Church planting is not for every preacher. Spiritual gifts, talents, and natural abilities are often combined in unusual ways in the lives of church planters. The church planter is a pioneer, entrepreneur, and cata­lyst. He is carving out a work for God, determining its direction, setting its pace, and establishing its permanency. He is building an armory for spiritual warfare, a lighthouse for lost souls, and a hospital for the spiritually sick. So what kind of man must the church planter be?

The Church Planter’s Character

The church planter must have experienced the new birth and be walking in obedience to Christ. The Holy Spirit must have worked in his personal life in such a way that the character of the Lord Jesus Christ is visibly being dem­on­strated in the man’s life. He should meet the requirements of the pastor as set forth in I Timothy 3:1–7 and Titus 1:6–9. His testimony before both the saved and the unsaved should be beyond any question. He must be a Spirit-con­trolled man who responds maturely to the pressures of life and ministry.

He should be a “people person,” who enjoys the company of others. He should be gracious and courteous toward others, compassionate toward the lost, and capable of patient­ly guiding them to understand the Gospel. He must be free from the love of money and material things. He should live an orderly life, setting priorities and ac­complish­ing goals. He should have a happy and harmonious family life. His mor­al character must be beyond reproach. He must be a man who can lead God’s flock toward Christlike­ness.

The Church Planter’s Gifts and Calling

There is really no special calling for church planters men­tioned in the Bible. Actually, it seems that virtually all the pastors and evangelists of the New Testament era were church planters!

There are two ministerial gifts active today: the pastoral gift and the evangelistic gift (Ephesians 4:11). A church planter could have either an evangelistic or a pastoral gift. The evangelist, like the Apostle Paul, goes from place to place preaching the Gospel and forming churches. The pastor establishes the newly formed church and leads it on toward maturity (Titus 1:5). Some pastors will be endowed with church-planting abilities. They are especially skilled at soulwinning, initial disci­pleship, and bringing people into the local church. Missionaries often func­tion as evangelists who win the lost to Christ and turn over the newly formed churches to national pastors.

The Church Planter’s Capacity

The ability to preach and teach the Word of God is a must for the church planter if he is going to be able to help and hold more than just a few people. He should be competent in the Scriptures for both public and private ministry. He should have the capacity for door-to-door visitation and the ability to train others in per­sonal evangelism. It will be very helpful if he is able to lead singing. He should be able to direct all aspects of the worship service, though he will gradu­ally allow others to lead singing and make announcements. He should have the stami­na to work fifty to sixty hours a week, especially in the early months of church planting. He should not be seriously affected by discouragement, and by no means can he be a quitter. The more he knows about life, the better. Knowl­edge of fi­nances, law, government, building, business, the working man’s daily strug­gles, local commu­nity activities, and family life will enhance his ministry.