Qualifications for a church planter: Part 2

In part one, I indicated how Jeff Foxworthy has entertained audiences across North America by poking fun at his Southern roots. One of his most popular bits captures his sarcastic humor in the rhetorical phrase, “You might be a redneck if…

…you own a homemade fur coat!”
…you prefer car keys to Q-tips!”
…your 5th grade is referred to as your senior year!”
…your school fight song is ‘Dueling Banjo’s!’”

You have to chuckle a little…or you just might be a redneck! I could go on as there are thousands of these one-liner, pithy little statements that create an image in our minds of how we can spot a redneck.

In Part 1, I identified the first three characteristics that helps to identify someone who “might be a church planter” and didn’t know it if:

1. You are a risk-taker who likes to start new things.
2. You have a number of people who naturally follow you.
3. You like to involve and empower people in what you need to get done.

So, to finish out our list, “You might be a church planter if…”

4. You enjoy friendships with those who are not a part of the church family.
The need and purpose for church planting is to more effectively engage others with the gospel. Numerous studies conducted over the past several years show that church planting is the most effective means for evangelism. Church plant statistics report higher ratios of salvations and baptisms to attendance than established churches. However, evangelism is both a team and individual sport. The collective efforts of evangelism can never replace the individual responsibility that every image-bearer has in sharing, showing and living the gospel. Church planters are marked by the desire, ability, and comfort of engaging in relationships with those who are in process with the gospel. It is for these relationships that church planters orient their lives around in order to help those still far from God, find, fall in love and follow Jesus. If you find yourself surrounded by people who are still in process in regards to the Gospel, you just might be a church planter in the making.

5. You like to teach, and people talk about how your teaching impacts them.
Romans 10:14 indicates the necessity of preaching in order to move people toward salvation and faith. The mode of preaching may vary according to context, but at the end of the day, the ability to effectively and dynamically communicate the eternal, life-changing truths of Scripture is critical to church planting. Does this mean that unless you are a skilled orator or theologian par excellence, that you won’t succeed as a church planter? Emphatically, no! However, church planters like to teach and like to understand how to take the never-changing truths of Scripture and communicate them to an ever-changing culture. Planters show an aptitude and/or gifting in being able to communicate in ways that draws people in, engages them and moves them to consider the claims of Scripture for their lives. If you are a person that people enjoy listening to, you just might be a church planter in the making.

6. Your spouse (if married) is both supportive and ready to take on the greatest adventure of your lives.
The first place a planter is to pastor is in the home. The covenant commitment to the spouse is a higher priority than any relationship outside of Jesus. God will use our spouses to help us better understand who we are, who He is, and what He is doing in our lives. Spousal support is critical and essential. When the spouse is looking to step forward in a new venture of faith, it very well could be a confirmation from God that He wants to write a new chapter of faith in and through your life. The intensity of the calling to plant in the spouse could differ from the planter, however the sense of peace and support will be in harmony. If you have a spouse that is giving support to the crazy idea of pushing back lostness to advance the kingdom through planting a church, well, you just might be a church planter in the making.

I am convinced that church planters are all around us; they just haven’t realized it is what they were created to do. So, look around, but also look within…because you just might be a church planter in the making!

Published September 29, 2016