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You ARE called to plant a church…Caveat #1: What does Kramer think?

June 25, 2012

I believe we have overspiritualized “the call” and that a lot more planters than we give credit for should plant churches.  However, there are several qualifiers to this.  This week I’m addressing 3 qualifiers.


Do you remember the episode of Seinfeld where Elaine dances?  I know I’m dating myself a bit, but since the reruns are on about five times per day I’ll assume your answer is yes.  George describes it as “more of a full body dry heave.”  She’s such a horrible dancer that no one wants to tell her.  Finally the always-honest Kramer blurts out, “That ain’t dancing Sally….you stink!”  Elaine confronts Jerry and it’s only when he can’t escape that he admits: “You’re beyond stink!”  Elaine responds, “But I really enjoy dancing!” Jerry quips, “And that’s not helping either.”

[Watch the epic dance here:]

No matter who you are, you have SOMEONE who believes you should start a church.  Maybe it’s your mom, maybe it’s your spouse, it’s very likely a disgruntled member of your current church, but never base your opinion on whether you should start a church on these people.

Find Kramer.

The way Jonathan in 1 Samuel did this was to ask the guy carrying his battle clothes, his armor-bearer, “What do you think?”  This was a great person to ask.  An armor bearer’s job was to carry Jonathan’s battle supplies—maybe a shield, probably his sword—until it was time to go into battle.  When asked, he handed the sword to Jonathan so he could fight.  The armor bearer would be stuck there with no weapon, hoping his boss would fight well so they would both live.  So the armor-bearer has no other motive for his answer than his life—if he’s wrong he dies, plain and simple.  So what does the armor bearer say?

“Go ahead, I am with you heart and soul.”

As you are wondering if God is calling you NOT to plant, the first thing to do is to ask the Kramers in your life.  Who are the people who will be brutally honest with you?  Your boss?  The church you grew up in?  A college professor?

This is why I believe in the assessment process.  In preparing to plant, my wife and I attended an intense, three-day assessment that involved a psychologist, counselors, ministers, little sleep, group projects and an inventory on much of our life history, including talking about pornography, sex, debt and education.  (And somehow we paid them for this experience)

You’d have to pay me to go back to that assessment, but it was one more “Kramer” that spoke into our lives and encouraged us when we still weren’t sure we were cut out for this church-planting thing.

I’m not sure if I’m allowed to do this, but let me give a qualifier on the qualifier: use wisdom in listening to the Kramers.  Don’t just go to one Kramer and go by what he/she says.  The bible says there is wisdom in many counselors, so go to many Kramers.

In fact, one of my friends was told at assessment he was too young to plant.  But he had so many other Kramers telling him to go ahead that he did.  Ten years later, that church averages over 1,200 people per week. It has baptized hundreds and sent more than 100 to be the core group of another church plant.

That happened because he had enough Kramers in his life to make him believe God wasn’t telling him “no.”

I’ll have 2 more qualifiers later this week on why you shouldn’t plant.  But who do you think planters should listen to as the Kramers in their lives?

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