What if every church over 300 members planted a church in North America?
It been proven statistically that churches that plant churches grow. The national conversation about church plants has been rekindled with the Plant100 initiative, but it hasn’t been without some pushback. As I talk with pastors and administrators about church planting, I find that there are three reasons why we don’t plant.
I can relate with the hesitancy. I experienced it! My intention is not trying to scold, as much as I am trying to point out the problem and provide solutions.
Here are three reasons pastors/administrators won’t plant, each with a solution:
They will tell you is finances, but the underlying problem is fear. Statements like these are common:
From administrations: How will be staff them? What if they want an FTE?
From pastors: We are hardly making ends meet, if my congregation diminishes by 10-20% we will go in the red for sure! Who is going to lead if my best leaders go?
We are afraid. Let’s just call it what it is.
SOLUTION: Open more lanes. You know when you go to Walmart and there are 25 lanes available but only one is open? People get frustrated and leave. Bi-vocational pastors and lay pastors can provide options. Florida conference has close to 100 churches led by VLP’s (volunteer lay pastors). Why can’t that happen other places?
The conversation needs to shift, from it being about my fears and becoming about lost people!
Some pastors would like to plant, but won’t because they have very little training. Dr. Tom Evans in the seminary is one of our church planting guru’s, but even he is spread thin. The required church planting classes are almost non-existent. This we can change and should.
SOLUTION: Seeds, Exponential and a new program called: Church Planter’s Boot Camp let by NAD ministerial associate Jose Cortes Jr can help. Blaming your lack of action on your theological training is not saving any lost people.
This one is the hardest one to admit. I know it was for me. Here is the key principle: Your church will never be large enough to satisfy an ego driven ministry. I had a church of 500. Then 700. Then close to 1,000. As long as I let my ego get in the way, I always wanted more. We had 2 services, and contrary to every human ego instinct I had, we planted a church that on the first day had 150 members. It was hard!
SOLUTION: This is what I did. I gave the leadership of the church plant “head-hunting license”. I told them to recruit anyone and everyone they needed. They did. Once again, it was hard! Then I did the same thing with a 2nd generation church. Today all three churches are healthy.
What do you do now? Don’t be afraid. Get trained. Get your ego out of it. It’s about lost people. It always is.