Although there is no specific stereotype of a church planter, there are some qualities that are absolutely necessary. One of those qualities is the ability to be flexible. There will be many last minute changes as well as situations that require the ability to be adaptable. The landlord may call suddenly to inform you the facility cannot be used and you will need to find another place to meet for the next service. Needed materials may not show up on time or a host of unexpected changes can affect the new church.
Not only does the new pastor need to be flexible, but he also needs to have a mind set of, “Whatever it takes, I will do it.” This mindset may mean you must stay up all night painting, or you may need to give someone a ride to church, or a hundred and one other possibilities.
You must decide that you will do whatever is necessary to get the job done. You may need to spend extra money and dip into your savings or even spend your last dollar. The determination to start and build this new church must be all-consuming by the preacher and his wife. There is no doubt sacrifice and adaptability will be needed.
Few, if any, new churches are properly funded. Usually a fundamental church is endeavoring to accomplish the ministry by stretching the money and cutting costs. Eating out at nice restaurants, driving a new car, and buying new clothes will be very limited. This sacrifice may be short lived, but it will almost certainly face the leaders of this new church. A book on church planting was written several years ago and its title tells all, Getting a Church Started in the Face of Insurmountable Odds with Limited Resources in Unlikely Circumstances. This long title well describes the challenge of church planting.
Anyone considering starting a church must recognize that giving birth to a body of believers requires an element of pain. Child birth is always painful, but rewarding. God gives each person different gifts, but a church planter must have a spirit of sacrifice that prompts him to do whatever it takes.
Our church was started in 1975 and has experienced five major remodeling and building programs. We did not have the means to complete any of the projects when we began them. We believed they were needed, that God was leading us to begin them, and that He would supply the funds.
Church building requires faith. “For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith” (Romans 1:17). Not only does church building require faith, it also requires sacrifice. “For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?” (Luke 14:28).
The pastor’s wife and children must be prepared to sacrifice. If the pastor has the proper attitude toward the ministry and the needed sacrifice, his family will also follow him gladly and enjoy serving together. God has a way of blessing those who give their best to Him. It has been said, “God gives the best to those who leave the choice to Him.” Consider the life of Ruth in the Old Testament. She was determined to serve the God of Israel and the Bible indicates she was willing to die in Israel with her faith in the one true God. She followed her mother-in-law, leaving behind her own relatives and the comfort and surroundings of which she was familiar. In the end, God gave her a wealthy Israelite for a husband and a child, Obed, who became the grandfather of King David. Ultimately, Ruth is one of only four women listed in the genealogy of Christ.
David is another wonderful example of doing whatever it takes to fulfill the will of God when he exclaimed, “Is there not a cause?” He understood Goliath was defying his God and that something must be done to vindicate God’s name. He went in the power of God and did what was necessary to defeat God’s enemy.
We must have this same spirit that requires sacrifice, courage, and flexibility. We too can see God perform miracles in the building of a church for His glory. Indeed, God gives the best to those who serve Him.