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What Every Church Planter Needs part 1

Blog: What Every Church Planter Needs

A called-by-God church planter is a truly focused individual. He knows that he needs specific things in order to do what God has called him to do in the city to which He has been sent.

Building One of the things that he needs is a building. I remember driving through my city almost every day with my eyes peeled for my dream building. I looked at schools, science centers, community centers, art galleries, coffee houses and old church buildings. Heck, I even looked at a VFW (Veterans of Foreign War) building/bar complete with a medium sized tank from World War One directly in front of the entrance. I remember getting totally stoked about a potential building only to have my hopes dashed time and time again. On more than one occasion, I had vivid dreams about a certain meeting space, which is weird for me because I don't normally remember any of my dreams. Finding a place to gather is a big deal and every church planter should concern himself with this search.

Money Another important element in a successful plant is money. Most church planters resist the idea of pursuing it. Many church planters think it is unspiritual to focus on it. But sooner or later every church planter realizes that it is going to take money, a lot of it, to do what God is calling him to do. I remember going to my first church planter training conference and hearing that a church planter needed to be a fundraiser. My initial thought was that if this were the case I couldn't plant, because I hated to ask people for money. But like every church planter eventually does, I realized that I had to get over this and that God's vision was worth me getting over my fundraising phobia. Money is an important and pressing issue. In fact, after talking with over a hundred church planters in the last year, I have heard the same story over and over again: "I need to raise more money. Do you know where I can get some?" I then suggest some money sources they can pursue. Denominations, Church planting networks like Acts 29, established churches and generous individuals are all good sources. A called by God church planter will find the money needed to plant just like Jesus and the Apostle Paul.

You have to have a place to meet, preferably one without a weapon of mass destruction on the premises. You will always need money. In this world it is the answer for everything, just as the writer of Ecclesiastes stated. However, I would submit that there is something you need more than money and a building. To plant a prevailing, reproducing church you must have people, and more importantly the right kind of people.

People There are many ways to start a church. You can just start holding public meetings. You can begin to meet non-Christians and wait for them to come to faith, then use them as leaders. You can hive off a group of people from a mother church and use them to start yours. However you choose to start, you need a core group to serve as your new church. The truth is that you need all kinds of people to begin public worship, lead small groups, run sound, play guitar, set up, tear down and love kids in the children's ministry. For the planter, it is often overwhelming to realize how many people it actually takes to begin a local church. But successful planters know that it isn't only about the quantity of people you have, it is the quality of the people that will help the most. Most of the time when someone starts a church they use Christians as core group members. Without going into great detail, let me describe who you don't want to be in your core group. You do not want flaky Christians who attend another church and 3 other "Christian" meetings during the week. Also, you do not want ultra needy Christians who can't stand on their own and will need you, the planter, to keep them healthy. You do want men and women who are not looking for you to fix every problem in their life. You do want men and men who see themselves as missionaries and are looking for a community that will equip them to reach out to their friends with the love of Christ.

To be continued...

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Darrin Patrick is the lead pastor of The Journey, a church in St. Louis, and the Vice President of Acts 29, a global church planting network. He also serves as the chaplain to the St. Louis Cardinals. Darrin is the author of The Dude’s Guide to ManhoodChurch Planter, co-author of For the Cityand contributor to the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible and Don't Call It A Comeback. His next book, Replant, is set to release in May 2014.