Church planting is one of the greatest callings and privileges in ministry.
It’s an incredible way to reach people far from God. You meet people and invest in lives to a degree that you never imagined when you said “Yes” to planting a church.
But, church planting certainly has its fair share of challenges, too. It’s not easy or for the faint-hearted.
Our family has the privilege to be on this church planting journey now for eight years. The number one question I get asked is “How did you know you were called to start a church?” The second most asked question is “How did you decide where to plant a church?”
Before I answer those questions, here are a few reasons not to start a church:
- It sounds cool.
- You are mad at your current pastor.
- You think you can lead a church better than others.
- You’re not sure what else to do.
If any of the above describes you right now, I encourage you to go back to the drawing board or more importantly the prayer closet. Let God do a great work in you and reveal the great work He wants to do through you.
Once you settle the basics, here are four ways to know if God is calling you to start a church.
1. Those closest to you confirm the calling.
Your pastor, mentors, and other godly influences close to you will confirm what God is doing in your life. Listen to them. They can save you a lot of pain. Do they believe in you and what God has placed in your heart? Are you willing to follow their counsel? Let the men and women who have been there before speak in to your life.
2. You can’t do anything else.
I often tell people if you can do anything else then do it. You will want to give up. There are days you will want to throw in the towel. Those will be the days you will come back to the place of saying “I can’t do anything else!” No matter how great or ugly it looks right now, this is my calling. Write out a list of other ways you can serve in ministry. If any of those sound more appealing, then do it!
3. You have a supernatural love for the city.
Once you settle the fact you are called to plant a church, you will begin to pray about where to plant. For us, there were several cities we considered. We couldn’t get away from our love for one of the cities above others. There were definitely things we didn’t like but we loved the people within the city! It was a place we could call home and really plant our lives not just a church. Do you love a city more than others? Do you genuinely love the people in that city or do you tolerate them? These are important questions to wrestle with and settle in your heart.
4. Your spouse is called and not just you.
Church planting is a tag team sport. You will need each other. Whether both spouses are directly involved every day or not, you are both called. Don’t underestimate the need for both of you to be on the same page regarding starting a church and the location. Your marriage will be tested. Your family will be stretched. In those moments, you can’t blame the other person for where you are. You must both unite in this calling over your lives. It will be an incredible experience with many challenges but there is nothing like serving the Lord together! Your spouse was not meant to complete you but to complement you. Get on the same page regarding this calling. You will need the gifts that both of you bring to this journey of church planting.