Debunking Common Church Planting Objections: We’ll Lose Our Best Leaders

By Shane Critser

In the last post, we considered one of the most common objections to church planting — the cost. Today, we will address two more claims that a pastor is sure to hear if he tries to lead his church to become a Sending Church for a church plant.

“We can’t afford to lose our best leaders”

Often a Sending Church puts forward a key leader to captain the church planting venture. Many times,this person has been on the pastoral staff or played some other key role in the life of the church. The fact that this person, and perhaps others on a church planting team, are considered viable candidates for a new church plant means they’ve likely been valuable disciple-makers and leaders for years. The void their absence will create is clear to everyone.

I say, you can’t afford not to! I think God is just as concerned, if not more, with how many we send out as He is with how many we seat in our Sunday morning services. Yes, you may “lose” your best, but don’t minimize the awesome fact that another church is receiving your best. And by sending (not losing) your best, you open up spots for other leaders to become your “new” best!

This actually is a great leadership development strategy. By sending them out, you are forced to make new leaders! Jack Welch, former CEO of GE, said, “If the best person to take over as CEO is an outsider, your company has failed. You send the message, ‘You are not good enough, you stink, and I have to go outside to shape you guys up.’” When we don’t develop our lay people to do big things and be our churches’ best, what are we communicating to them? There’s a proven reality among Sending Churches: No sooner do you send your best, than God replaces them with new leaders, ready to be developed and deployed as well.

“It will destroy our growth momentum”

Sometimes churches sense a desire to send church plants as a result of an influx of growth and health due to a resurge of missionary fervor. The thought is often, “Why would we want to mess up a good thing? This church is growing and now we’re talking about sending some of our best people. That will certainly slow things down!”

I’ve actually seen the opposite effect. When people visit your church and they see you celebrating people’s leadership capabilities and sending them out to do great things, this inspires new people to join in. People are drawn to where things are happening. There are plenty of clubs people can join to have their preferences and expectations met. But a church is meant to be a launching pad for God’s kingdom and a place for people to join Him in what He’s doing.

Don’t ignore the simple truth that God often just blesses you with more people when you send them out. I know this was true for the church I was part of most recently. Every time we sent 50 out to help plant a church, God would send us new people. Our momentum never slowed. It actually increased and allowed us more seats for all the new people who came to watch God move. Sending people out is a great solution to being too crowded in your services.

Both of these objections reveal natural instincts church members are likely to have regarding sending church plants. Wise leaders can calmly and graciously respond to these objections and point their people to trust in God’s care and excitement about His mission.,

Published July 31, 2018

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Shane Critser

Shane Critser lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Jennifer, and their three kids, Chase, Chloe and Charley. Before moving to Los Angeles, Shane served as the director of church and missionary discovery at NAMB. He previously served as the mission pastor at Hope Baptist Church in Las Vegas, Nev. You can follow Shane on Twitter @shanecritser.