What Does it Take to be a Church Planter?
- Monday, June 25, 2007
The Church Planter’s Companion
The wife of a church planter is a special person. Her calling is to be his helper for life. Her constant encouragement will mean much to him. Often her companionship is his only human source of encouragement. Many disappointments and some discouragement will come to the church planter. People will let him down, break promises, and become critical. He needs an encouraging wife.
He also needs her input. She views life in the same manner that half the people in the world do—from a woman’s viewpoint. Her refined sense and her attention to detail may surpass his in the areas of building decor, cleanliness of facilities, and even tactfulness in speech. Also, she likely will have an intuitive sense about other women who could do harm to her husband’s testimony. He should listen to her, love her, and involve her in the ministry as an example to others.
She should be one of the best women, wives, and mothers in the church, just as the pastor should be one of the best men, husbands, and fathers. He should let her spiritual and natural gifts enhance his ministry but not let others view her as an associate pastor. She may be able to help teach a class, play the piano, help in the nursery, or plan socials. He should let her be herself without being forced into modeling her life after a famous pastor’s wife. He should schedule time to be with her to do the things she enjoys doing. She is the most important person in his life and ministry!
The Church Planter’s Preparation
The church planter should have completed his formal training for the ministry. This assumes undergraduate ministerial training and, preferably, graduate or seminary training. A lifetime of ministry demands sufficient training. A church planter should be debt-free or nearly so when he begins his ministry. Money likely will be tight. The burden of debt would detract from his ministry. He certainly must pay all his bills on time in the new community and should not be tempted to do otherwise.
Church planters should have several years of valuable experience working under a mature pastor. Selection of such a mentor is extremely important! The mentor’s zeal and burden for the lost should be especially keen if he is to set a proper example for the church planter.
It seems that a large percentage of church planters are men in their late twenties or early thirties. However, men in their forties and fifties can plant churches as well if they are full of vigor for Christ.
If God places a burden on your heart to plant a church somewhere, pursue a proper course of action. Seek advice from experienced pastors and church planters. Visit the area. Seek the face of God in prayer so that you might have His perfect direction in the great adventure of planting a new church!
Dr. Bruce McAllister is director of Ministerial Training and Extension and teaches church planting at Bob Jones University. This article is adapted from the BJU Church Planting Manual. All rights reserved.
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