The Future-Focused Leader
If you were to compile a list of characteristics shared by successful church planters, what would be on your list? Most church planting experts would list characteristics like entrepreneurial, resilient, spiritually mature, evangelistic, culturally agile and visionary. We agree with those, but in our opinion, there is one that stands above the rest.
Based upon our study of scripture the most critical trait for a church planter to possess is the ability to hear God’s voice. Jesus said in John 10:27, “My sheep hear my voice, I know them, and they follow me,” (CSB). Since Jesus promised to build the church, the most effective way to plant a church is to listen to the voice of the Good Shepherd, follow his right paths, and bring others along with you. If you can do that, you can lead a new church effectively. If you can’t, you will rely on human ingenuity and be hamstrung by the futilities of the flesh.
The ability to cast a clear and compelling vision is a skill all church planters will do well to master, but before they can do that, they must discern God’s vision for the church. They must invest time in prayer listening to God’s voice to understand where God’s leading and determine the next steps they should take to turn that vision into reality. Knowing how essential this task is for church planters we’ve filled this month’s newsletter with resources to help you clarify and communicate God’s vision for your church. Enjoy!
-Patrick Bradley, Director of Operations
September 2022 – Contents
- Don’t Neglect This When Casting Vision
- Outreach Strategy Template
- Fall Outreach Ideas
- Exponential Regional Conferences
Don’t Neglect This When Casting Vision
When you’re building a launch team it’s vital to get everyone working towards the same goals and prepared for inevitable changes that come as a church plant begins to blossom. All too often team members that help you start the church will leave the church within a couple years. While people leave for many different reasons, one reason is because they weren’t prepared for how the church would change as it grew out of infancy.
In the blog post The Implications of Your Church Plant’s Vision Derek Hanna shares three truths every church planter should inform launch team members of as they cast vision for what God has in store for the new church. Knowing these truths will help team members prepare for and embrace the changes that are inevitable as the church matures. Then instead of jumping ship they may just stay aboard and help the church navigate those changes.
Communicating Clear Expectations
Author and business consultant Marcus Buckingham reminds leaders, “clarity is the preoccupation of the effective leader. If you do nothing else as a leader, be clear.” One thing church planters must be clear about is their expectations for launch team members. Don’t get them excited about being a part of a new church without also being clear about what it means to be on the team. Make those expectations crystal clear.
Do you expect them to give their time to serve at church events? Make that clear. Do you expect them to support the new church financially? Tell them that. Be clear about what you expect from team members, even if you’re afraid those expectations might intimidate some people.
Don’t shy away from communicating the vision you have for them hoping they’ll step up to the plate and contribute as you hope if they stick around long enough. Make your expectations clear. As Berne Brown says, “Clear is kind.” Do your team a favor and develop clear expectations for them and communicate them often. To get you started on creating clear expectations for your team check out this Launch Team Expectations Sample.
Refining Your Vision
As a church planter your to-do-list oftentimes seems endless. You’re busy, but not too busy to spend time clarifying where the Lord is leading your ministry. Time invested discerning what God wants to do in and through your church will help you best steward your time as a leader. As our friend Will Mancini puts it, “An ounce of clarity is worth a hundred pounds of activity.”
As a church planter you don’t have time or energy to waste. Neither do the people who are helping you plant. As the leader it’s your responsibility to direct your team’s resources (time, energy, money) towards the same goal or vision. For you to do that you must have clarity on your vision and know how to articulate it. Two time-tested resources we recommend every church planter familiarize themselves with to help them refine their vision are the books Church Unique and God Dreams by Will Mancini. To give you a taste of what’s in each book check out their visual summaries: Church Unique and God Dreams.
Casting Your Vision
Laboring to establish a new church is an exciting endeavor. However, this passion will wane overtime, and will come to nothing if the church planter isn’t able to infect others with their vision.
That’s why we encourage church planters to create what we call a Launch Vision to encapsulate their vision through stories, pictures, and stats. With this document, planters can share their vision with potential donors, prayer partners, launch team members, and community leaders. This visual booklet helps church planter’s vision become contagious.
Don’t start from scratch developing a Launch Vision for your church or ministry. Use our Launch Vision Template to get you started. Also check out some Launch Vision samples on our free downloads page.