- Jim Townsley
- Oct 25, 2011
Every pastor of a growing and vibrant church has learned the art of borrowing ideas from other preachers and churches. No man should be ashamed of learning from the wisdom and experience of others. I believe good men of God purposefully look for ideas from other good men. When visiting other churches look for ideas that may be implemented into your own ministry. Every church, whether large or small, may have a good idea which can be found in the nursery, Sunday school, foyer, or in another part of the building. Purposely explore the building and you may find something that will help you in your ministry. It may be a help now, but if not it may prove beneficial in the future.
While on deputation a special opportunity is afforded to every church planter that will probably never be repeated. During a typical deputation approximately one hundred churches will be visited. During this vital process a gold mine of opportunity will be available. Every church contains an opportunity to learn something new. Some of the lessons you will learn will be, "What not to do." Other churches will reveal, "What you should do." Both will teach you valuable information that will help you in planting a successful church.
To gain the most from every church arrive early. An early arrival will provide time to tour the building and spend time speaking to the pastor. Ask the pastor or a staff member for a tour of the property. In addition, ask the pastor for ideas about the ministry and specifically about church planting. Ask for specific suggestions concerning your church plant. The pastor may have many ideas that will never be known unless you ask.
Some things to explore are: the nursery, the bathrooms, the pastor's office, classrooms, fellowship hall, the kitchen, the heating/cooling system, and the music room. I would pay close attention to the sound room, the song books, the platform, flags, and wall hangings as well as the missionary board. Write down some of the things you notice so that you don't forget what you learned.
Some questions to ask the pastor might include: How do they support missionaries? Do they have a mission's conference? What books has he read recently that he could recommend? What is the vision for future of his church? Who does he know that might give support for your new church? Does the pastor have a day off and how does he manage stress. What conferences does he recommend for spiritual refreshment? Does he send his young people to camp? If so, where? Ask for a copy of the churches constitution as well as any other written policies that they follow. Does the pastor have any dangers that you should consider? The pastor and his wife offer an opportunity to learn more about the ministry and help to better prepare for the challenges ahead. The church planter must not be too proud to ask important questions and learn from the voices of experience. One common characteristic of successful church planters is the desire to seek advice from men of experience. When a young man indicates he plans to start a church and he plans on doing it his way, while ignoring the advice of other successful men he is most likely doomed to failure.
Also, valuable suggestions can be gained from visiting preachers. A visiting evangelist's wife gave me one of the best suggestions I have ever received. Our new church was having a problem finding a pianist. It was suggested to me to purchase an additional piano (It could be a keyboard) so that new learners could play along during the service without fear of being the main pianist and facing possible embarrassment by making mistakes. Two years after purchasing that used piano our church went from two pianists to twelve. If only I had implemented this idea sooner!
The church planter's home pastor is one of the most important resources of counsel and help available. Following the advice of the pastor from his home church can spare him untold misery and failure. Every man must learn the importance of accountability and it will be his best friend in the minstry for years to come. Seeking godly counsel is biblical and practical. The man who learns this art will be far ahead of others that ignore the help of good godly men.