What are the steps to becoming a church planter?

By Kevin Ezell

If you were ever part of a sports team growing up you probably had a coach who drilled you on the fundamentals of the game over and over again. Sometimes maybe even until you were sick of it! But good coaches know that if you have the fundamentals down, in the heat of the game when the pressure is on, you will fall back on them without even thinking about it. That’s the value of practice and preparation. We started our missionary Farm System a few years ago for that same reason. We wanted to help people who already demonstrated skill, talent and a calling from God to develop the fundamentals of ministry on the real life ministry field. This experience is provided through the different roles available through NAMB’s Farm System.

Good coaches know that if you have the fundamentals down, in the heat of the game when the pressure is on, you will fall back on them without even thinking about it

Student Missionary

For eight weeks or longer, high school or college-age students have a chance to serve in a ministry setting, developing and implementing their own outreach strategies and experiencing first-hand the ministry field where they could someday serve full-time.

Church Planting Intern

For up to a year or more as an intern these missionaries serve on the mission field carrying out church planting tasks and getting to know church planting from the inside out.

Church Planting Apprentice

These men are mentored by an approved church planter in the Send Citywhere they intend to plant.

Church Planter

These men take the lead in establishing a new church. Muche Ukegbu recently completed the Farm System process and he said “You teach what you know, but you reproduce who you are. In the last five years, being around solid men and being able to engage with them, lead with them and have them pour into me has made all the difference in the world.” Now Muche will be launching his own church plant in Miami this Easter weekend. Before long, we hope his new church will be a place where future student missionaries and church planting interns can go to gain experience. We need thousands of students and others to answer the call to ministry over the next few years. Maybe you are one of them or maybe there are several in your church who have that potential. You can come alongside them now and help them take steps that will get them started. I hope many of them will end up being church planters in North America in the places most in need of new churches, but some might follow a path to global missions or another ministry call and that’s fine too. The Farm System goal is to produce solid ministry leaders and team members who will know and can implement the fundamentals wherever they end up serving.

Published April 2, 2015

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Kevin Ezell

Dr. Kevin Ezell serves as the president of the North American Mission Board, providing strategic vision, direction and leadership as NAMB works with state partners in helping Southern Baptists to reach North America through evangelism and evangelistic church planting. He and his wife, Lynette, have six children, Anna, Shelly, Taylor, John Michael, Libby and Micah Lyn.