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What Does it Really Take to be a Church Planter?

What Does it Really Take to be a Church Planter?

If God is calling you to become a church planter, then He is more than capable of giving you the grace and faith you need for the journey. But there are qualities and characteristics you can identify and cultivate that will certainly help you through the ups and downs of starting a church in a new place.

CHURCH TECH PODCAST
Tithely media icon
TV
Modern Church leader
Category
Church Growth
Publish date
February 28, 2023
Author
Kelsey Yarnell

Planting a church is no easy task. 

When you’re accustomed to the comforts and conveniences of being a part of a well-established community, it can be downright terrifying to leave all of that for the unknown. And with good reason. As a church planter, you’ll certainly face one or more of the following:

  • Uncertainty
  • Instability
  • Fear
  • “Lean” resources

But you’ll also get to experience the joy and fulfillment of building a church from the ground up. Most importantly, you’ll get to see God move in response to your obedience. 

“Church planting puts you in a position to watch God move in a powerful way,” says three-time church planter Suzanne Lair. 

The bottom line? Church planting can be incredibly challenging–and incredibly rewarding. But it may not be for everyone. 

In the following article, we’ll take a look at five characteristics needed for church planting. 

5 Qualities Needed to Become a Church Planter

If God is calling you to become a church planter, then He is more than capable of giving you the grace and faith you need for the journey (Philippians 4:13). 

But there are qualities and characteristics you can identify and cultivate that will certainly help you through the ups and downs of starting a church in a brand-new city, state, or country. 

Here are five of them. 

1. Flexibility

Church planting comes with an ever-shifting set of circumstances that will test your ability to adapt and be flexible.  

One of the biggest hurdles to consistency is finding a place to meet

This is only more difficult when you’re church-planting in a major city or metropolitan area. 

Suzanne Lair, who is currently church-planting in San Diego, describes the challenge. 

“In the state of California, trying to find a building is really hard,” explains Suzanne. “We started meeting at a park and then we tried to rent a building, but we had to get a permit to have a large meeting. They refused our permit, so we’re back to the drawing board. Now we’re meeting at a church.”

Suzanne’s story isn’t unique. Many church planters find themselves in backyards, school auditoriums, existing churches, and even movie theaters or bars before finally landing in their own facility. 

Of course, your meeting location isn’t the only factor that’s prone to change. You might experience shifts in your team dynamics, target community, service style, and more while church planting. Learning how to remain flexible–or being able to bend and adapt to change–will be key in keeping you sane and successful throughout your journey of church planting. 

2. Conflict-Resolution Skills

If you’ve been in the church for a while, you may believe you’re an expert at conflict-resolution. Think again. Church planting is about to bring you to a whole new level of knowing how to resolve arguments, forgive, and compromise when necessary. 

When you’re pioneering a new community, you’re bound to face disagreements about everything from where and when to meet, to what kinds of worship songs to play, to what kinds of seating arrangements you’ll rely on. 

One important aspect of this is to have a clearly defined vision and decision-making process from the get-go. The other is to have great conflict-resolution skills. (Check out this article by our friend Carey Nieuwhof to learn how to resolve conflict on your team). 

“The team dynamic has the power to make it a really negative experience, or a positive experience,” says Suzanne. “A lot of that depends on working through conflict in a healthy way.”

Not dealing with conflict well can even have a trickle down effect–in fact, conflict between members is one of the biggest reasons churches fail

3. Creativity 

Church planters need to be creative. Without the stability and structure of an established church to rely on, they must think of new ways to reach out to others, gather together, and develop a rhythm of church. 

One aspect of creativity is how you market your church to your new community. It’s already a given that online engagement is essential to starting a new church. But how you choose to market your church online will depend on who your audience is and where they spend time online. 

That will shift, depending on where–and when–you’re planting a church. 

Of her church planting experience in both California and Mexico, Suzanne says, “When we church planted in Mexico, everyone went to Facebook. These days, people go to Instagram.”

She continues, “We’ve had to focus on what it looks like to make your Instagram profile really vibrant, and have people follow you.”

