Church planting is a big decision for the lead planter and his family. It takes faith, courage, discernment, loads of support and a little bit of crazy. But the planter is not the only one who has to discern if they should go.

If you are currently part of a church that plants other churches, then you have a unique and exciting opportunity. You have the chance to go too! And you should strongly consider it. God calls us to do everything in community. Why would church planting be any different?

The fact is Jesus sends every Christian on mission; the only question left is Where do you want me to go, King Jesus?

Jesus told us this much when He said, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” – John 20:21

Since we are sent out in the footsteps of our missionary God, we can glean some wisdom for deciding if we should go join that new church plant or if we should stay put at our current church.

Here are five factors for discerning if you should join a launch team.

 

1) Desire

It should never cease to amaze us that Jesus wanted to leave heaven and come to earth to die for our sins.

Yes, there were moments like in Gethsemane when Jesus didn’t want to die (Matthew 26:36-46), yet He was not forced but chose this path (John 10:17-18).

If you move to help start a new church, there will be times when you doubt your decision. But that does not mean God does not work through your desires. Do not look to kicking-and-screaming-Jonah as your example here, but pay attention to ready-and-willing-Jesus.

Here are the types of questions to consider:

  • Do I want to be part of a launch team starting a new work? Does the thought excite me?
  • Do I want to move to a new city with a band of friends on mission for Jesus? Do I want to see a new church started in this area of the country/world?
  • Do I feel at home in the city where the church will be planted? Can I see myself living there?

 

2) Passion

One of the driving motivations for Jesus to leave the comforts of heaven and to step into our sin-torn world was His infinite love for us.

He had compassion on the broken, wept over loved ones and loved us to death by losing His life to save our own (Matthew 9:36; John 11:33-35; Matthew 26:53-54).

Love compels sacrifice (2 Cor 5:14-15). Although your love will always be imperfect, waning from day to day, you need to love the people you hope to reach.

Love listens, speaks truth and sacrifices for others. You have got to have love (1 Corinthians 13:1-3).

Here are the types of questions to consider:

  • Do I love the lost and long for them to come to know Jesus?
  • Do I love the types of people in the city where the church is being planted? Am I willing to listen and learn from them?
  • Do I love the church planter and his wife? Do I respect them enough to follow their leadership?
  • Do I love the vision for the new church? Is this Kingdom work worth the effort even if the church plant never establishes itself?

 

3) Opportunity

Jesus used His divine resources to make the journey to us (Philippians 2:5-7; 1 Timothy 1:15).

You too must discern if you have the resources to make the move. A flexible job that allows you to work remotely or transfer is a resource.

But don’t think you have to have a flexible job to move. If you are a recently graduated single, your mobility is also a resource.

 

Also, opportunity is not just about jobs. You need to accurately weigh if you have the gifts and personal bandwidth to take on this type of front line ministry.

Here are the types of questions to consider:

  • How long can I commit to help get this church plant off the ground? One year? Two? Indefinitely? 
  • Do I have job opportunities that allow me to move?
  • Am I in a healthy enough place spiritually to be a helper rather than a hinderer to the team?
  • Do I have specific gifts that the Lord would want to use for the growth of this new church?

 

4) Humility

Having opportunities afforded you by resources is one thing, but knowing how to steward those resources is another.

Jesus displayed the humility to use His resources—not for Himself—but in counting others more significant than Himself (Philippians 2:3-8).

Helping start a church will be one of the hardest things yet one of the most rewarding things you ever do.

There’s no getting around the difficulties you will face. But in those hardships, you will have the opportunity to lose your life for Jesus and find it in the process—to practice a lifestyle of humility (Matthew 10:39).

Here are the types of questions to consider:

  • Am I willing to commit as a lead-servant in this new church rather than consume from it?
  • Am I willing to count others more significant than myself in my mindset and lifestyle?
  • Am I willing to work hard for the Kingdom of Jesus in obscurity and without recognition?
  • Am I willing to go even if I never get an official leadership role in the church?

 

5) Affirmation

Jesus did not make His decision alone; He was sent by the Father (John 20:21). More than that, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit all worked in concert to raise Jesus from dead and to grant us the gift of new life (Romans 6:4; John 10:17-18; Romans 8:11).

Jesus was sent on mission in affirmation and collaboration within the Trinity. You also need affirmation and collaboration as you go out on mission.

Here are the types of questions to consider:

  • Whom am I praying with about this decision?
  • Do my pastors affirm this is a wise decision for me?
  • What close friends in my current church affirm this desire to go?
  • Am I willing to trust the input of wise counselors over my own desires?

 

A Delightful Dilemma

Big life decisions like these can be stressful. But I would encourage you to praise God for the opportunity to process where you will be most useful for His Kingdom.

Thank God that you have options of staying in your home church or moving to help launch a new church.

I would also encourage you not to view your time of waiting and praying as a stressful season to escape. Instead, see it for what it is—a beautiful invitation to deeper relationship with Jesus that allows you interact with His Spirit, His Word and His people.

That’s certainly not a bad thing; so, enjoy the process and follow Jesus wherever He leads.

 


Rusty is the founding and lead pastor of Sojourn Community Church in Chattanooga, TN where he has the joy of serving people he loves with leaders he loves. He is married to Rachel who is out of his league, has a spirited son named Justus and a beautiful newborn daughter named Haven. Rusty can be found on Twitter here: @RustyMcKie