Listen to the Audio
Read the Notes
Tell Us About Your Church Planting Journey
- Anthony was an elder at New Community Church in Sidcup for a couple of years and was given the task of raising up new people into eldership.
- He came to realise that in time this would lead to him giving his own role away.
- New people from Orpington had joined the church, so it got onto the agenda to church plant there, and Anthony with his wife Gill decided to go for it.
- At the time they had four young children – who have played a key part in the church planting journey over the years.
- They started in Orpington in 1990 with 28 people. They laid a good foundation, did some outreach and the church started to grow.
- In 1996, the church in Orpington planted out a new church in St. Paul’s Cray.
- In 1997, the Hensons moved to Leicester to plant again, and did so with a vision for planting out from there to Derby and Loughborough.
- They stayed in Leicester until 2003. During the process of developing leaders for Derby and Loughborough, God spoke to them about also raising up a new leader to take over in Leicester.
- They began to feel led to plant a church in Stoke-on-Trent.
- They then spent four and half years in Stoke, where they grew the church (mainly through outreach).
- From the very beginning of this church, Anthony developed a young team that could take it forward.
- In 2008, they then moved on to Lincoln. They planted there, developed a team and then handed the church on after three and a half years.
- They then moved to Wolverhampton to plant, and have been there for the last four and a half years.
Over 30 years, you have planted 8 churches. How have you found a rhythm that works for it?
- Enjoy your marriage.
- Involve your children in everything.
- Build on a grace foundation. Don’t try to force things but go at the pace God gives you.
- Prioritise taking a day off and 2 or 3 evenings off each week.
- Plan holidays a year in advance.
How did you manage to take 2 or 3 evenings off a week?
- People don’t expect that they can always see doctors or dentists in the evenings. Nor should they have this expectation of church leaders.
- Try to do as much as possible in the daytimes.
To what extent should church planters factor Saturdays into their plans?
- Anthony tends to use one Saturday morning per month for outreach, but mainly leaves it as a day that people can enjoy with family and friends.
- It is a very light day.
What is your approach to holidays?
- They plan them a year in advance!
- They tend to plan a summer holiday, a week in late May, plus a few days here and there through the year.
- You need to have faith for church planting, but also faith for your own personal life.
- Anthony and Gill have faith to find funds for good breaks throughout the year.
What have been some of your biggest causes of stress and how have you handled them?
- Often hearing bad news (e.g. people leaving the church) can hit a leader hard.
- It can take 2 or 3 days to process the disappointment. Anthony gives himself that time before reacting so he has had space to get some perspective.
- He has found it helpful to develop a hobby (oil painting). This slows down the pace of everything – and engaging in a different discipline is very useful.
What advice do you have for young church planters about pace?
- You only have one life – make sure you enjoy what you do.
- If the leader is enjoying it, others will enjoy being with you.
- Try to do things in a way that you enjoy.