Creativity also applies to shifting around meeting times and locations as needed. 

“We met on Sunday nights,” says Susanna Fleming, who planted a church in Boise, ID in 2016. “That can be a great solution for church plants to partner with a local church. Most churches want to have their space be utilized and build relationships and unity in the body.”

“It’s also financially practical for everyone,” she says. 

4. Humility 

Church planting may sound glamorous, but in reality, it demands an incredible amount of humility. 

Team conflict, unforeseen circumstances, and disappointments require you to be able to forgive others, forgive yourself, and remain resilient, optimistic, and teachable. 

Most of all, it’s important to remember that as a church planter, you’re going to have to experiment. Even someone who has church planted numerous times will always face new challenges that they may not feel equipped to handle. 

“One of the things that helped our team was an acceptance from the get-go–we don’t really know what we’re doing, but we’re gonna try it,” says Alex Moger, who is church planting in Quincy, MA. 

“There are a million seminars and books, but I could’ve read every one and not felt confident. The only way to know how to be a church-planter is to go plant a church. None of us are experts.” 

5. Courage

Most church planters leave behind stability, familiarity, and even community in order to follow the call of God. That takes a great deal of courage. 

“Planting a church is a lot like being a pioneer,” says three-time church planter Suzanne Lair. “Church planters are like people who have left behind the comforts and ease of the big city. 

You’re going across the plains of the midwest and hoping there will be everything you need.” 

She continues, “You’re giving up a lot, but it’s definitely going to be an adventure.”

A Final Note on Church Planting

To successfully plant a church, you need to be tenacious, creative, and brave. You need to know how to resolve a conflict, “flex” in difficult situations, and stay humble. Most of all, you need to know Jesus, and remain confident in His strength over your own. 

Planting a church also requires the right tools to make it easy and efficient to set up online giving, your church website, and regular church communications. Of course, most church plants are on a budget–and the good news is that it doesn’t have to cost a ton of money to set up church technology that works. 

Tithe.ly All Access offers all the tools that new church plants need to thrive–including an online giving platform, text messaging, and events tool–on a single, low-cost platform. Best of all, new church plants get Tithe.ly All Access for free for an entire year. To learn more about how Tithe.ly can help new church plants thrive, click here

AUTHOR
Kelsey Yarnell

Kelsey is a SaaS content writer, a Southern California native, and a follower of Christ. When she's not crafting content for up-and-coming tech companies, she's running, surfing, or exploring her adopted hometown of San Diego.

Planting a church is no easy task. 

When you’re accustomed to the comforts and conveniences of being a part of a well-established community, it can be downright terrifying to leave all of that for the unknown. And with good reason. As a church planter, you’ll certainly face one or more of the following:

  • Uncertainty
  • Instability
  • Fear
  • “Lean” resources

But you’ll also get to experience the joy and fulfillment of building a church from the ground up. Most importantly, you’ll get to see God move in response to your obedience. 

“Church planting puts you in a position to watch God move in a powerful way,” says three-time church planter Suzanne Lair. 

The bottom line? Church planting can be incredibly challenging–and incredibly rewarding. But it may not be for everyone. 

In the following article, we’ll take a look at five characteristics needed for church planting. 

5 Qualities Needed to Become a Church Planter

If God is calling you to become a church planter, then He is more than capable of giving you the grace and faith you need for the journey (Philippians 4:13). 

But there are qualities and characteristics you can identify and cultivate that will certainly help you through the ups and downs of starting a church in a brand-new city, state, or country. 

Here are five of them. 

1. Flexibility

Church planting comes with an ever-shifting set of circumstances that will test your ability to adapt and be flexible.  

One of the biggest hurdles to consistency is finding a place to meet

This is only more difficult when you’re church-planting in a major city or metropolitan area. 

Suzanne Lair, who is currently church-planting in San Diego, describes the challenge. 

“In the state of California, trying to find a building is really hard,” explains Suzanne. “We started meeting at a park and then we tried to rent a building, but we had to get a permit to have a large meeting. They refused our permit, so we’re back to the drawing board. Now we’re meeting at a church.”

