One of the questions that I am asked is, “Do you have a planter in your pipeline to send to our area?” My response is invariably, “no.” There is no more low hanging fruit.
So where is the next generation of church planters? The next generation must be raised up and trained in our local churches. The people in your church right now are the pipeline for future church planters, pastors, and ministry leaders.
Where do we find them? Right in our own churches. They are waiting for us to challenge and train them. Scripture teaches us to pray for them and our Lord commands us to pray for laborers. “Therefore, said he unto them, ‘The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that He would send forth laborers into his harvest.’” (Luke 10:2).
I believe additional laborers is the greatest need of our time. Churches that start churches create an atmosphere that is contagious. Once you send out your first church planter, the entire church will be aﬀected. It is never too early to begin this process.
Here are some steps you can take to help equip and mentor potential church planters.
- Identify potential church planters: Look for individuals who have a passion for sharing the Gospel and a heart for planting churches. This could include people within your congregation, small group leaders, Sunday school teachers, business owners, those you meet through evangelism and outreach eﬀorts, or even those you know from outside your church.
- Develop a training program or residency. Once you have identified aspiring leaders or church planters, create a training program that covers all aspects of church planting and leadership development. This could include topics such as theology, evangelism, leadership, and discipleship.
- Provide mentoring and coaching: Pair potential church planters with experienced mentors who can provide guidance and feedback to help them grow and develop.
- Provide opportunity for practice: Give potential church planters opportunities to practice what they have learned by allowing them to lead small groups, evangelistic outreaches, and other ministry initiatives. One of our churches created a “preaching lab” for their church planters. This created an opportunity for them to sharpen their communication skills.
- Pray and trust God: Ultimately, church planting is a work of God. Pray for those who are being trained and for God’s guidance and provision as they step out in faith to plant churches.
Where do we find church planters? In our pews.
May we pray earnestly to the Lord to send out laborers into His harvest. But let us also remember that when the Lord answers our prayers in this regard, He will not bypass the church, but He will empower us for this great task. So, let’s pray and get to work.