Let's talk about the critical habits for church planters.
And let's talk a little bit about post-church plant. There's the preparation, choosing the city, getting some team members together, launching—that's a subject for another day. Let's just talk about the situation in which you've launched, you're up and going, and you've got a service going. What are some of the key things as a church planter that you've got to build into your everyday life that are going to make you successful?
1. Create boundaries, but stay agile
You need to create boundaries but remain agile. One of the great lessons that I've learned from reading and building a company, a startup company, is that you can have a really clear idea of what you want to do, but sometimes the market forces force you to change tack a little bit. And sometimes we can be so locked in and become dogmatic and any to ourselves: "This is where I'm called and this is the city I have to go to." But if you're not getting any traction on that side of town, maybe you're supposed to go to the other side of town. Have the vision and have the guard rails to know where you're going, but have some flexibility to be able to listen to the Holy Spirit.
2. Keep your quiet times going
Having that quiet time of prayer and Bible reading with the Lord is crucial when you're planning your church. If you don't know this, I'm going to tell you something. It's not going to be a secret for long. You are going to be so busy. You're going to be run off your feet. Your brain's going to be fried and frazzled so much when you're planting a church because it's like starting a business. You're doing everything.
And so you're going to get to Friday and you haven't prepped anything yet. And then you're cramming. Make sure that in the midst of the busyness, you’re maintaining fellowship with the Lord.
3. Maintain a fairly regular routine
Make sure you get your routine down. My routine is always to wake up early, get a coffee, sit down, and have my Bible open. Sometimes I'd read it. Sometimes I'd just sit and listen. Try to hear from the Holy Spirit. It's like doing a workout for your soul. The negative impact of church planting is real. It's pressure on your family. It's pressure on you. You've never doubted yourself more than when you plant a church. Having that reinforcement from God that you're valued, having that encouragement from the word of God, that strengthening of your own spirit—it’s absolutely critical.
Church planters can often fall into the same trap as new entrepreneurs: "Okay, I started a business, I'm my own boss, and this is going to be awesome. I'm going to do whatever I want. I'm going to play golf whenever I want." Not true. It doesn't work like that for many, many years. Get a routine. I find every successful person that I've ever met—millionaires, billionaires—they are very regimented. They don't just wake up and think: "Oh, we're just going to do whatever comes across my desk today, and we'll see what happens there."
Get a routine and stick to it, but with some flexibility, because sometimes things change. Sometimes you need to make decisions on the ground, but a routine only gives you more freedom to pivot when necessary.
4. Regularly mentor people in your church
In the early years of planting a church, understand that one of your roles is to be a mentor—and let's substitute another word in there: let's call you a coach. One of the key things that you're trying to do in the early days is you're going to create that team. You might have some key team members that come along for the plant. A lot of times they don't stay with you for a million other reasons, but the team you start with isn't always the team you finish with.
It's critical to do this all the time, but especially in those first three years, it’s important to be coaching and mentoring people. They're going to catch your vision, be loyal to you, and come with you on that journey. Have the mindset of: "I'm a coach. I'm a mentor. I'm going to inspire people with my vision and that's going to connect them to my heart. I'm going to be a little bit vulnerable with them and share my heart, but have that sense that I'm a mentor coach."
5. Meet regularly with other encouraging pastors
Be around like-minded people and have fellowship with other church planters to make sure you have someone who is more senior than you, smarter than you, gone further than you, to speak into your life. Be open and ready to listen and hear what they say. Always have someone in your life that can say to you: "Hey, tell me anything. I'm here to listen." And then be open. Open to constructive criticism, open to having someone speak into your life that will safeguard you for all the pitfalls that lie ahead for a church planter.
Today on Modern Church Leader, our Tithe.ly CEO Dean Sweetman outlines six critical habits church planters should implement to ensure the success of their call.
Watch the video of this episode here: https://get.tithe.ly/blog/critical-habits-of-successful-church-planters
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