As a movement of churches we have a vision to be 1000 healthy churches by 2050. This vision is far beyond where we are currently, creating a need for men and women who will initiate new churches all over NSW and the ACT.
As you read take the time to reflect on anyone who comes to mind whom God might be prompting you to approach and plant a seed in their lives regarding church planting?
In the first article, we introduced four characteristics that are desirable for most pastoral leaders including church planters: faith, resilience, spousal support (if married) and adaptability. In the last issue of Together we explored four further characteristics all revolving around people: relationship building, creating ownership, building groups and utilizing the gifts of others.
There are also particular skills and giftings needed to be a capable church planter. These final five characteristics are all outward looking and a little more specialised. They focus on skills needed to reach a lost and dying world with the Good News of Jesus Christ.
- Vision We are looking for someone who initiates new ministry and starts things from scratch. This person also sells their idea to others and gets people onboard with their new initiative. These are people who enjoy a challenge and believe in and expect God to do great things.
- Personal Motivation A church planter needs to be a self-starter and able to work long and hard without supervision, often in very unstructured environments. They will be a person with stamina and committed to excellence.
- Church Growth In this area we seek someone who believes the church should be growing numerically as well as spiritually and relationally. They should also be eager to learn about different models of church planting and keen to see growth in the Kingdom of God.
- Reaching the Unchurched A track record of reaching out to unchurched people and influencing them toward relationship with Christ and the church. Someone who not only has eyes for the harvest (Matt 9:37) but is having a go themselves and seeing results.
- Community Understanding Church planters need to identify and assess needs in the community where they plant. They need to understand the culture in their particular locality and be able to initiate appropriate ministry.
Many of these skills above are focused outside the church in order to bring people into God’s Kingdom, because church planting is essentially about seeing lost people being saved and added to the church. These men and women are not necessarily evangelists; rather they have an evangelistic heart; they understand community, are motivated and see beyond the now into what could be.