by Joel Comiskey
Two weeks ago when I challenged the 800 cell leaders and supervisors at Bethel International Church to be church planters, I realized that those who responded would need two key qualities:
1. Call of God.
When a person is called by God to plant a church, he or she will hang in there until it’s accomplished. A lack of a true calling by God is why many church planters give up. If the church planter is married, this means that both husband and wife are called. I’ve witnessed church planting failures due to the hesitancy and resistance of a spouse. Jesus told us to count the cost before making a decision to follow Him. Counting the “church planting cost” means that both husband and wife are in one hundred percent agreement before starting the church.
Some church planters will be trained formally in a seminary / Bible college setting while others will receive training through the local church (e.g., biblical knowledge, church planting principles, etc.).
Beyond the knowledge is the foundational training of leading and multiplying a cell group before trying to plant a cell church. Why? Because this is essentially what the church planter will be doing when planting the church. Bob Roberts, Jr., church planting pastor and author of The Multiplying Church, writes:
The church planting interns start small groups in our church, so they are part of our normal, ongoing community. They get to “take with them” anyone they reach in their small group, keeping in mind that the majority of their people are going to come from outside Northwood. If they can’t start a small group, why should they think they can start a church? If all they do is gather existing church members for their small group, they haven’t indicated their ability to plant a church. When they gather people from outside Northwood, we start getting excited (The Multiplying Church, p. 66).
Leading and multiplying a small group gives the church planter confidence to do the same in a church planting setting. Simple cell church planting is all about raising up leaders for the harvest who can lead home groups and keep the process going.
More church planters needed
I believe that many more are called to plant churches than are actually doing it. As Steve Cordle mentioned last week, “Over 180 million Americans do not have a vital church connection and less than 5% of churches are growing through reaching the un-churched.” In other parts of the world, the statistics are far worse. Cordle then quotes Peter Wagner’s famous declaration, â€œThe single most effective evangelistic methodology under heaven is planting new churches (â€œChurch Planting For a Greater Harvest,â€ Page 7).
Are you called to plant a church? Do you have plans to give birth to a daughter church? Additional comments?