Where is the next generation of church planters? The next generation must be raised up and trained in our local churches. While we do the work of the ministry we must simultaneously be training others to duplicate our ministry. Reproducing ourselves is always a high priority. Our Lord commands us to pray for laborers. “Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest” (Luke 10:2). Perhaps the greatest need of our time is that of additional laborers. While the United States population increases, churches are closing or compromising. Our work force is diminishing and at the same time the need for more laborers is increasing.
Where can we find these needed workers? The Scripture commands us to pray for them. Consistent and fervent prayer for more laborers cannot be overestimated. We must not forget to pray for our own children to be called into the ministry. Sadly, too many preacher’s children do not become laborers and in some cases they do not even remain faithful to church. Every preacher should pray for his own children to enter the harvest field. Preacher’s children can help set up the auditorium, place hymn books on the chairs, work on a bus route, greet visitors, work in the nursery, provide music, and numerous other services. Why do some preacher’s children follow them in the ministry and others do not? One important reason is that they included their children in the ministry while they were young. These children always felt like they were in the ministry.
Church planting should be emphasized through the preaching. Church planters should be invited to present their vision to the church and the church family should learn to love church planting. The entire membership should recognize its importance. In addition, pastors should prepare, train, and challenge the children of the church to serve the Lord. Opportunities should be afforded children to get involved. Children can pray, give, stuff envelopes, and pass out literature. If children are included in the ministry while they are young the likelihood of their following the same calling increases dramatically.
Young boys should be challenged to give their lives for church planting, teens should be challenged to surrender to the ministry, and young adults should pray for God’s leading in this vital area of service. In addition, staff could be hired with the idea that after a few years they will go out and start churches. Sometimes interns can be utilized during a semester or a summer. This is an invaluable way to expose young men to the needs of your area. If your church becomes known for starting churches and training young men, God will bring men to you. When preachers get serious about praying for needy areas men will call seeking a place to start a church.
Many preachers could use an assistant but do not have the funds to do so. Keep in mind that some young preachers are willing to work a job and assist part time in the church in order to get training from a man of God. If we don’t pray for laborers, if we don’t anticipate laborers, and we don’t train laborers, we probably won’t have laborers. When we pray, God answers.
It is the church’s responsibility to train the next generation of servants. Every preacher must have a plan to locate, train, and send out church planters. Bible college is good and necessary, but it is not the job of the Bible college to send out church planters. It is the responsibility of the local church. Most young men are not prepared to start a church after four years of Bible college, but pastors should accept the responsibility of continuing the necessary preparation for these young men. Churches that start churches create an atmosphere that is contagious. The work of the ministry very often is caught more than it is taught. Once you send out that first church planter the entire church will be affected.
Where do we find church planters? Right in our own churches. They are waiting for us to challenge them and train them. Implementing this kind of philosophy over time will produce the next generation of servants. It is never too early to begin this process. Even brand new churches should begin praying immediately for church planters to be raised up in their ministry.