The Creation, Care, and Feeding of Church Planters
I believe that every church should be involved, at some level, with church planting. For some, this will mean actually parenting a church. For others, it will involve financially giving to a church plant as part of the missions portfolio.
But some churches aren’t yet at the stage at which they can commit to plant or give funds to a church plant. No worries. Here are some steps that you can take to care for and feed church planters.
Pray for More Church Planters
A few years ago I started to take Luke 10:2 seriously: “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” A good place for all of us to start is to pray that God would raise up more church planters for the harvest. We need more church plants; therefore we need more church planters. Pray for them.
Just as every believer should regularly and prayerfully evaluate if God could be calling them to foreign missions, every believer should regularly and prayerfully evaluate if God is calling them to church planting. As you pray, consider whether God could answer your prayer for more church planters by using you. Pray for the creation of more church planters.
Pray for the Needs of Church Planters
When I pastored an established church, I received more requests for financial support than I could afford. I would often promise planters and missionaries, “I can’t give you money, but I’ll pray for you.” It felt like I was giving them a consolation prize.
Now, as a church planter, I love hearing that answer. Don’t get me wrong: I’m happy when people and churches can financially partner with me. But I’m overjoyed if people promise to pray for me. That’s no consolation prize; it’s essential.
I met a lady recently who told me she has prayed for me every single day since I became a church planter. As far as I know, she’s never given a penny, but she’s contributed so much. Pray for church planters. Include them in your public prayers as a church. If you promise to pray, please pray. We need it.
As Ray Ortlund says, you’ve never met anyone who’s too encouraged. Not once. We all need encouragement, and that includes church planters.
Phone one. Drop them a note. Ask how they’re doing. If a church planter comes to mind, just assume that they could use some encouragement, and give it to them.
Church planters need money, but it’s not the only way to support one. You can invest in church planting without giving a penny. Every Christian and every church has an important role to play in church planting.