Next month, our church is planning to sponsor our forth church-start in as many years. They are Westwind Church (2008), Veritas Church (2010), New Heights Church (2012), and Cornerstone Church of Ankeny (September 2012). Each one has a similar style and model of church life but with slightly varying approaches. Together, these new churches represent nearly 1000 worshippers gathering weekly. It’s time to stop and reflect on some of the lessons learned, however, some of those lessons won’t apply to other church starting models. This series will have five posts for church planters and five for sponsoring churches.
Five lessons learned for sponsoring churches, Lesson 1: Selecting the church planter
The most difficult part of starting churches is selecting the church planting team. If you have a good team, everything else should fall into place. If you have a poor team, nothing else that you do will make the church healthy.
We consider both objective and subjective qualifications…
- Education: recommended >20 seminary hours
- Ministry experience: >5 years full-time ministry, preferably in a leadership position
- Marriage and family: >2 years married
- Age: >28 years old
- Willing to commit to the church long-term
- Agreement with doctrinal statement
- Agreement with vision and values
- Ministry skills: seen fruit? List the names of people who would point to church planter as a key person in their spiritual development.
- Strong recommendations from people who have worked directly with planter.
- Leadership skills: able to lead, have followers? Able to lead strongly without controlling? Can do mentality, optimist, able to deal with conflict, not afraid to have conflict, solid record of hiring and firing the right people, not prone to depression or discouragement, not perfectionist, able to admit to poor decisions, can handle stress, not workaholic, self-starter, apostolic person, started other ministries.
- Work through 1 Tim. 3 and Titus 1 together. Any concerns?
- Interview with wife. Is she onboard? Will she add to the ministry or be a drain?
- Does the planter agree to sponsoring church values for a new church?
- Should the planter be a lead pastor? Campus pastor in a multi-site church? On a church planting team, but not the leader? Something else?
- Does the planter fit into the cultural context/location of the new church?
What would you add or modify?