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Meet a Church Planter | Kevin Larson

Meet a Church Planter

Kevin Larson | Lead Pastor of Karis Community Church | Columbia, MO

Call to Plant

As a seminary student, I was struggling with where God was calling me. Seeking a position in an established church seemed like a bad idea. I took a church planting class, and it seemed clear that I had "wiring" that made pioneering a community a better fit for me. People around me confirmed that. I then began praying about where to go and seeking out opportunities, and God opened a door for me to come back to my favorite city, my college town that I had left about 10 years earlier, Columbia, Missouri.

How Did You Get Involved With Acts 29?

I ran into my friend Jonathan McIntosh during fundraising. He handed me Driscoll's Reformission book, I read it, and things took off from there. Relationships like I have with him have been the best. Having people you can call and vent to and ask questions of is worth millions. There is so much deep, rich brotherhood in Acts 29.

God's Grace

I've seen people come to faith in Jesus that have become leaders. I've seen timid men become leaders who can be bold, loving shepherds. I've seen religious people have their lives radically changed by the gospel. In my life, I've seen growth, having my identity rooted more in Jesus. I've seen my ministry gifts grow. I think my preaching is better. I think I know better about what I'm doing now, in general. I believe I have a healthy marriage, by God's grace. My wife is a joy and is God's grace to me, right before my face each day. I look around and see amazing men/leaders in Karis, and I'm humbled and blown away by the mercy of God.

Advice in Church Planting

First, you must make sure your wife is totally on board, and she has to be tough as nails. Or, I promise you, you won't make it. She is going to take tons of hits. You must protect her, but there's only so much that can be done.

Second, sort out your rationale for planting. Make sure it's not because it's the hip thing to do. Planting is amazingly, shockingly hard on you and a family. Coolness won't sustain you.

Third, get the gospel deeply planted in your heart. It's very hard to not have your identity going up and down based on how your church is going. It's hard not to compare yourself to others in your town or across the network.

Fourth, make sure you're setting out to build a community that's different or don't bother. Plant something that really is built around the gospel, where people are tightly connected relationally and speak the gospel into each others lives. Don't just be another Sunday service. But this is much, much harder than you think.

Fifth, be committed to labor by God's grace to impact your community. Seek her good or shalom. Share the gospel message. Make sure you don't just want to have a church where you can preach and, because of that, it's definitely cooler than where you've been.

Sixth, make sure you can train leaders. Planting, or any real ministry, all has to do with leadership training. Are people following you? Do people gravitate to you? This isn't a pride thing. It's a movement thing. If the thing's only as deep and wide as you, it's not going to go anywhere. Make sure you can raise up leaders, that it's in your makeup. Don't start planting until you have a better handle on this.

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Kyle Sadler

on Aug 14, 2010 :: 1:44 pm

Thanks Kevin. I am a young Student Pastor aspiring to plant one day and I wrote down these six things. Until God moves me to pioneer a Church I will continue to read these and prepare myself through this list. Again, thanks!