Earlier this week I began to lay out ten issues that often plague church planters. You can find that post here. Let me finish that list today and also give four ways you can be a support to a church planter even if you are not a part of a church plant.
6. Values & Agenda Conflict-Part of the problem with many church plants is that they attract people who are dissatisfied with their current church (or ANY previous church) and who come with great excitement about this new church. Unfortunately, 90% of them want to make the church into their image of what a church should be or do. (this is much less of a problem with new converts that have come to Christ through the work of the planter & team). On the other hand, the planter is foolish if he totally ignores the voice of the other members of the launch team. Goals, priorities are best bought into if there is a group process instead of an imposition of the church planters goals & priorities. HOWEVER…(big however) once that is set, those who have differing agendas need to be encouraged to find a new church that is consistent with their agenda.
7. Family Health-Way too many new churches have been hobbled or killed by the planter paying inadequate attention to the health of his family. This is one area in which a coach for the church planter is critical.
8. Leadership Development-this problem is an issue in new AND old churches, small churches AND large. It takes time to develop leaders, but two things are critically important: (I am looking to do an entire series on this in the future) .
- A plan. What is the plan for leadership development. That is something that must be in place from Day 1. It is not something “we’ll develop as we go along.” You may modify it “as you go along” but not develop it.
- The understanding that it takes a lot of commitment and willingness on the part of a lot of people for a church to succeed. It will not succeed on the backs of 1, 3 or 5 people. If you don’t have those people how will you get/develop them?
9. Preaching & Worship-many church planters are young and as such they are still developing as preachers. Many also choose preaching models that do not fit their personality or the personality of their church. Additionally, there must be a harmony of worship style and the philosophy of the church. A spectator-style of worship does not fit with a highly relational philosophy of ministry. Worship ministers must not be allowed to dictate this. Worship leaders have driven away as many people from a church as probably any other one person.
10. Spiritual Dynamics-in the seeker-driven philosophy of the past thirty years, there is the temptation to minimized the traditional spiritual dynamics of a church. Other churches become so enamored with technique that building a church becomes like baking a cake. Spiritual growth, spiritual disciplines (both personal and corporate) need to be an integral part of any church.
One of my hesitations about becoming a coach for ministers is that there seem to be coaches for church planters on every corner. (Some effective, some… not so much). While I have experience WITH church planters, I don’t have experience AS a church planter. That is why church planters have not been my area of specialty. I generally don’t coach with new church planters. But my passion and compassion for them is there, none the less.
A recent article from Baptist Press lists out four ways that Christians from existing congregations can be a support to church planters:
- Find one. (Be intentional about knowing and befriending a church planter and his family.)
- Be an encourager.(Whether that new church is across town or across the country, faithfully demonstrate your personal interest and support. Study its newsletter, blog or website.
Give relational support as well as prayer support.)
- Share your resources. (Has God gifted you with things that could be shared to help the church? Could they use your home for a Bible study? Your pool for a fellowship? Your lake home for a planning retreat or pastor getaway? Loan your tent or trailer for an event. Connect Christian friends who might offer aid, such as a banker, carpenter or accountant.)
- Share yourself. (Show your personal support by visiting the church plant’s worship service occasionally. Make a special effort to attend its constitution service or groundbreaking event.)
Find the Baptist Press article here.