Suzanne’s story isn’t unique. Many church planters find themselves in backyards, school auditoriums, existing churches, and even movie theaters or bars before finally landing in their own facility. 

Of course, your meeting location isn’t the only factor that’s prone to change. You might experience shifts in your team dynamics, target community, service style, and more while church planting. Learning how to remain flexible–or being able to bend and adapt to change–will be key in keeping you sane and successful throughout your journey of church planting. 

2. Conflict-Resolution Skills

If you’ve been in the church for a while, you may believe you’re an expert at conflict-resolution. Think again. Church planting is about to bring you to a whole new level of knowing how to resolve arguments, forgive, and compromise when necessary. 

When you’re pioneering a new community, you’re bound to face disagreements about everything from where and when to meet, to what kinds of worship songs to play, to what kinds of seating arrangements you’ll rely on. 

One important aspect of this is to have a clearly defined vision and decision-making process from the get-go. The other is to have great conflict-resolution skills. (Check out this article by our friend Carey Nieuwhof to learn how to resolve conflict on your team). 

“The team dynamic has the power to make it a really negative experience, or a positive experience,” says Suzanne. “A lot of that depends on working through conflict in a healthy way.”

Not dealing with conflict well can even have a trickle down effect–in fact, conflict between members is one of the biggest reasons churches fail

3. Creativity 

Church planters need to be creative. Without the stability and structure of an established church to rely on, they must think of new ways to reach out to others, gather together, and develop a rhythm of church. 

One aspect of creativity is how you market your church to your new community. It’s already a given that online engagement is essential to starting a new church. But how you choose to market your church online will depend on who your audience is and where they spend time online. 

That will shift, depending on where–and when–you’re planting a church. 

Of her church planting experience in both California and Mexico, Suzanne says, “When we church planted in Mexico, everyone went to Facebook. These days, people go to Instagram.”

She continues, “We’ve had to focus on what it looks like to make your Instagram profile really vibrant, and have people follow you.”

Creativity also applies to shifting around meeting times and locations as needed. 

“We met on Sunday nights,” says Susanna Fleming, who planted a church in Boise, ID in 2016. “That can be a great solution for church plants to partner with a local church. Most churches want to have their space be utilized and build relationships and unity in the body.”

“It’s also financially practical for everyone,” she says. 

4. Humility 

Church planting may sound glamorous, but in reality, it demands an incredible amount of humility. 

Team conflict, unforeseen circumstances, and disappointments require you to be able to forgive others, forgive yourself, and remain resilient, optimistic, and teachable. 

Most of all, it’s important to remember that as a church planter, you’re going to have to experiment. Even someone who has church planted numerous times will always face new challenges that they may not feel equipped to handle. 

“One of the things that helped our team was an acceptance from the get-go–we don’t really know what we’re doing, but we’re gonna try it,” says Alex Moger, who is church planting in Quincy, MA. 

“There are a million seminars and books, but I could’ve read every one and not felt confident. The only way to know how to be a church-planter is to go plant a church. None of us are experts.” 

5. Courage

Most church planters leave behind stability, familiarity, and even community in order to follow the call of God. That takes a great deal of courage. 

“Planting a church is a lot like being a pioneer,” says three-time church planter Suzanne Lair. “Church planters are like people who have left behind the comforts and ease of the big city. 

You’re going across the plains of the midwest and hoping there will be everything you need.” 

She continues, “You’re giving up a lot, but it’s definitely going to be an adventure.”

A Final Note on Church Planting

To successfully plant a church, you need to be tenacious, creative, and brave. You need to know how to resolve a conflict, “flex” in difficult situations, and stay humble. Most of all, you need to know Jesus, and remain confident in His strength over your own. 

Planting a church also requires the right tools to make it easy and efficient to set up online giving, your church website, and regular church communications. Of course, most church plants are on a budget–and the good news is that it doesn’t have to cost a ton of money to set up church technology that works. 

