“In churches with 100 people or less, 31% have an assignment at church corresponding to their gifts. In a church with 100-200 worshippers, it is also about a third. But in churches with over 300 it drops to only 24%.” --Christian Schwarz, Natural Church Development
You have been called to lead a strategic mission: the visible advancement of the invisible Kingdom of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to a runaway world. As you consider the seemingly overwhelming task, we hope that your plans include the development of other leaders: training them, deploying them, and supporting them in the Grand Cause.
Often a busy Church Planter packs his life with important activities: pastoral activities, administrative activities, worship design, sermon preparation, and on and on.
Yet reason would show that if you would invest in developing other leaders, you would multiply your mission effectiveness, broaden the involvement of other disciples to utilize their gifts and abilities to the Grand Cause of Gospel influence, and encourage more dependent prayer.
Several years ago, I was interviewed as part of a research study on church plants. The researcher was interested in my experiences with churches that did not survive and what were the contributing factors. I had been part of closing down seven works by that time. Six of the seven closed down because of leadership failure.
Over the years, one of the common complaints I have heard from Planters is the lack of leaders in their mission. Many will bemoan that after three or four years God still hasn’t sent them any leaders to help.
Listen very closely: If you have been on the field for more than a year, do not complain that your mission church lacks leaders. When you complain, it’s an indictment on your lack of leadership. You are responsible to make leaders out of the men and women God has brought to you. Your primary leadership role as a missionary Church Planter (apostle or evangelist) is “to prepare God people for works of service.”
Great leaders build great leaders, not gather more followers.
Many pastors today do not see themselves as leaders. George Barna reports only 4% of pastors call themselves a leader. Most seminaries or Bible colleges do not see themselves as making leaders. Rather, they are in the job of making pastor/teachers. I want you to accept the challenge that you, by virtue of the calling God has given you as a missionary Church Planter, are a leader. He has given you a vision and passionate mission to renew your city or community by the power of the Gospel. That alone is the cloak of leadership. To excel in your leadership role, make great leaders. Don’t settle for gathering hundreds of followers.
At CMM, we believe every pastor, church planter, ministry leader, and missionary is created to thrive in ministry. We suggest getting a Gospel Coach to help walk with you through the challenges you’ve never faced before. Remember: You don’t have to plant a church alone. A Gospel Coach will help encourage and equip you every step along the way.
CMM's C.R.O.S.S. Coaching is an intentional Gospel conversation with focused discussions on one's relational, personal, missional, and spiritual life. Our coaches are experienced and certified to equip leaders for sustainable gospel ministry.
Click here to learn more about Gospel Coaching today!
Download your FREE eBook "Developing Leaders in Your Church Plant" today!
Church Planters are entrusted with many resources, but the greatest resource you have is the hard-earned wisdom of fathers and brothers who have already made mistakes that have real consequences. Learn from them.
Leadership Journal did a survey and found that the average Church Plant in the USA started with only 43 people. The average size of a Church Plant in the USA after three years is 98 people, total. Critical mass is context specific. One Church Planter did a survey in his context and found that the average size of a protestant church was 30 people. Your church’s birth will be contextual, but also should be determined by viability.
You are granted the freedom to fail. But try not to fail because you were impatient. If you are going to risk so much on Church Planting, go make bold, new mistakes! Don’t make the mistakes we made a decade ago. That’s just plain dumb. When you make mistakes, make sure they are ones that bring more glory to Jesus!
As we think about building a Launch Team for your Church Plant, we’ll consider 3 basic ways to gather people. Generally, we discourage the term “Core Groups” and encourage “Launch Teams” because we want to see God forming Gospel-centered teams committed to the proclamation and practice of the Word, living out mission and living in community.
Download your free eBook about “3 Ways to Build a Launch Team” today!
At CMM, we believe every pastor, church planter, ministry leader, and missionary is created to thrive in ministry. We suggest getting a Gospel Coach to help walk with you through the challenges you’ve never faced before. A Gospel Coach will help encourage and equip you every step along the way.
Learn more about Coaching for Church Planters today!
Dr. Tom Wood
I've been in the Church Planting business my entire career. I want you to know, you don't have to plant a church alone!