And, a little confession here…for many years, I thought I would never plant a church.
Let me back up. It was 15 years ago that God originally laid the original dream and seed on my heart to plant a church. Then, about 8 years ago, I heard a Pastor speak about the need to bring energy, passion and fresh vision into dying churches. For a long time, I thought God would open a door for me to head into a church on it’s last legs, and help bring new vision.
But, in January of 2012, God erupted my passion and my heart for Church Planting. He made it abundantly clear that He’s called me to plant a church.
So, I have a lot of conversations…phone, face to face, email, facebook, blog, and twitter about planting a new church. In all the time that I’ve had these conversations, there are some common misconceptions about church planting that are pop up over and over again. I thought I would address the primary ones I find.
1. There’s something wrong with other Churches.
Planting a Church on the sole reason that there is something wrong with other Churches is the wrong reason to plant and it’s a misconception.
Some people think new churches are needed because there’s an influx of problems at existing churches. Well, actually, that’s sort of true. Yes, the local church is the hope of the world and it’s the bride of Christ…but it does have it’s fair share of problems. Planting a new church because there were or are problems at other churches is just wrong.
2. We don’t need any more Churches.
There are some churches and Pastors that don’t cast any vision for church planting. So, the idea of a new church launching is a total and foreign concept to some people. Sometimes they look around and think, my church is awesome and there is a church on every corner…we don’t need any more churches. That is probably true about how awesome their church is, but…
The reality is…WE DO.
To keep up with the population expansion and the growing apathy towards God and His church, new churches are needed. New churches are needed to reach new people for Jesus.
3. Someone has to be ticked off or upset and that’s why they’re or a team is planting.
Way too often people think that new churches purely stem from someone getting pissed off or upset at their current church. I know some churches have started that way, but that’s not the way to go! That is absolutely the wrong way to plant a church.
And, not all churches start that way. Many start primarily because God has laid a compelling vision and a call to start a new church.
Church = Building, right?!? WRONG! The Church is often associated with a building and people think you can’t start a church unless you own your own building. That’s so not true. Those people need to be reminded that Church is not a Building, but a movement of People unleashing the Hope of Christ into a hurting world.
5. You need to be associated with a denomination.
I only hear this from a certain group of people. Especially folks who really resonate with their denomination. The truth is, you don’t need to plant through a denomination. You can and there are great denominations out there, but anyone can plant a church.
I especially hear this from my very conservative Catholic friends. God bless these friends and I’m not trying to be judgmental. But, these friends attend Church maybe on C & E and what they know about God is a religion. It’s my opinion, and of course, I am probably wrong, but in my conversations with them…they never talk about their relationship with Jesus.
So, when they hear about a church starting in a movie theater or a school or a bar, it’s so foreign to them. They can’t understand why there isn’t a Priest or the traditions they’re use to a few times a year.
6. A seminary degree is needed for the church planter.
Hmmm. Church Planting worked pretty well for Peter and he didn’t have a seminary degree. Many years later, a young man named Bill Hybels started a church called Willow Creek and he didn’t have a seminary degree. And the list goes on and on.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I think a seminary degree is great. I wish I would have been able to go and earn a big time degree. I have an undergraduate degree from a now defunk Bible college. Sure I had Greek and homiletics and all that stuff. But, I didn’t go on to pursue my MDIV. I got wrapped up in being a full time youth pastor and that was my life.
So, I don’t have one personally and I’m jealous of my friends who do. I know it will help them greatly in the long run. But, it’s a misconception that you need to be a seminary graduate to be a pastor or a church planter.
All that being said. I am hoping to head back to school and earn a Masters degree. It probably won’t be an MDIV, ok, I know it won’t, but it will be something that add great value to my role as pastor and church planter.
7. You have to launch with Great amount of Money and Pizzaz!
Yes, money is helpful, but it’s not everything. I’m not sure how much money the early church had and it did just fine. Didn’t it? I think sometimes we put way too much stock on stuff anyways. Now, don’t get me wrong. One our brand new churches roadblocks is our lack of stuff. We don’t own a sound system. We don’t own lights. We don’t own stuff. We’re having to borrow it and I’ve actually asked Church leaders and friends if they would donate some stuff to our church from their closets.
But, I believe at it’s core you need…
Call (from God) + People (who need God) + Vision (what we’re doing for God) = Potential Lifechange through the Local Church