Tithe.ly All Access offers all the tools that new church plants need to thrive–including an online giving platform, text messaging, and events tool–on a single, low-cost platform. Best of all, new church plants get Tithe.ly All Access for free for an entire year. To learn more about how Tithe.ly can help new church plants thrive, click here

podcast transcript

(Scroll for more)
AUTHOR
Kelsey Yarnell

Kelsey is a SaaS content writer, a Southern California native, and a follower of Christ. When she's not crafting content for up-and-coming tech companies, she's running, surfing, or exploring her adopted hometown of San Diego.

Planting a church is no easy task. 

When you’re accustomed to the comforts and conveniences of being a part of a well-established community, it can be downright terrifying to leave all of that for the unknown. And with good reason. As a church planter, you’ll certainly face one or more of the following:

  • Uncertainty
  • Instability
  • Fear
  • “Lean” resources

But you’ll also get to experience the joy and fulfillment of building a church from the ground up. Most importantly, you’ll get to see God move in response to your obedience. 

“Church planting puts you in a position to watch God move in a powerful way,” says three-time church planter Suzanne Lair. 

The bottom line? Church planting can be incredibly challenging–and incredibly rewarding. But it may not be for everyone. 

In the following article, we’ll take a look at five characteristics needed for church planting. 

5 Qualities Needed to Become a Church Planter

If God is calling you to become a church planter, then He is more than capable of giving you the grace and faith you need for the journey (Philippians 4:13). 

But there are qualities and characteristics you can identify and cultivate that will certainly help you through the ups and downs of starting a church in a brand-new city, state, or country. 

Here are five of them. 

1. Flexibility

Church planting comes with an ever-shifting set of circumstances that will test your ability to adapt and be flexible.  

One of the biggest hurdles to consistency is finding a place to meet

This is only more difficult when you’re church-planting in a major city or metropolitan area. 

Suzanne Lair, who is currently church-planting in San Diego, describes the challenge. 

“In the state of California, trying to find a building is really hard,” explains Suzanne. “We started meeting at a park and then we tried to rent a building, but we had to get a permit to have a large meeting. They refused our permit, so we’re back to the drawing board. Now we’re meeting at a church.”

Suzanne’s story isn’t unique. Many church planters find themselves in backyards, school auditoriums, existing churches, and even movie theaters or bars before finally landing in their own facility. 

Of course, your meeting location isn’t the only factor that’s prone to change. You might experience shifts in your team dynamics, target community, service style, and more while church planting. Learning how to remain flexible–or being able to bend and adapt to change–will be key in keeping you sane and successful throughout your journey of church planting. 

2. Conflict-Resolution Skills

If you’ve been in the church for a while, you may believe you’re an expert at conflict-resolution. Think again. Church planting is about to bring you to a whole new level of knowing how to resolve arguments, forgive, and compromise when necessary. 

When you’re pioneering a new community, you’re bound to face disagreements about everything from where and when to meet, to what kinds of worship songs to play, to what kinds of seating arrangements you’ll rely on. 

One important aspect of this is to have a clearly defined vision and decision-making process from the get-go. The other is to have great conflict-resolution skills. (Check out this article by our friend Carey Nieuwhof to learn how to resolve conflict on your team). 

“The team dynamic has the power to make it a really negative experience, or a positive experience,” says Suzanne. “A lot of that depends on working through conflict in a healthy way.”

Not dealing with conflict well can even have a trickle down effect–in fact, conflict between members is one of the biggest reasons churches fail

3. Creativity 

Church planters need to be creative. Without the stability and structure of an established church to rely on, they must think of new ways to reach out to others, gather together, and develop a rhythm of church. 

One aspect of creativity is how you market your church to your new community. It’s already a given that online engagement is essential to starting a new church. But how you choose to market your church online will depend on who your audience is and where they spend time online. 

That will shift, depending on where–and when–you’re planting a church. 

Of her church planting experience in both California and Mexico, Suzanne says, “When we church planted in Mexico, everyone went to Facebook. These days, people go to Instagram.”

She continues, “We’ve had to focus on what it looks like to make your Instagram profile really vibrant, and have people follow you.”

Creativity also applies to shifting around meeting times and locations as needed. 

