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Church Planting: Just Another Ministry Opportunity? | Part 3: Sober Judgement

Blog: Church Planting Part 3

Part 3: Sober Judgement

When I assess church planters for membership in the Acts 29 Network, I try to encourage them both during the assessment and in the report I send them following the assessment to heed Paul’s encouragement in Romans 12:3: “I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.”

Planting a church requires many things. One is entrepreneurial aptitude.  It requires the micro-skills that Scott Thomas listed in this post.

I’ve yet to meet a potential church-planter who wanted to plant a small church that would never grow past 50 members, always struggle to pay its bills, and never have enough resources to hire a second staff member. That, however, is the reality for most church planters for many years. Your church might be the exception, but it probably won’t be.

For example, the Acts 29 Network has nearly twice as many churches with less than 200 members as they do churches with over 200 members.

One of the things I think that indicates is that church planting takes time. As has been said, most church planters accomplish a lot less than they think they will in one year and a lot more than they think they will in five years.

If you don’t think five years is a long time to labor in planting a church, you’ve never planted a church.

When you plant a church, you are starting something from nothing. You are calling people to join and sacrifice for something they can’t see. There will be days when it seems you (and possibly your wife) are the only ones who understand what you are trying to do. Your best strategic decisions are often appreciated long after they are implemented and usually receive criticism not confirmation before and when they are made. You won’t have a boss to check on your day-to-day work, affirm your decisions, or cover you when you mess up.

To plant a church, you must cast a compelling vision for something that can’t be seen, be willing to call people to that vision, plug them into that vision in a way that matches how God has gifted them and won’t crush them in the process, and then work to accomplish that God-given vision, often alone, for what seems like an eternity.

Think about your gift set with sober judgment. If God hasn’t gifted you to plant a church, don’t force your family to suffer through that process. Don’t call others to follow you on a path you aren’t equipped to walk down. Don’t serve Jesus’ blood-bought possession in a way he hasn’t called or gifted you to serve. Instead, serve in the specific way God has gifted you with great joy.

If you believe God has equipped you to plant a church, see if others agree with your self-assessment. If they do and the time is right, serve with great joy. 


Greg Hunt

on Aug 20, 2010 :: 10:53 am

Man does this resonate! Thanks for this insightful & refreshing article. In the world of 'quick & now' - this is fresh bread.

And your honesty about your church sizes was a bit freeing.

So thank you.


Elliot Grudem is the network coordinator for the Acts 29 Network and a pastor at Mars Hill Church. Prior to his work with Acts 29, Elliot served as the senior minister at Christ the King Presbyterian Church, a church he replanted in Raleigh, NC. He has worked for an urban ministry in New Orleans. He worked for a Fortune 100 company prior to seminary. He is the editor of Christian Beliefs, a book he completed with his father Wayne. Elliot holds degrees from Miami Univeristy (BA, History and English) and Reformed Theological Seminary (M.Div.).