Friday, March 23, 2012

How not to be a church planting pirate

A few years ago, an old friend who is on staff at a church in another state asked me for some advice about church planting. I love his heart. He wants to be a blessing to his current church and ministry assignment from God.

He said, "I have been leading [a ministry in my current] church. My wife and I have recently felt like God is beginning to again renew this vision [to plant a new church] in our hearts.

"He has place a great team of people around us to support us and help lead the church as well as some wise mentors over my life and ministry. We're right now really trying to understand how to leave our current church and be remembered well. [We want] God's perfect timing for that movement.

"I'm writing you as someone whom I know has a heart for God without agendas and as someone whom I've looked up to for years. Any kind of advice you'd have for me will be well received.

"Thanks so much, man. I so much appreciate your heart and the ministry God has used you to create."

I wrote back to him, "It's good to hear from you. Hope all is well. Here are 2 initial suggestions for starting out:

1) Talk with leadership at your current church about God’s call on your life. Let them know that you want to explore whether or not you are called to plant a church. I would not announce, “God has called me to plant a church… 3 miles away!” That’s a sure way to get a negative response. I don't think you want to be a church planting pirate, right?

Check out a You Tube video from Ed Young, Jr. about the dangers of being a church planting pirate.



It's rather a strong video, right? Basically, Ed is saying, "If you are so 'big and bad' that you can start a dynamic church, why not go to a new place where nobody knows you and plant a church there? To siphon off people from a previous ministry experience without the blessing of that ministry is not apostolic. It's anemic."

So, please ask for your current leaders' input and guidance. Does your church have a vision for planting? Let them know that you want to bless your current church and ministry within the church and that you will not do anything to hurt or harm the church. In fact, let them know that you want to bless and to grow your current ministry before you leave to plant. Let them know your heart is still with your current church, but that you are pursuing what God may have in store for you.

2) Ask your leadership to help you identify whether or not you are gifted to plant. We use 3 assessments. The first is online. The second is a 4 hour interview with the church planter and his spouse. The third is a 4 day formal assessment. The goal of the assessments is to identify giftedness for planting. I do not think that anyone should plant without an assessment process. If you are affirmed through the assessment process (which is vigorous) then church leadership will likely affirm and support your call to church planting.

The online assessment we use can be found here. We are a part of NEO 360 and Vision 360.

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