“We met on Sunday nights,” says Susanna Fleming, who planted a church in Boise, ID in 2016. “That can be a great solution for church plants to partner with a local church. Most churches want to have their space be utilized and build relationships and unity in the body.”

“It’s also financially practical for everyone,” she says. 

4. Humility 

Church planting may sound glamorous, but in reality, it demands an incredible amount of humility. 

Team conflict, unforeseen circumstances, and disappointments require you to be able to forgive others, forgive yourself, and remain resilient, optimistic, and teachable. 

Most of all, it’s important to remember that as a church planter, you’re going to have to experiment. Even someone who has church planted numerous times will always face new challenges that they may not feel equipped to handle. 

“One of the things that helped our team was an acceptance from the get-go–we don’t really know what we’re doing, but we’re gonna try it,” says Alex Moger, who is church planting in Quincy, MA. 

“There are a million seminars and books, but I could’ve read every one and not felt confident. The only way to know how to be a church-planter is to go plant a church. None of us are experts.” 

5. Courage

Most church planters leave behind stability, familiarity, and even community in order to follow the call of God. That takes a great deal of courage. 

“Planting a church is a lot like being a pioneer,” says three-time church planter Suzanne Lair. “Church planters are like people who have left behind the comforts and ease of the big city. 

You’re going across the plains of the midwest and hoping there will be everything you need.” 

She continues, “You’re giving up a lot, but it’s definitely going to be an adventure.”

A Final Note on Church Planting

To successfully plant a church, you need to be tenacious, creative, and brave. You need to know how to resolve a conflict, “flex” in difficult situations, and stay humble. Most of all, you need to know Jesus, and remain confident in His strength over your own. 

Planting a church also requires the right tools to make it easy and efficient to set up online giving, your church website, and regular church communications. Of course, most church plants are on a budget–and the good news is that it doesn’t have to cost a ton of money to set up church technology that works. 

Tithe.ly All Access offers all the tools that new church plants need to thrive–including an online giving platform, text messaging, and events tool–on a single, low-cost platform. Best of all, new church plants get Tithe.ly All Access for free for an entire year. To learn more about how Tithe.ly can help new church plants thrive, click here

VIDEO transcript

(Scroll for more)

Planting a church is no easy task. 

When you’re accustomed to the comforts and conveniences of being a part of a well-established community, it can be downright terrifying to leave all of that for the unknown. And with good reason. As a church planter, you’ll certainly face one or more of the following:

  • Uncertainty
  • Instability
  • Fear
  • “Lean” resources

But you’ll also get to experience the joy and fulfillment of building a church from the ground up. Most importantly, you’ll get to see God move in response to your obedience. 

“Church planting puts you in a position to watch God move in a powerful way,” says three-time church planter Suzanne Lair. 

The bottom line? Church planting can be incredibly challenging–and incredibly rewarding. But it may not be for everyone. 

In the following article, we’ll take a look at five characteristics needed for church planting. 

5 Qualities Needed to Become a Church Planter

If God is calling you to become a church planter, then He is more than capable of giving you the grace and faith you need for the journey (Philippians 4:13). 

But there are qualities and characteristics you can identify and cultivate that will certainly help you through the ups and downs of starting a church in a brand-new city, state, or country. 

Here are five of them. 

1. Flexibility

Church planting comes with an ever-shifting set of circumstances that will test your ability to adapt and be flexible.  

One of the biggest hurdles to consistency is finding a place to meet

This is only more difficult when you’re church-planting in a major city or metropolitan area. 

Suzanne Lair, who is currently church-planting in San Diego, describes the challenge. 

“In the state of California, trying to find a building is really hard,” explains Suzanne. “We started meeting at a park and then we tried to rent a building, but we had to get a permit to have a large meeting. They refused our permit, so we’re back to the drawing board. Now we’re meeting at a church.”

Suzanne’s story isn’t unique. Many church planters find themselves in backyards, school auditoriums, existing churches, and even movie theaters or bars before finally landing in their own facility. 

Of course, your meeting location isn’t the only factor that’s prone to change. You might experience shifts in your team dynamics, target community, service style, and more while church planting. Learning how to remain flexible–or being able to bend and adapt to change–will be key in keeping you sane and successful throughout your journey of church planting. 

