How Do I Discern a Call to Church Planting?
By New Churches Team
Discerning a call to church planting is a process. A lot of it is intangible. When Ed Stetzer planted his first church, he was not assessed or coached and did not have access to an online tool. But in all of those cases, he and his wife planted a church because God directed them to do so. Prayer was the only thing they had to help them discern the call. But Ed states that he would have had a lot less grief through the process if they had done more to first understand the call to church planting.
What Are the Steps?
You must go through an assessment process. This helps steward your life, ministry, and family. First, take an in-depth screening with an organization. A good option to take is LifeWay’s Church Planter Candidate Assessment tool. Then present yourself to your church elders and, through the elders, any organization your church partners with that could help you through the process. Finally, do a larger and deeper assessment process through an assessment center. If you still feel a call to church planting after going through those steps, find ways to dip your toe into church planting. Consult your church or a church planting organization for ways to do this.
Do I Need a Burden for a Location?
There is a huge role in the notion of a call and a distinct burden to a particular city or neighborhood. It is beneficial to fast and pray until God has given you a “come over here and help us” moment. Ed does not think you should plant a church until you have a deep burden for the people and the place where you believe you are supposed to plant a church because that burden and sense of certainty in your call will be the only thing that gets you through some days. Successful church planting most often relies on that burden.
Do I Need My Church’s Support?
In Ed’s case, he was turned down by the mission board to plant a church, but he and his wife felt such a call that they went anyway. But he feels that it is much better to go in community with direction from your elders and your church. And if everyone is telling you that you should not be a church planter – that God has not wired you that way – but you do it anyway, the end result will be problematic and confusing. It is much better to approach church planting with a community of support.
Adapted from the New Churches Q&A Podcast Episode 473: Discerning a Call. Click here to listen to more to church planting, multisite, and multiplication tips.