Characteristics of a Successful Church Planter

by | Jul 14, 2022 | Church Leadership, Church Planting, Coaching | 0 comments

A while back, I wrote a blog post entitled – The 5 P’s of Church Planting

The five P’s have been essential in the assessment process that God revealed to me over time for a church planter to be successful. I have used the “5 P’s” with over 100 church planters with outstanding results. There is one more P that I am looking for which comes out of Steve Sjogren‘s influence on my life. The 5th and final “P” is the  Personal Gift of Gathering.

I have studied pastors and church planters throughout the country, and everywhere there is a thriving church planter, that planter has number six at the highest level.

I believe no matter whether it’s a house church or a church plant in the inner-city, or a church plant in the suburbs, the planting pastor has to possess these 5P’s.

It doesn’t matter whether it’s a church plant in another culture, a church plant in a coffeehouse, a strip mall, or a church plant in a school, the planting pastor has to possess these 5P’s.

The Gift of Gathering has 4 characteristics.

  1. They gather unusual numbers of people.
  2. They gather an unusual amount of resources, from money to People, to misc. assets.
  3. They gather ideas.

They don’t simply copy the ideas of others. Those with the gift of gathering always make the ideas better and suitable for their community, and their context of ministry.

4. Those with the gift of gathering gather gathers.

Haven’t you ever wondered why some churches have so many high-profile and influential people while other churches struggle to have high-impact people? The pastor who possesses the gift of gathering can be identified because they “Gather Gatherers.”

The most unproductive statement ever made it every church in America every Sunday is, “Invite a friend to church next week.” If everyone brought one person then of course the church would double. But the reality is, that a very small percentage have the gift of gathering.


I want to honor all other assessments because there are many good ones.


Here is the harsh truth, however: On average, the church plant failure rate is around 50%. Using this assessment process (The 5P’s), I have watched church planters with this particular profile succeed 97 to 99% of the time. Huge difference!


If a church plant fails, there is usually an investment of $300-$500,000 which is lost.


I want to make sure that we are good stewards of the money God entrusted to us for church plants at Union Chapel Church, as well as the millions of dollars entrusted to us at the Church Multiplication Association.

I have found that when the Holy Spirit equips a person, man or woman, with these 5P’s, something unique and special happens. In my organization Church Multiplication Association and now at Union Chapel Church in Muncie Indiana, this assessment has produced 82 out of 83 successful church plants. In the past 2 1/2 years, this assessment has led to six out of six successful church plants.


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