Pacing Yourself For a Lifetime of Church Planting

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?

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.