By Danny Wood
In the past 15 years, our church has been the Sending Church for one church plant and a Supporting Church for 29 church plants in nine Send Cities. When we look for a church plant to support, hearing from the pastor of this new work is a major determinative factor.
There are five things I as a potential partner want to hear plainly expressed by the church planter:
1. Share your heart for the city. Tell the story of your call to church planting. Explain why you feel you are specifically called to this city. Let me as a potential partner hear your passion for reaching the lost of this city. Passion carries power. It communicates an energy, a desire, a willingness to work hard to advance God’s kingdom in this city. If I see in the pastor a fire burning within, I am more apt to partner with him and his church. One who has a heart for his city will keep his hand to the plow, even when the going gets tough. Share your heart for the city.
2. Clearly share a vision for reaching your part of the city. Share a clear and compelling vision of what the next one, three, and five years will look like. Sure, things will change, but as a potential partner I want to know that the tracks being laid down are heading somewhere! Share the bigger picture. Help me see the grander vision God has placed on your heart and in your mind. Let me step into your world and see through your eyes the work that God is doing and can do in your part of the city. Vision not only inspires and motivates the members of the church, it does the same for potential partners.
3. Talk openly about the challenges and obstacles. Church planting is difficult, and there are some hard areas to begin a work. Be upfront and let your potential partners know of the challenges. Specify the obstacles you see. As a partner, I want to be informed of how to best pray for the church plant and pastor. Often a partner is drawn to a plant because of the challenges. A church can be motivated to come alongside and partner by the fact that a pastor and his family are willing to step out in faith and obey God’s call to such a difficult place. They also will be more understanding and helpful, knowing the daily challenges the pastor is facing.
4. Explain the strategic entryways of reaching your mission field. Every church plant location is different. The communities are different, and the ways to gain favor and make an impact are different. However, every community has entryways. It could be certain industries, sports activities, medical needs, educational needs, construction needs, the arts, etc. Being specific helps potential partners evaluate whether their church is a right fit for this partnership. There will be potential partners whose church makeup and skill set will be a perfect match with the entryways the church planter has identified. Adding the strategic entryways gives potential partners an easy-to-see tangible reason for developing a partnership.
5. Specifically explain how the partnering church can help. The more specific you are, the better. As a supporting church, I want to do more than just write a check; I want to truly partner. That means I want some skin in the game. I want to actively pray and participate, along with providing financial support. To do this, I need to know specifically how our church can best assist the church plant. Be specific in what your needs are and how we can help:
- If you need us to bring mission teams, tell me what you need the teams to do.
- If you have specific building needs such as renovation, let me know.
- If there is a need for medical or educational teams, be specific.
I listen for a church planter to specifically share the church’s needs for the present and future. As he shares, I am seeing people and ministries in our church that can be a great fit.
Heart. Passion. Vision. Challenges. Obstacles. Strategic entryways. Specific needs. Skin the game. Essentials for strong, effective partnerships for church planting!
Danny Wood has served as pastor of Shades Mountain Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, for 21 years. He graduated from Auburn University with a degree in Business Marketing and began a career in marketing with AT&T in Birmingham. After 8 1/2 years in the business world, he was called to full-time ministry. He attended Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and received a Master of Divinity degree in 1986, then was called as pastor of First Baptist Church of Ruston, Louisiana, in 1988. In March 1997, he was called to Shades Mountain, and in 1999 earned the Doctor of Ministry degree from Beeson Divinity School in Birmingham. Danny’s wife, Janice, is an artist and decorator. They have one daughter, Lauren.
Published June 17, 2018