Fruit First

STEVEby Steve Cordle

There are many excellent church planter assessment programs being offered today. However, before sending a candidate to an assessment program, I look for one trait: have they started and multiplied a group?

Not everyone who multiplies a cell should plant a church, but everyone who wants to plant a church should first multiply a cell. This can save a lot of heartache and money. If someone cannot gather people in a group and equip a new leader, they will not be effective as a cell-church planter, no matter how much they desire to do so.

If the cell is the basic building block of the church, then those who seek to start a church need to be able to create that basic unit.

Ideally, the planter should be able to start a cell not only from within an existing church, but also be able to add unchurched people to the group. When that is happening, you have a candidate to send to the church planter assessment program!



Presence, Passion, Persistence and Perspective

by Michael Sove

One of my favorite talks is to hear Mario Vega tell his story and the importance of passion and persistence.  This week as we are talking about the qualities of church planters, those two words fit perfectly with the qualities that would make a great church planter.  From my own life and experience of planting, rescuing and merging churches, I want to add a few more.

The most important quality for someone who would plant a church is what I call “Presence.”  Their number one role is to stay very close to God.  He is the source, the power, the real leader of any movement to reach the unreached.  Prayer and listening followed by obedience is critical in any church planting endeavor.

Next is “Passion.”  A church planter needs to have passion for this calling.  This includes passion for God, passion for people and passion for the vision God gives.  Passion is the fuel that will help this point person gather a core team, reach out to the lost, and lead the vision.

Of course “Persistence” is the quality that will keep the church planter going when they face the obstacles, doubts and perhaps the dark night of the soul that comes with any new venture.  Persistence keeps the church planter going when they cannot see any progress or come up against an unforeseen challenge.

Another quality I want to address is what I call “Perspective.”  The very qualities that help a church planter to succeed can also hurt those closest to them.  Make sure your spouse and or children are not lost in the process of planting.  The demands of church planting can wreak havoc on a marriage or a family unless balance is maintained.

If I could do it all over again, I would spend even more time with God, plant with a team and protect my family by giving them priority time in my schedule and not assuming they’ll understand.  May more churches be planted for the sake of the lost and the Glory of God.



Working Together to Plant Churches


by Mario Vega

One of the characteristics of church planters is that they must have an appreciation for the Body of Christ. This appreciation should manifest itself in an effort to achieve cooperation with other denominations.

Probably one of the main weaknesses in church planting is the duplication of efforts due to lack of strategic effort and failure to utilize the experience of others. Knowing what others are planning and communication of goals is vital to develop a joint effort. This effort can build team work in the area of finances, human resources, and more effective evangelization.

When working in isolation, planting new churches can be counterproductive to other efforts that are already taking place. This may even lead to an unnecessary competition between denominations. It is not about extending a personal or ecclesiastical kingdom. It is about extending the kingdom of God.

It’s not necessary that each denomination has its own name posted in every sector of the city. What is important is that the church is a light in every community. Instead of accumulating churches side by side on a street, it is best to place them strategically to get a much more extensive and wider network. In this way the body of Christ can work together, rather than work as a personal enterprise.



Translation into Spanish

La cooperación en la plantación de iglesias.

Una de las cualidades de los plantadores de iglesias es que deben tener un aprecio por el Cuerpo de Cristo. Este aprecio debe manifestarse en un esfuerzo por alcanzar la cooperación con otras denominaciones.

Probablemente, una de las mayores debilidades en la plantación de iglesias sea la de la duplicación de esfuerzos, el desaprovechamiento de la experiencia de otros y la falta de una visión estratégica. El conocer lo que otros planean y el dar a conocer lo que se piensa es vital para elaborar un esfuerzo conjunto. Este esfuerzo permite construir acuerdos para una optimización de las finanzas, la disponibilidad de recursos humanos y una mayor eficacia evangelizadora.

Cuando se trabaja de manera aislada, el plantar nuevas iglesias puede llegar a ser contraproducente para otros esfuerzos que ya se hacen. Incluso, puede conducir a una competencia innecesaria entre denominaciones. No se trata de extender un reinado eclesiástico o personal. Se trata de extender el reino de Dios.

Probablemente en determinado sector o ciudad no habrá un edificio con el nombre de cada denominación existente. Tal vez, el nombre de una denominación no se encuentre; pero, lo importante es que exista una iglesia que sea la luz en esa comunidad. En lugar de acumular iglesias, lado a lado sobre una calle, es mejor ubicarlas estratégicamente para obtener una red mucho más extensa y amplia. De esa manera, se estará trabajando como Cuerpo de Cristo y no como una empresa personal.

Qualifications of Church Planters

by Jeff Tunnell

Saved, called, set apart. Sent, anointed, sincere.  Knowledgeable, understanding scripture, fearless. Undeterred by persecution, bold, willing to die.  Workers of miracles, preachers of revelation, servants of Jesus.  Dependent, praying, faithful.  Heralds of Good News, dispensers of truth, confounders of religion.  Eyewitnesses of the works of Christ, obedient to His commands, sharers in His sufferings.  Stewards of grace, seekers of a homeland, strangers and pilgrims on the earth.

These are a few “qualifications” I found in the book of Acts of the Apostles for church planters!  The New Testament evangelists were motivated by a passion that pushes a person beyond caring for the comforts offered by this world, in order to obtain the promises given by the Savior.


Two Essential Qualities for Church Planters

joelby 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.

2. Training.

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, “The single most effective evangelistic methodology under heaven is planting new churches (“Church Planting For a Greater Harvest,” Page 7).

Are you called to plant a church? Do you have plans to give birth to a daughter church? Additional comments?