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Training Church Planters to be both Fruitful and Faithful – Ongoing Training for Trainers – with Darrin Patrick


Darrin Patrick serves as a teaching pastor at Seacoast Church in Charleston, SC. In 2002, he became the founding pastor of The Journey Church in St. Louis. He is the author of multiple books including Church Planter: The Man, the Message, the Mission. In addition to his responsibilities with Seacoast, Darrin is currently serving leaders in several church planting networks, focusing on the emotional health of church planters.

Darrin is the former chaplain to the St. Louis Cardinals and former vice-president of the Acts 29 church planting network. He earned a BA in Bible and Biblical Languages from Southwest Baptist University (1994), graduated summa cum laude from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (MDiv, 1997) and received a DMin degree from Covenant Theological Seminary (2010). Darrin is married to Amie and they have four children. He enjoys reading, writing and coaching his kid’s sports teams.

Before you listen to the podcast, take a simple self-assessment. Give yourself a score on a scale of 1-10, 10 being high.

___ I encourage planters to resist being solo entrepreneurs. Instead, I encourage them to slow down to become part of a church planting team.

___ I work hard at helping the planters I train to be able to feel, to process, and to navigate the emotions connected to ministry and to church planting (emotions like joy, anger, fear, disgust, hope and surprise).

___ Because I realize that the emotional health of the planter is vital to the ongoing fruitfulness of the church plant, I encourage the planters I train to find an experienced leader to pastor them and to find a trained counselor to process their emotions.

___ Total

Where did you score highest? Lowest? What does this score tell you about your ability to help planters to be emotionally healthy? What steps might you take to help your planters not only develop their technical planting skills but also their emotional health?

Now, listen to the podcast with Darrin Patrick. Afterwards, answer the following questions.

Darrin points out that in His humanity, Jesus experienced emotions. Planters need to recognize that if Jesus had emotions, they will have emotions, too. Darrin said, “Our ability to navigate – feel, process and move through – emotions will determine our fruit in ministry.” How might you become more comfortable sharing with the planters your own emotional journey and how it has impacted your ministry? What are some tools that have helped you grow in your emotional health that you could share with your planters?

Darrin explains why church plants don’t always attract the most emotionally mature people. In fact, they often attract the most broken people who cannot give a lot of support, love and encouragement to the planter. So, planters can feel very alone. Because of the pressure to perform, they end up “over the end of their skis” and “get away from gospel truths.” What are ways you will help your planter not only preach gospel intimacy with Jesus but to make sure he is living it?

Darrin said, “There is only one person who has the foot on the gas pedal in your life.” How will you challenge the planters you are training to slow down and to avoid joining the “Evangelical Industrial Complex”? How will you help them guard against gaining a sense of self-worth by the activity they do?

Darrin was candid in admitting his character couldn’t handle the level of success Journey Church experienced. What are a few practical ideas you can implement so your planter’s fruitfulness does not outpace your planter’s faithfulness?

Darrin was passionate in sharing that we should never elevate faithfulness over fruitfulness. Planters are to bear both John 15 and Galatians 5 fruit, and we should be both faithful and fruitful. He makes the point that most church planting tribes celebrate one more than the other: faithfulness over fruitfulness or fruitfulness over faithfulness. He encourages planters to know which side his church planting tribe might lean and to find mentors who will emphasize the other.

In your opinion, which side does your tribe lean? How can you help your planters find other leaders who can invest in helping your planters experience the other emphasis?

After listening to this podcast, what is God saying to you about how you can help a planter become more emotionally healthy? When will you start? Who will help you?

You can follow Darrin on Twitter at @darrinpatrick. You can listen to him on The Pastor’s Collective at http://pastorscollective.com.

Books and resources mentioned in this podcast.

The Relational Soul: Moving from False Self to Deep Connection

Church Planter: The Man, the Message, the Mission