- Jim Townsley
- Oct 4, 2011
Although there is no specific stereotype of a church planter, there are some qualities that are absolutely necessary. One of those qualities is the ability to be flexible. There will be many last minutes changes as well as situations that require the ability to be adaptable. The landlord may call suddenly and inform you the facility cannot be used and you will need to find another place to meet for the next service. Needed materials may not show up on time or a host of unexpected changes can affect the new church.
Not only does the new pastor need to be flexible, but he also needs to have a mind set of, "Whatever it takes I will do it." This mindset may mean you must stay up all night painting, or it may mean you must give a ride to someone for church, or it could mean a host of other possibilities. Perhaps someone promised to prepare your temporary signs and you find out the night before the first service it has not been done. You may be required to hustle and get the job done by yourself.
A mindset must be established that you will do whatever is necessary to get the job done. It may be necessary to spend extra money and dip into your savings or perhaps even to spend your last dollar. The determination to start and build this new church must be all consuming by the preacher and his wife. There is no doubt sacrifice and adaptability will be needed.
Few if any new churches are properly funded. Usually a fundamental church is endeavoring to accomplish the ministry by stretching the money and cutting costs. Eating out at nice restaurants, driving a new car, and buying new clothes will be very limited. This sacrifice may be short lived, but it will almost certainly face the leaders of this new church. A book on church planting was written several years ago and its title tells all, "Getting a Church Started In The Face Of Insurmountable Odds With Limited Resources In Unlikely Places." This long title well describes the challenge of church planting.
Anyone considering starting a church must recognize that giving birth to a body of believers requires an element of pain. Child birth is always painful, but always rewarding. God gifts each person in different ways, but always accompanying a church planter is the spirit of sacrifice, that prompts a man to do whatever it takes.
Our church, which was started in 1975, has experienced five major remodeling and building programs. In every program we did not have the means to complete the project. We believed it was needed and that God was leading us to do it and that He would supply the funds. In every project it was difficult and it never seemed we had the money or personnel to complete the job, but somehow God enabled us to do it. Church building requires faith. "For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith." Romans 1:17 But not only does church building require faith it also requires sacrifice. "For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?" Luke 14:28
One of my college professors warned me to "expect the unexpected." My teacher was right. The pastor's wife and children must be prepared to sacrifice. If the pastor has the proper attitude toward the ministry and the needed sacrifice, his family will also follow him gladly and enjoy serving together. God has a way of blessing those who give their best to Him. It has been said, "God gives the best to those who leave the choice to Him." Consider the life of Ruth in the Old Testament. She was determined to serve the God of Israel and the Bible indicates she was willing to die in Israel with her faith in the one true God. She followed her mother-in-law, leaving behind her own relatives and the comfort and surroundings of which she was familiar. In the end, God gave her a wealthy Israelite for a husband and a child, Obed, who became the grandfather of King David. Ultimately, Ruth is one of only four women listed in the genealogy of Christ.
David is another wonderful example of doing whatever it takes to fulfill the will of God when he exclaimed, "Is there not a cause?" He understood Goliath was defying his God and that something must be done to vindicate God's name. He went in the power of God and did what was necessary to defeat God's enemy.
We must have this same spirit that often requires sacrifice, courage, and flexibility. We too can see God perform miracles in the building of a church for His glory. Indeed, God gives the best to those who serve Him.