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You ARE called to plant…Caveat #2: What’s the Plan?

June 27, 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.


In the United States, we love a great underdog story.  We love seeing Rudy, Hoosiers, Remember the Titans, or Seabiscuit overcome great odds to win in the end.  Even spiritually we love seeing people overcome seemingly insurmountable odds through the power of God.  But there is a difference between being an underdog and being stupid.  Every church plant is an underdog story.  Every church plant faces huge odds to succeed.  So don’t add to that by not having a plan.  In fact, if you don’t have a solid plan that others believe in, I believe that’s God telling you “no” to church planting.

Look at Jonathan’s plan from 1 Samuel:  8  Jonathan said, “Come, then; we will cross over toward the men and let them see us. 9 If they say to us, ‘Wait there until we come to you,’ we will stay where we are and not go up to them. 10 But if they say, ‘Come up to us,’ we will climb up, because that will be our sign that the LORD has given them into our hands.”  

Jonathan said, “If they say this, we’ll attack, but if they don’t, God doesn’t want us to attack.”  He doesn’t waste a month drawing up something too detailed, but he doesn’t fly willy-nilly into a shower of arrows that will get him killed.  He had a strategy.  He knows if they attack from the higher ground he won’t be able to defeat them.  But if in their arrogance they invite him up to level ground that he will win.

So come up with a plan for your church plant and show it to the Kramers in your life to see what they think.  Your plan needs to show:

  • How much will this church plant cost, even by showing where every dollar will be spent?
  • How much money needs to be raised in advance?
  • Where will this money come from?
  • What consultants, coaches, and companies will you employ along the way?
  • How big of a launch team do you need?
  • Where will you get this launch team?
  • What is the plan if you don’t get that amount of people?
  • What staff will you hire, and when, and who will pay them?
  • What is the vision of your church?
  • What core values and practices will drive this new community?

There are numerous more questions, too many to list, but the plan needs to be more than just a 30-second off-the-cuff presentation on why you should plant a church.  Jonathan had a plan to attack the Philistines.  David had plans drawn for the temple.  Jesus had a plan of how the world would be evangelized.

There are numerous tools to help you plan.  Bootcamps, conferences, books, project mangers, and coaches all help you come up with a plan to test this qualifier.

Church plants have the odds stacked against them.  I have heard that 3 in 5 fail.  So you are an underdog whether you want to be or not.  But be an underdog; don’t be stupid.  So what’s the plan?  You need to come up with a workable plan that doesn’t require a miracle of God every single step of the way.  If the plan is in place, then God is probably not telling you “no” on this qualifier.

What ways have you seen God tell planters “no”?

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