2. Conflict-Resolution Skills

If you’ve been in the church for a while, you may believe you’re an expert at conflict-resolution. Think again. Church planting is about to bring you to a whole new level of knowing how to resolve arguments, forgive, and compromise when necessary. 

When you’re pioneering a new community, you’re bound to face disagreements about everything from where and when to meet, to what kinds of worship songs to play, to what kinds of seating arrangements you’ll rely on. 

One important aspect of this is to have a clearly defined vision and decision-making process from the get-go. The other is to have great conflict-resolution skills. (Check out this article by our friend Carey Nieuwhof to learn how to resolve conflict on your team). 

“The team dynamic has the power to make it a really negative experience, or a positive experience,” says Suzanne. “A lot of that depends on working through conflict in a healthy way.”

Not dealing with conflict well can even have a trickle down effect–in fact, conflict between members is one of the biggest reasons churches fail

3. Creativity 

Church planters need to be creative. Without the stability and structure of an established church to rely on, they must think of new ways to reach out to others, gather together, and develop a rhythm of church. 

One aspect of creativity is how you market your church to your new community. It’s already a given that online engagement is essential to starting a new church. But how you choose to market your church online will depend on who your audience is and where they spend time online. 

That will shift, depending on where–and when–you’re planting a church. 

Of her church planting experience in both California and Mexico, Suzanne says, “When we church planted in Mexico, everyone went to Facebook. These days, people go to Instagram.”

She continues, “We’ve had to focus on what it looks like to make your Instagram profile really vibrant, and have people follow you.”

Creativity also applies to shifting around meeting times and locations as needed. 

“We met on Sunday nights,” says Susanna Fleming, who planted a church in Boise, ID in 2016. “That can be a great solution for church plants to partner with a local church. Most churches want to have their space be utilized and build relationships and unity in the body.”

“It’s also financially practical for everyone,” she says. 

4. Humility 

Church planting may sound glamorous, but in reality, it demands an incredible amount of humility. 

Team conflict, unforeseen circumstances, and disappointments require you to be able to forgive others, forgive yourself, and remain resilient, optimistic, and teachable. 

Most of all, it’s important to remember that as a church planter, you’re going to have to experiment. Even someone who has church planted numerous times will always face new challenges that they may not feel equipped to handle. 

“One of the things that helped our team was an acceptance from the get-go–we don’t really know what we’re doing, but we’re gonna try it,” says Alex Moger, who is church planting in Quincy, MA. 

“There are a million seminars and books, but I could’ve read every one and not felt confident. The only way to know how to be a church-planter is to go plant a church. None of us are experts.” 

5. Courage

Most church planters leave behind stability, familiarity, and even community in order to follow the call of God. That takes a great deal of courage. 

“Planting a church is a lot like being a pioneer,” says three-time church planter Suzanne Lair. “Church planters are like people who have left behind the comforts and ease of the big city. 

You’re going across the plains of the midwest and hoping there will be everything you need.” 

She continues, “You’re giving up a lot, but it’s definitely going to be an adventure.”

A Final Note on Church Planting

To successfully plant a church, you need to be tenacious, creative, and brave. You need to know how to resolve a conflict, “flex” in difficult situations, and stay humble. Most of all, you need to know Jesus, and remain confident in His strength over your own. 

Planting a church also requires the right tools to make it easy and efficient to set up online giving, your church website, and regular church communications. Of course, most church plants are on a budget–and the good news is that it doesn’t have to cost a ton of money to set up church technology that works. 

Tithe.ly All Access offers all the tools that new church plants need to thrive–including an online giving platform, text messaging, and events tool–on a single, low-cost platform. Best of all, new church plants get Tithe.ly All Access for free for an entire year. To learn more about how Tithe.ly can help new church plants thrive, click here

AUTHOR
Kelsey Yarnell

Kelsey is a SaaS content writer, a Southern California native, and a follower of Christ. When she's not crafting content for up-and-coming tech companies, she's running, surfing, or exploring her adopted hometown of San Diego.

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