workshop, Launching Large: Milestones to Planting a Missional Church. For this and much, much more join us by registering for our www.churchplanters.com Best Practices Conference. It is going to be Awesome.
The number one issue in planting churches is the planter himself. Are you ready to plant? I have seen too many churches planted only to fail because they should have never been planted. Someone has to say “no” when a “no” is in order. Here are the questions you must begin asking yourself, and continue asking those around you, to give you honest feedback.
Do you make good decisions? The church planter has to make dozens of decisions every day that has a significant impact on the church plant. Over a period of time, that equals hundreds and even thousands of critical decisions that have to be made prior to launch. A church planter must have an innate ability to make decisions, but he must also have a system and process for getting good feedback before pulling the trigger.
Are you a good communicator? If you can’t preach your way out of a wet paper bag don’t plant. Like it or not the way one communicates, especially during the weekend worship experience, is the key difference maker in new churches. It’s not the only difference maker, but it’s certainly in the top three, along with leadership and ability to resource the mission. Can you preach? If you don’t know, ask those around you; I’m sure someone would be more than willing to give you a piece of their mind.
Are you catalytic? By being catalytic I mean are you a self starter with a high level of motivation. At the same time it doesn’t end there. Can you mobilize others with your passion and energy for getting things done? Most church planters I know are pecking out their RPMs. If you have a hard time getting started, don’t plant a church. If your ADHD doesn’t have ADD you might want to do something else.
Is your spouse on board? It’s not enough for her to be agreeable, but is she ready to jump on board and is she just as fired up as you are? It’s one thing to be supportive, but it is another thing to be just as called, passionate, and ready to go as you are.
Do you build good teams well? One of the big tests in discerning whether or not someone is gifted to plant churches is if they recruit a team. If a leader is someone who has followers then who are your followers? When I’m trying to help someone discern if they are called to plant or not, I always ask them to tell me about their team. If they don’t have people who are willing to follow them at all levels then they need to wait. It’s real simple, who’s going with you?
Can you cast a compelling vision? Well it’s not just about casting a compelling vision, but do you have a compelling vision? There are a lot of different motivations for planting, some good and others not so good. The best reason I can think of is God is doing a new thing in your life and has given you a vision of what he wants to do through you. Now that you have a vision you are compelled to share it with others and something is happening. People are getting it! They want what you have.
Can you finance the mission? As a church planter you are responsible for financing the mission. No one else is going to do it for you. Do people believe in the vision you have and the leader you are enough to give their financial resources to it? I’m not talking about maybes or next years, but money in the bank.
Do you have good relationship skills? Most of us church planter types are driven in nature and task-oriented. You have to be. But if you don’t have good relational skills, over time, you will drive people away with your drive. A healthy balance between task and relationships are in order. Jesus calls us to build disciples, not buildings.
Can you related to people who are far from God? The last thing we need is another Christian Country Club. It’s time to lose our religion and find the Jesus way. Jesus was a “friend of sinners”. He kept the religious establishment in an uproar by staying on the fringes with the people he loved most. Get ready! If you really love people who are far from God, you are going to be challenged by those you think they are close to God or have a corner market on God. If your heart and bent isn’t toward people who are far from God, you will find yourself surrounded by a holy huddle. You will have to fight the gravitational pull away from those who are far from God.