“BE fruitful and multiply,” Genesis 1:28 has been the theme verse for my life and ministry this year. I believe this verse applies to everything we do and is God’s heart for all things, big (the church), small (our life) and everything in between. In many ways, you could say the original Great Commission is Genesis 1:26-28.
This week I got to participate in the launch of 3 new churches in Long Beach. These are churches we’ve worked with, trained, assessed, coached and resourced. These are also churches that understand how to be a Genesis 1:28 church.
Below are a few reminders from these churches and how to plant well and plant healthy.
BE Quick…Don’t Hurry!
The legendary basketball coach, John Wooden, always reminded his championship players and teams to be quick, don’t hurry. Too many Church Planters hurry into planting their church. They usually do this because they need to generate revenue on a regular basis. Passing the offering basket isn’t a good reason to accelerate a church plant. Other’s hurry because by nature, many Church Planters are anxious and want to get after it as quickly as they can. The reality is that when you hurry things you tend to make costly mistakes. Coach Wooden recognized that being quick is vital to winning and when you hurry you make your most costly mistakes. The same is often true in planting a church. Here are a few common mistakes that often occur when Church Planters hurry their church plant:
- They plan an event and develop a team of event planners instead of planting a church with a team of ministry leaders.
- They introduce ineffective pathways for assimilation and discipleship.
- They plant without the resources needed to be successful.
- They don’t hear God’s voice (no time to listen).
- They allow church planting to become a task and not a spiritual adventure.
- They tend to make uninformed and rushed decisions that aren’t in the best short and long-term interest of the church.
- They end up planting a worship service instead of planting the Gospel and a church.
- They plant a church that looks nothing like the church they wanted to plant.
- They alienate others form joining in the process.
- They plant a church with an unhealthy genesis and foundation.
BE sent by a Healthy Church
Healthy churches are planted by healthy churches. In fact, I believe churches should plant churches, not organizations or denominations. The only reason denominations and organizations plant churches are because the local church has failed to multiply and reproduce itself. Less than 4% of churches are intentionally planting churches or have a strategy to do so. Being “sent out” by a church is a must. I often meet Church Planters that aren’t being sent out or supported by any local church at all. 99.9% of the time it’s either because the church planter has issues with spiritual authority or lacks the skills and calling to plant a church. The greatest litmus test one can use to assess the health of a Church Planter is by asking “Who is sending you?” If they say nobody, then immediately raise a red flag. If you’re planting a church and don’t have a sending church, then find one, if you can’t, then you must begin asking some serious questions about what you’re getting yourself into, or more importantly, why you’re getting into it. Of course, there are many other benefits to being sent by a sending church, many!
BE obsessed with the Kingdom not the church
I mentioned that we help plant 3 churches in Long Beach Sunday. Two of these churches had over 650 people (1300+ total) participate in their launch. Depending on how you look at it, that’s a Church Planters dream or potentially a Church Planters nightmare. Either way, it was a fantastic start for both these churches. It was fun to celebrate with both church planters! One of things I told them was to be careful in not allowing yourself or your leaders to become obsessed with the church rather be obsessed with the Kingdom. I truly believe one of the greatest failures of the Church in the west is that as leaders we have become obsessed with church, when we do this, we lose our focus and we become a slave to the needs of the church instead of the Kingdom we serve in. A Kingdom framework looks much different than a church framework. Don’t let the church you plant become your obsession, if you do, you’ll pay a big price for it and you won’t become a Genesis 1:28 church!
BE surrounded by great people
It was so much fun to see who showed up to support each of the 3 church plants and Church Planters in Long Beach. There were other local Pastors, coaches, mentors and other church planters. There were also people of local influence (The Mayor, business leaders, educators, etc.). It was a reminder of how important it is to be surrounded by great people. If you’re currently planting a church, I encourage you to take inventory of the people that currently surround you. If you lack the people you need to be successful as a planter, then find them and ask them to join in. Here are 7 individuals every church planter should be surrounded by:
- A church planting coach
- An intercessory prayer champion
- A Lead Pastor from a local church
- A successful entrepreneur or business leader
- A friend or mentor where you have complete safety and anonymity
- Lost people – Vision begins with a lost world
- If you’re married – People who are good for your marriage and your spouse