Planting a new church is not for the faint of heart! You need all the friends you can get. I am currently working with two friends to develop a teleconference peer group for church planters. When I made contact with one potential participant, he expressed some concern that his church was different and he might not necessarily fit with the group.
As I have continued to encourage this church planter to join our group, I have realized that every church start, like every church, is unique with its own story and special challenges. No two church plants or churches are exactly alike! Even so, there are some things that all church planters do have in common.
First, each church planter has to not only champion but nurture the vision for the new church. Whether the desire is to reach a particular geographic area, a specific demographic group, or propagate a particular ministry, someone (hopefully the planter) initially discovered and embraced that vision. Now he or she must nurture it to reality.
Second, a church planter always deals with the discovery and proper use of resources. These include time, people, finances, and space (among other things). Finding and mobilizing these resources is often a test of faith!
Third, every church planter should be concerned about self-maintenance. This includes his or her personal spiritual development, family life, health, and financial stability. Failure to pay proper attention to any of these will result not only in the failure of the church plant but deep and lasting personal failure as well.
Fourth, a church planter always works toward developing a community. The church plant may start with the pastor and the pastor’s spouse, but it will only become viable when others chose to make the new church their faith community—the place that will seek and serve God.
Whether a person is planting a church in an urban setting, a small rural community, or a resort community, these are the key things with which he or she struggles and it is good to have fellow travelers to share the struggle.