10 reasons why we don't have enough church planters*

Daddy Why Didn't You-Plant A ChurchFor as long as I’ve been in this game the critical issue has always been, “We don’t have enough church planters.” Here’s ten reasons why I think that is so.

1. We don’t ask It’s his harvest field. It’s his mission. If you don’t ask you don’t receive. Keep banging on that door until your neighbour wakes up, gets out of bed and opens the door.

2. We don’t look Jesus had no problem finding leaders. He went outside the normal channels and found fishermen and tax collectors and recruited them to his cause. You may be looking, but are you looking in the right places?

3. We pay too much I remember the denominational leader bragging about the “package” he was offering to church planters. He expected church planters from around the country would be beating a path to his office door eager to sign up for his “package”. As though the best leaders would find that attractive.

4. We don’t pay enough The best church planters are motivated by the cause, by the challenge, by the opportunity to shape a ministry that changes lives. Micro-manage them and you’ll lose them.

5. We think short term You can plant a few churches by grabbing the best leaders who are out there right now. Sooner or later you’ll discover there’s a shortage and either 1) start anointing leaders who aren’t ready, or if you’re smart, 2) you’ll start growing your own. It takes longer but momentum will build.

6. We de-select Our systems de-select some of the best candidates because they don’t fit the system. How many action-oriented pioneering leaders will make it through a system that tells them to begin their training by sitting in a classroom for 3-4 years?

7. We’re out of shape Like attracts like. We’ll attract leaders like ourselves. So how many of us are currently leading ministries that multiply new disciples, leaders, groups and churches? Enough said.

8. We can't see Someone out there is recruiting and mobilising leaders—lots of them. We’ve written them off because they aren’t from our tribe. We don’t see the transferable principles at work. We don’t learn from them because the implications are too uncomfortable.

9. We’re happy Discontentment is the seed of change. The more agitated you are the more desperate you’ll get for solutions. The greater price you’ll pay. The more you’ll be willing to risk everything. How desperate are you? Would you be doing this if they weren’t paying you?

10. We’re victims Without faith it’s impossible to please God. If it was possible you wouldn’t need faith. Sure it’s “their” fault! But you can’t change “them”. What are you going to trust God for? What are you going to do?

[* I was corrected the other day for using the term “church planter”. For simplicity sake can we just assume “church planter” = new church developer = incarnational missional leader = congregational pioneer = whatever. I don't care what you call it as long as you're doing it.]

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