Seven Things I Would do Differently as a Planter - Part One
Seven Things I Would do Differently if I was Planting a Church Today - Part One
By Pastor Scott Thomas
Former Acts 29 Director
I have served as a replanting pastor, church planter and church-planting director. It has given me insight from three different perspectives. It has been less than three years since I was the lead pastor of a church plant, but I have gained some valuable insight through extensive study, interaction with church planters, network directors, assessors, and by coaching church planters.
I reflected the other day on what I would do differently if I were to plant again. I came up with seven ideas that may help other church planters to avoid some mistakes.
1. I would expose the gospel to the fullest extent as possible in every context, relationship, conflict and teaching.
I think very few people in the church truly understand the gospel, especially those who are religious. I think that few pastors truly understand the gospel. Galatians 2:14 suggest that there is a way of living that is contrary to the gospel. The centrality of the gospel drives all ministry and mission of the church.
Tim Keller’s resource on Gospel Christianity is a good curriculum to teach this to your elders, your wife and perhaps yourself.
Steve Timmis mentioned that he “gospels” his people when they are out of step or in sin. I love this way of communicating. Even as we confront others, it must be done in a grace-filled way to image the gospel.
Every action step of the church is filtered through the gospel—it must bear image to the gospel or it is eliminated.
2. I would connect with God as I connected with culture.
In our quest to be missionally engaged, hip and cool, I think we have lost the “edge” for a radical, passionate engagement with God. Connecting with culture is overrated; connecting with God is underrated.
My son asked me if I thought John Piper would be effective as a pastor in Seattle. I told him that I thought he would because his passionate connection with God overshadowed his lack of cultural connectivity. He does not have a TV in his home and he still wears tweed jackets bought at the penny saver store.
James 4:6-10 calls us to draw near to God. We have to make this the primary point of our church plant and then we connect to culture in a way that is understood by them. We don’t want to be too hip and too cool that we overshadow the person and work of Jesus.
Three upcoming boot camps: