You don’t need to have been following Broadcast for long to know that we want to see lots and lots of new churches planted. However, the last thing that we need is lots of lone-wolf church planters going out with no intentionality from a sending church, no support and no accountability.
There is a tendency amongst many to approach decisions about what God is calling us to from an individualistic perspective, where we first reach a conclusion in our own hearts and only then bring it to others for their blessing. However, God doesn’t call us to individual pursuits but rather to play our part in the body, and this role is best discerned in the context of the body.
Your current church leaders and movement leaders that you relate to are very significant people in the process of evaluating your calling to plant. Any concerns that they have should be taken very seriously (they are, after all, approaching the question with both the spiritual insight that comes with years of experience and the distance that will give them a more impartial perspective than you bring to the question). If they have suggestions about a process that would help you plant well, submit yourself to this process.
In an ideal scenario, these leaders (if they believe you are ready) will send you, and in doing so they may be willing to give you some people and/or money to get you started, and keep an ongoing relationship open that can be mutually supportive and that can provide an outside voice into your church.
Here are some suggestions for how to proceed depending on the view of your church leaders:
- They say no – You need to understand the reasons that they are giving. Are they seeing things in your life that concern them? Learn from the assessment that they give and try to work on the areas that they bring up. If you reach a position of impasse, where your church leaders are saying no (with seemingly no good reason) and you feel unable to follow them in this, then it still not advisable to go out on your own. In this situation it may be advisable to part ways and find a church with leaders who you are able to support. You will need to take time to settle in to this church and get to know people before bringing up your desire for them to send you to plant, and if you find your new leaders respond in a similar way to the original leaders did then it is likely that they are right, and planting a church is not the thing for you to be doing at the moment.
- They say not now – Perhaps there are particular areas in your character/gifting development that your leaders want you to work on before you go, or perhaps the moment doesn’t work for the church to send you out (for instance, they may be currently sending out another church and feel they need a year or two before the church is ready to go again). With this kind of response it is good to understand what is in the minds of your leaders, and to put a process in place of what they would like you to do before they feel the time is right.
- They say yes – If your church leaders want to send you, and you and your family also believe that it is what God wants you to do, then what are you waiting for? Go plant a church!