Kingdom work as a whole — and certainly church planting — is not meant to be a solo journey. How can we engage and invite others along with us toward church planting?
Here are five suggestions you can incorporate to foster and develop others toward church planting engagement:
1. Bathe your partnership efforts in prayer. Don’t skip over this too quickly. This is not a cursory or obligatory point. Scripture expressly tells us to pray specifically that God would call others to engage in these efforts: “The harvest is abundant, but the workers are few. Therefore, pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest.” (Luke 10:2 CSB) Faithfully pray that God will work in hearts and raise up many more to engage in church planting efforts.
2. Get to know potential partner churches. Healthy relationships are not one-sided. Be genuinely interested in others. Take time to get to know your potential partners. What’s going on with them? What are they burdened about? How could you help them? Again, Scripture is clear, “Everyone should look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:4 CSB) “A man who has friends must himself be friendly.” (Proverbs 18:24 NKJV) Along with this admonition is the encouragement to communicate regularly with those you are inviting to join you in this journey. Don’t let the only time they hear from you be when you’re asking for something.
3. Celebrate what God is doing in a broader context. Excitedly communicate what God is doing in the Send City and across the region where you are helping to plant a church. As a sending church hoping to recruit others, rejoice over what God is doing, beyond just your efforts. God’s work is bigger than any one of us. Henry Blackaby’s counsel still rings wise, “Find out where God is working and join Him there.” As you rejoice over all God is doing, it fosters an atmosphere to invite others to join you in what God is doing where you are.
4. Be clear about the various ways partners can join the effort. Financial partnerships certainly are important, but don’t just be looking for a handout. For instance, learn best practices from other partner churches and planters. How are they able to utilize volunteer teams? Some churches and planters do a really good job at this, others struggle with knowing how to deploy and leverage this incredible resource. Churches that really want to engage in church planting want to invest more thoroughly, beyond financial assistance.
5. Communicate the great need, inviting them to be a part. Then see what God does. Even regarding prayer, the Bible talks about how “You do not have because you do not ask.” (James 4:2 CSB) As you ask, the invitation toward church planting may result in a partnership, but it may be the catalyst God uses to foster His work in ways other than how you envisioned. The apostle Paul said, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.” (1 Corinthians 3:6 CSB) Ask, pray, invite others to join you, and trust God for the results.
As you pray, while fostering healthy relationships celebrating all God is doing, as you ask and invite others to partner with you, God will provide for the needs of the church plant. New partnerships will be developed. And more and more will begin to get engaged in church planting efforts.
May the Lord of the harvest answer our prayers, as we seek to join Him where He is working.
Published June 20, 2018